Understanding the Difference Between a Used Car Dealer and a Private Owner (Pros and Cons)

Posted Wednesday, Apr 26, 2023

Understanding the Difference Between a Used Car Dealer and a Private Owner

When someone wants to purchase a used car, they either go to a used car dealership or contact a private seller. While there are many benefits that one can reap when purchasing a car from a car dealership, private sellers also give many incentives to the buyers.

Here we are discussing the major pros and cons of each, which will help you understand the difference between a used car dealer and a private owner.

Used Car Dealership

A used car dealership brings a team of professional car experts and sales professionals to the interested buyer. They deal with all the matters involving inspection, investigation, and documentation involved in the purchase of a used car. Here are the pros and cons of buying a used car from a dealership.

1. Inspection and Repair of Cars

Used cars can have faulty components and other problems that need repair by a professional mechanic. A used car dealership will thoroughly inspect a car and detect any faults in it, like damage from an accident, oil leaks, etc.

Used car dealerships have a team of professionals that know how to detect minor damages to the car. They can also do minor repairs or recondition the whole car as the need arises. The dealership will also be honest with the buyers and explain the defects in the car and how much work it needs.

If a buyer purchases such a faulty car from a private seller, they will fail to discuss the extent of damage, and the buyer will later pay thousands of dollars to repair and maintain the car so that it is in running condition.

2. Legal Protection and Paperwork

A used car dealership will take care of all the documentation for the transfer of title and ownership of the used car. The dealership cares about the buyer’s convenience and its own reputation. Therefore, they wouldn’t be negligent in any of the legal matters that could pose a problem for the buyer of the dealership later.

The car dealership is also bound by the Fair Trading Act to provide consumer protection and offer the best service to car buyers. In this way, they will check the car’s history, bodywork, and repair needs, and arrange a transparent and secure payment for the buyer.

3. Customer Care After the Sale

Car dealerships have a reputation, and they will ensure that they provide maximum safety and comfort to the buyer so that they can receive good feedback.

This is why they will take provide excellent customer service even after selling the car, like roadside assistance and other additional services. The dealership will also help the buyers with special equipment or customized solutions catering to the used car they purchased.


The Prices Are Higher Than What a Private Seller Can Offer

Used car dealerships know that their cars are in optimum condition, and to achieve that, they have invested money and professional assistance to repair their cars and make them as close to brand new as possible.

This is why they will set a reasonable price for the used car, which may be higher than what a private party demands.

Private Owner

When we have an overall analysis of the benefits that used car dealerships and private owners provide, the dealership surely outdoes the private party in many ways.


1. More Chances of Negotiation Than With a Dealership

Private owners are sometimes willing to provide a lot of room for negotiation. This can be due to many reasons. Maybe the private party wants to sell the car as soon as possible because they are in a financial crisis. Or they are aware that their car needs repairs, and that is why they cut some slack from the price they are demanding.

Dealerships, on the other hand, have plenty of space to park their cars and maintain them, so they are in no rush to sell the cars at a lower price.

2. Absence of a Professional Setting

Sometimes used car dealerships have rigid policies developed by their professional sales team to ensure maximum security for their cars.

They might not allow the buyers to test drive the car for long distances or require a dealership staff member to ride along with them.

Private owners of used cars may be more approved and deviate from the norms of professional dealing of used cars, which sometimes suits a buyer more than a used car dealership.


1. There Is a Lot of Risk Involved

A private seller can conceal the major flaws of a car from you, tricking you into believing that the car is accident-free, doesn’t need any repairs, and is worthy of the price they are demanding.

These private owners are not bound by federal laws and do not take customer protection into account. They also might sell their car along with all its problems, and if a buyer is not capable of professionally inspecting the used car, they can be deceived into purchasing something they later regret.

2. More Footwork and Lesser Varieties

Searching for a perfect used car from private sellers will require you to move to distant places just to inspect a single car. You will have to research more, travel more, and deal with many private sellers, and still, you might not be able to choose from a variety of used cars.

A dealership, on the other hand, have a designated place where they display several models of used cars in every shape, condition and color. So buyers can inspect many cars in a single visit and possibly find their desired car in one go.

3. No Customer Service After Selling the Car

A private owner will secure the payment and then leave after selling the car. There are no warranties, no additional services, and no responsibility for what happens with the car once the buyer has its possession. A car dealership can assist you with your new purchase, as well as deal with all paperwork requirements, which takes off extra burden from the buyer’s shoulders.


The Internet Car Lot, Inc. is a licensed and reliable car dealership in Omaha, NE. We can help local private owners to sell their cars, and if you are a buyer, we can hunt for the perfect car that you have in mind and bring it to you.