The inspector said the fact that the car had had three previous owners and not two, as I originally claimed, reduced its value by £220. On the other hand, that it had done 49,300 miles and not the 50,000 I’d rounded it up to online, had boosted its value by £10. The remaining £268.63 reduction was accounted for by the marks on the body and wheels. I thanked the inspector for his time and hurried away.
Back at my office, I asked WBAC how it could justify the difference between the two damage-related quotes. Richard Evans, head of technical services at webuyanycar.com, said: “WBAC guarantees to give the price quoted on the website if the vehicle is as described, but if issues come to light on inspection, then the price needs adjusting.
“Each car is different and each has a unique value. The price offered by different buyers will vary and it’s for this reason WBAC recommends motorists shop around to get the best price.”
I needed no further encouragement. At wewantanycar.com – the name is so similar I almost logged onto webuyanycar.com again – the system generated a guide price of £2810 for my car in showroom condition. I then used the company’s vehicle description tool and the offer fell to £2190. How much further would it drop once WWAC’s inspector saw the car?
I booked an inspection and, as requested, emailed pictures of the 107 ahead of it. However, within minutes, WWAC’s buyer telephoned to discuss the car in greater detail, before revising the company’s offer to £2070.
James Talbot, head of IT and marketing at WWAC, explained the £120 difference. “Our consumers use the valuation slider on the website to generate a proposed valuation,” he said. “This figure is verified at the physical inspection when a final ‘condition value’ is agreed.”
Finally, I offered my 107 to wizzle.co.uk. Instead of buying your car, Wizzle displays it to 1500 dealers and 3500 trade contacts who can bid for it.
I uploaded a description and photographs of the 107 and by return received a guide valuation of £2160. Then I sat back and waited for the bids to roll in. In the end, just two dealers offered to buy the car: the first for £2082, the second for £2150.
Seb Duval, CEO of Wizzle, said the service isn’t just about achieving a good price. “Because we get the customer to upload every detail about their car along with pictures, they’re giving a truthful description on which a realistic valuation can be based,” he explained. “Sellers can also suggest a price they’d like to get for their car. The point is that everyone knows where they stand from the outset.”