Sell a Car with Auto trader –or How I sold my Mercedes

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Here I will share some information on Auto trader and my own experience selling  my Mercedes Convertible privately.Hope it will help others to avoid some mistakes and make a quick sale.

About Auto trader:

Auto trader was established some 20 years ago and since then has been a godsend to those looking to buy a second hand car at a bargain price. The Auto trader has a few different “sister” magazines such as Bike trader, Truck Trader and Caravan Trader though the Auto trader is the most common of them all.
• One of the most used magazine when it comes to buy or sell cars.
• Quality of content, value, availability;
• Great range of vehicles, range of prices.
• Buying and selling guides.
• An insurance guide, which informs you about No claims bonuses and different insurance covers.
• Covers all your local areas in one Go.
• Advertising online as well as in the magazine itself.
• Your advert is among hundreds of other similar ones.
• Really small print.
• There is a restriction on the amount of words you can put into the ad in the magazine issue.
• Could be expensive.
• Telesales canvassers will start calling you 3 minutes after you put your advert in to Auto trader!!!

My Own Experience

This year I have decided to sell my lovely Mercedes Benz convertible. My first thought was to sell it to a car trader or Mercedes dealer. I went to several garages and the best quote I was given was about 5 thousands lower than the real market value. One small local trader decided to be really cheeky and offered me to buy it the same minute for the price of 50% of its value! Well, I was not THAT desperate to sell my car and I decided to try other ways.

WITHOUT FAIL, everyone I asked said, "stick it in the Auto Trader" so I had the impression that it should offer good value for my advertising money.

Naturally I have noticed Auto trader on newsagent shelves over the years too and seen it advertised on the TV, so in terms of brand strength I reckon this weekly publication rates quite highly, in fact I struggled to think of another one in the same category!

So, I log onto the Auto trader website and placed an add there for 4 weeks that cost me about £100. I was quite pleased that I could upload my own photos and write my own ad, edit it etc etc with relative simplicity.
The print advert (The one that appears in the actual magazine) is limited in the amount of words you can use to describe your vehicle but for your online version of the ad you can write as long descriptions as you like and include many large digital pictures.

I opted for the medium sized print ad, ( for the magazine ) not the smallest but one step up, I also added inclusion in a couple of free sister publications - then sat back and waited for all the phone calls.
Immediately after my online ad went live my mobile phone started to ring!

WOW! I hear you say, but wait!

That was the first of a TIRADE of telesales calls I started to receive from canvassers offering the opportunity to advertise in THEIR publications, on their web-sites or giving me access to their DATABASE of hundreds upon hundreds of EAGER BUYERS! All looking for a vehicle just like mine if I paid them more money!!!

Without exaggeration I tell you that I was getting up to 10 - 15 telesales calls per day from these people! Even after 9pm and on weekends!
The really annoying thing is that they all seemed to use the very same opening line, “Is the Mercedes still for sale?"

Now that opening may sound innocent enough, but after the online ad had been live for just a few minutes it seemed like a very silly question, I initially answered it with “Of course it is still for sale, It has only been on the market for 5 minutes ".

I asked one of them:” Why would people join your database and buy cars via you rather than directly?” And the guy at the other end of a phone explained me that they provided finance for people who wanted to buy flash cars but could not afford them. They also, supposingly, provided their buyers with 1 year warranty on engine. And finally, here is the way the catch you, the guy told me that for just 95 pounds they will actively market my car and they GUARANTEE me a sale within 1 week! If there is no sale – they will refund the money.

As I previously did not have experience dealing with these car traders I thought WOW that sounds great! Went to their web site to check them out and signed up for their service the same day. They were very quick in taking the payment over the phone and only a week later I received their T&C with small print.

After several days with just several calls from potential purchasers and masses of telesales canvassers calls, the innocent sounding question “Is the Mercedes still for sale?" started really frustrate me.

The worst day was the Thursday when the print version of the magazine came out; it was so bad that I actually was answering my phone every 15 minutes! That day I received about 5 calls from potential buyers who saw the ad in the magazine , no calls at all from my “Guaranteed Car Sale “people and about 50 calls from canvassers offering me to sign up with their “Guaranteed Car Sale Service”. I worked that day in the office and so every single person in the department heard me talking about the car over the phone. Next morning I was constantly asked if I had sold the car already!

Finally I managed to sell a car after a few viewing at my asking price and I have also learned a lesson: Never ever sign up for services of third companies that want to help you to sell your car for your money. In fact, they will forget about you the same day you sign up with them and they get your money!

Over £200 in advertising costs
Over 200 telesales calls
3 email contacts from prospective buyers
About 15 telephone contacts from prospective buyers
7 viewings of my vehicle
2 full car checks from potential buyers
NO CONTACTS at all from “the eager buyers” of the service I singed up for.
No Money was refunded to me - read small print!


It can do the trick for you, but make sure you put the important line NO CANVASSERS PLEASE in your advertisement. There is no Guarantee they will not call, but at least you will have to deal with fewer of these people.

Other ways to sell:
• Exchange & Mart  advertisement from 5GBP per online advertisment
• Ebay Motors
• FREE Advertising:Type this name in your internet browser  and add a http : //  in front of it without spaces.
• Yahoo! Cars
• Kelkoo

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