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Planning to sell your car online?

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Today, you can sell just about anything over the internet. Cars, too. Over the last couple of years, a number of websites have entered this segment. This includes carnation.in, promoted by Maruti Suzuki’s former managing director Jagdish Khattar, mahindrafirstchoice.com, CarDekho. com and MotorExchange.in.

The advantages are many for potential sellers. According to Kunal Khattar, vice-president Carnation.in, this mode of sale helps bring in a wider audience for the seller. “Since the dealer has a fixed location, the number of people that a seller has access to is limited. On the internet, many more people can be reached. Those looking at buying a car can even compare the vehicles through the websites,” says Khattar.

Selling it to a dealer means you could end up getting 20-30 per cent lesser than what you would get in a direct deal with the buyer. The dealer will impute a number of charges, commission, rentals and warehousing costs. Besides, given that only 10 per cent of the dealer market is organised, it is difficult to benchmark their cost against others.

Going through a website is definitely more cost-effective, says Abdul Majeed, leader (automotive practice) at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). “Such websites even offer you expertise, which gives confidence to a person who is looking at buying a car — a big advantage,” explains Majeed.

A website such as Carnation or Carwale does not charge you any commission or fee for evaluating your car. You can list your car for free with these websites. Sample this: a Honda Accord (2005), which has done 41,000 km, is being sold for Rs 4.95 lakh at a dealer in Mumbai. Whereas, on a website like CarDekho, a Honda Accord (2005), which has done 81, 000 kms, is being sold for Rs 5.55 lakh.

To sell your car through a website, first, you would have to register with them. The potential buyers will make bids for your car. Buyers can directly contact you. While this is the direct option, another option is to sell it to the website based on its quote.

Some offer additional services for a fee. For example, Carnation will take the necessary photographs for the website and also create a verification report, which talks about the condition of your car. Carnation will charge you Rs 1,000 for the verification report.

“After you contact us, our engineer will call you for an inspection of your car. After the auction, our representative calls you and communicates the final price. If you are okay with this price, he proceeds to set up an appointment between you, the winning buyer and our executive at which point payment and paperwork are concluded. The entire process from inspection to sale can be concluded in just two days,” says Vinay Sanghi, chief executive officer at MotorExchange.

Very old cars, too, can be sold online. For buyers, the websites even offer post-purchase servicing.

However, one major disappointment for buyers from these portals is that they cannot test-drive the car they intend to buy. Dealers score here. PWC’s Majeed says since test-drive is a very important part of the decision on one’s purchase, it could prevent many from taking to the online route. The solution: Selling it to the web portal, so that interested customers can come and test-drive it.

Yes, websites do score on convenience but dealers make a difference by allowing a test-drive – an important part of selling the car and getting the right price. If you were to sell it to the website, you may not get the best price. Therefore, do a cost-benefit check before opting for either.