Well that escalated quickly! Car dealer giants declare war on each other in public spat over ‘quick sale’ cash losses

By Helen Le Caplain
October 25 2019, 16.35

Two car dealer giants are embroiled in a spat over claims that drivers lose huge amounts of cash through online ‘quick sales’ – each branding the other ‘misleading’.

Auto Trader threw down the gauntlet by claiming that instant gratification culture is often hitting drivers in the pocket when they flog a car online through website

The classified car ads company claim that the website is cashing in on people’s desire for a quick sale, causing them to lose thousands of pounds – with women allegedly taking a bigger hit than men.

The row escalated as Auto Trader dumped a van emblazoned with the statistics outside their rival’s shops in an apparent bid to further taunt them and warn potential customers they might be losing money.

Online service hit back, blasting the allegations of gender price disparity as ‘absurd’ and claiming sellers are ‘intelligent enough’ to choose where to sell their cars.

The study of 2,734 drivers also alleges that people who sold their car on in the last two years received £1,254 less on average than the actual market value of those who sold on Auto Trader*.

The research also claims that women are suffering worse than men, with an average loss of £1,728 when selling their car on the quick sale platform –  £770 less than the average male seller who loses £958.

The survey, conducted by Acacia Avenue, said that a Volkswagen Golf registered in 2017 (based on 20,000 miles) was valued by Auto Trader as being worth £10,150.

On they claim it was valued at £9,000 – a difference of £1,150.

The research also examined prices of high performance vehicles and claimed that a Bentley Continental, valued by Auto Trader at £90,350 was only valued at £70,110 by – a difference of £20,240.

Auto Trader offered to set up a helpline for consumers who have lost significant amounts of money by selling their cars instantly to car buying sites.

However were unimpressed by the results of the study championed by their rival and branded it ‘misleading’.

In a tit-for-tat move, the online service offered to launch their own helpline for those ‘unable to sell their cars despite having paid Autotrader to advertise them’.

A spokesperson for Auto Trader said: “The inconvenient truth of choosing convenience over money is that it could lose you thousands of pounds when it comes to selling your car.

“These findings show the importance of knowing your car’s value, highlighting how the briefest of research can help you understand the various options available to you and the varied financial returns.”

However refused to take the barrage lying down and hit back with claims of their own.

A spokesperson for said: ‘’We think it’s totally misleading the public and Auto Trader should give the public much more respect as they are intelligent enough to vote on their feet choosing the most appropriate way to dispose of their vehicles.

“Implying the gender of a person affects an offer is absurd as we never distinguish between gender.

“Autotrader can of course purchase the cars at their valuations if they so wish.

“We are also happy to set up a helpline for those advertising on Auto trader but have been unable to sell their cars despite having paid Autotrader to advertise them.’’

A spokesperson for Auto Trader said: “The public have a right to understand the truth on how much money they lose by going to car buying sites such as

“Describing this loss as a ‘bit’ of money is truly misleading for the public, especially in light of this research, which highlights an average loss of £1,254 for UK car sellers.

“Auto Trader stands by this robust study based on real sold for prices and was surprised to learn of such a disparity in profits for men and women selling to”

Prospective sellers took to social media to reveal what cash offers the website offered them.

Lottie tweeted: “We Buy Any Car emailing me about going back to them after they offered me over £1000 lower than what the actual Mini garage gave me. Jog on.”

Sophie tweeted: “Love spending over a grand fixing my car in the last 6 months and to sell on we buy any car, I’d get £500.”

Image: Kennedy News and Media
The above tables highlight the first valuations from We Buy Any car and AutoTrader, not the actual price sold. Image: Kennedy News and Media

* Based on a survey of 5,949 people who have sold cars in the past two years, of which 2,734 people sold via Auto Trader or which are the relevant channels for the purpose of this claim. Data collected between 20th September – 15th October 2019.

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