The Gumtree Blog

Guest blogger: Quentin Willson on buying a car on Gumtree

Thursday 1 April 2010, by
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Quentin Willson is a fan of GumtreeWe’re thrilled to have Quentin Willson, one of the UK’s most well known motoring enthusiasts, write a post for our blog and explain why he’s such a big fan of buying cars on Gumtree.

Hands up, I’m a total 22-carat Gumtree fan. When it comes to finding proper cars being sold by proper people, this is the only site I’ll use. Sadly, elastic morals, puffed up descriptions, shadowy photos and sellers who don’t know their ethics from their elbows are a common case in my world. Online car buying is getting more and more fraught, which is why it’s so refreshing to be able to talk to sellers that have standards, honesty and decency. Gumtree car sellers really are a class apart.

And it’s not just me. All the research now says that used car buyers desperately want a safe site with private sellers who are happy to talk directly to buyers and don’t insist on doing a deal via a cold and remote email conversation. The ability to interact with a human being, knowing their name and where they live, is absolutely essential. People buy from people they like and doing it any other way is downright daft. And here’s another of my favourite sayings, “Nice cars and nice people go together.”  And that’s what Gumtree is all about – respectable sellers offering decent cars at fair prices with honest descriptions.

My advice for a smooth selling and buying ride?

  • Talk directly with the seller, ask searching questions, write everything down, be polite and courteous and if you can, try to form a relationship. You’ll feel much more confident about what you’re buying.
  • You can make all the mechanical checks in the world, but if you don’t like the seller, you probably won’t like the car. Use your instincts on this – it never fails.
  • Never carry cash with you when you’re meeting the seller. Bring someone with you for a second opinion if possible, and if you like the car, then go to the bank together.

Last year, I bought a 70s Mercedes sports car from a Gumtree private seller in West London. He was charming on the phone, was at great pains to explain all the car’s faults and agreed to hold it for me until the next day. When I pulled up, I couldn’t believe his house. Worth an easy £20 million. The Merc was twice as good as he’d said and I bought it in a heartbeat. It was so honest and fairly described I didn’t even think about making an offer. We had coffee, chatted a bit and when I used his downstairs loo, was struck by a little painting on the wall. I looked closer. The tiny signature in the corner of the canvas was ‘Renoir’.  No kidding.


Jia Min



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