The Truth About

It’s difficult to know what’s worse…buying a second-hand car or selling one so the advent of websites like is just manna from heaven for the average UK motorist, keen to sell their vehicle and avoid all the timewasters, no shows and tyre kickers.

11 August 2021 · Eldon - Barnfield Cars


Not only does the simplicity and ease of appeal to many motorists but their valuations are high – it’s just too good to be true and that’s the bottom line – as the saying goes, ‘if it seems too good to be true then it often isn’t true. Lured by ease, quick cash and a great valuation, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of this method of selling? Just a couple of clicks and there you are but the reality may unfold in quite a different way and you could end up with far less in your bank account than your car is really worth.

Webuyanycar use Computer valuations

One of the biggest problems with is that the initial valuation is calculated purely on the registration plate and the mileage – there is so much more involved in valuing a car than that, and so many factors that can affect valuations as part of the bigger picture.

What happens when you have your valuation and take your car in for inspection?

Even if the valuation is spot on, there are some other spoilers that are going to put some dents in those pound signs dancing in front of your eyes. Not only does the computer algorithm make assumptions but are looking to reduce the price they pay as much as possible when they see the car in the flesh to make their inspection. The reason for this is simple – their profit margin.

The cars bought by are sold at British Car Auctions (BCA) who own under the UK Car Group banner. Most people who buy at these auctions are from the motor trade and only want to pay a trade price because they intend to re-sell the vehicle.

Paying a fair market valuation for a vehicle and then selling it at auction for a trade price would only result in a loss and so are incentivised to offer the lowest possible price for a car, even below trade value. They have various techniques to do this having lured in the customer with an attractive online valuation. Certain assumptions are made as part of the online calculation, but the customer has to look long and hard for these on the website.

The listed valuation will assume that there has only been one previous owner and so the price offered will decrease if there is more than one previous owner showing in the logbook:

  • The valuation assumes a minimum MOT period of six+ months remaining
  • The valuation is based on a full-service history and two sets of keys
  • The car must have no damage either to the interior or exterior and no mechanical problems


The vehicle will be inspected on arrival at a site and this inspection is what really dictates the price you will be offered, not something which can be reflected just by typing your mileage and registration number into the website. The sales video explains this to a degree and describes how the valuation is reached using their assessment form…but you have already received a valuation online haven’t you?
There is a link on the website, in small print, which allows you to “update assumptions & add damage” but it is tucked away

and easy to overlook. It’s a similar experience to flying with budget airlines – great initial prices until you realise that you want to fly with your luggage!

Sellers report mixed experiences with – some find that the valuation remains unchanged even if their vehicle does have scuffs and stone chips whereas other find the price significantly reduced upon inspection. This will all depend on how much mark up the company has already calculated on your car; if it’s generous then they will be keen to secure the sale and won’t attempt to reduce the value for any visible damage or defects if it isn’t then their representative will be keen to increase their profit margin by offering you the lowest amount of money possible. And yes, the staff at are incentivised to lower online values with salary bonuses for those who are the most successful.

Transaction fees

There are also transaction fees that apply based on the car value ranging from £49.99 for a car valued at £3,999.99 or less to £74.99 for a vehicle valued at £5,000 or more. If you want your money on the same day, then you will need to pay a further fee of £29.75 for express payment or £24.75 for payment on the next working day otherwise you will have to wait for four working days to receive your money – that’s nearly a week!

If you were selling your car privately, would you allow someone to drive it away without paying you for nearly a week? This can also muddy the waters on legal ownership and insurance and if something happens to the vehicle in the interim period, it’s a great reason not to give you your money.

Why a personal valuation is better?

There are so many factors that impact the valuation of a particular car that it would be impossible for a computer to adequately reflect this just from the make, model, registration plate and mileage.

Software algorithms use data based on average prices and trade guides like Glasses Guide and come up with a generic value that simply won’t be bespoke to your vehicle and will just reflect the sale as part of a batch. You might get lucky and find a personal valuation tally with an offer from or you could end up being seriously out of pocket.

A personal valuation will offer a detailed appraisal of your vehicle and will be able to factor in those indefinables such as:

  • current market trends
  • modifications and customisations
  • car colour
  • features and unique specifications

Knowledge of the industry and experience in selling you particular type of car with recommendations on time of year, markets and presentation, knowing what’s hot and what’s not

Specialist dealers will not be selling at the auction but using warm leads and industry contacts to put that car on dealership forecourts or selling to group buyers

Valuing prestige cars

This is where computer algorithms can really struggle, particularly as there are fewer wheels on the road in the prestige end of the market so even fewer data to evaluate.

Some makes and models will hit on a good average with a computer valuation whereas others with a more desirable finish and spec, will do far better with a specialist seller and this could mean thousands of pounds more in your pocket.

For illustration purposes, let’s take these three Range Rovers:-

  • 2016 Vogue SE. Finished in White (none metallic) with ebony leather
  • 2016 Vogue SE, Finished in Silver (metallic) with ebony leather. Rear entertainment, deployable side steps
  • 2016 Vogue SE, Finished in Corris (metallic) with ivory two-tone leather. 21″ diamond finish alloy wheels, glass panoramic sliding roof, cooling seats, front & rear chilled storage, privacy glass & black styling pack will value them all at £52,300 but it’s easy to see how the specification on these three cars differs hugely. The first vehicle has a valuation that is pretty on target but the owners of the other two vehicles would be able to benefit from a price of circa £55,500, significantly more if they avoided selling via

Auction is also not the place to sell supercars or niche brands; a specialist seller will have all the industry contacts to be able to place your car in the optimal selling environment and offer you an accurate price.

Top Tips when selling your car

Choose the right time to sell your car – who wants a convertible in the winter?

Prepare your car for sale with expert valeting and clear photographic images and rectify any weak areas like a chipped windscreen or a tyre with low tread

Use a personal seller who can appraise your car and value it accurately

Barnfield Cars can offer you an honest and realistic appraisal of the market value of your prestige car – no hidden fees, no reductions and no inflated values which change when the car is inspected. We are the UK’s leading independent buyer for prestige cars with scores of authentic reviews from past customers endorsing our service.

We will visit your location and will pay clear funds immediately into your bank account before we take the car away. Now you can’t say fairer than that.

Before contacting us why not see what our customers have to say about us, read our 5-star reviews.

Barnfield Cars Reviews

Please call Barnfield Cars today for an informal conversation about selling your car.
North 01625 724177 South 01483 323474