Dealer or private: which is best for buying a used van?

Dealer or private seller: the advantages and disadvantages

When you’re considering the purchase of a used van, there are many questions you need to answer. Not only doing do you need to think about the make and model, the mileage and size, you also need to decide where to get it from. Here, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying a van from a dealer vs a private seller.


Cost is, of course, a factor in your purchase. Buying privately means that you can often get a better price than at a used van dealership, but there are catches to this. A reputable dealership will carry out tests on their used vehicles before putting them on the forecourt; these usually include history checks and basics that confirm the van is roadworthy and of a satisfactory condition.

With a private seller, you don’t get these same guarantees. You’ll need to carry out extensive checks yourself when you view the vehicle, look at the paperwork and determine if there is any finance still outstanding. For the extra cost, many business owners prefer to have the security of knowing the van they buy is of a certain condition.

In addition, buying from a dealership means there are finance options available that don’t require a large capital outlay. A manageable monthly cost is easier to fit into the budget than a big sum upfront.


When buying from a used van dealer vs private seller, it’s also a good idea to consider your rights. With a private seller, there are two consumer rights involved:

  • The van must match its advertised description
  • The seller must be legally able to sell the vehicle

If the vehicle turns out to have a fault that wasn’t identified at purchase, taking it back and requesting a refund isn’t really an option.

At a dealer, on the other hand, you have a certain amount of protection if a fault appears. The Consumer Rights Act states that consumers have a ‘short-term right to reject’, which means you can return the van within 30 days of purchase. If you discover a fault inside this period and can prove it was present at the time of purchase, you have the right to take it back and ask for a full refund. Alternatively, you can ask for a repair if you wish to keen the van.


Often, vehicles bought from used van dealerships can be purchased with a warranty. This usually covers specifically defined repairs within a certain period of time – normally a year or two – and offers extra peace of mind that, should something happen, you can get either a free or discounted repair.

It goes without saying that this is not the case if you buy from a private seller. You will be driving the vehicle away as it is, and any repairs that need doing after purchase will have to be paid for in full.

Used vans for sale

As a reputable van dealer in Harlow, Vanwise Group has a wide range of used vans for sale. We ensure our vehicles are thoroughly checked before going on the forecourt and offer a range of finance packages to suit your budget. Contact us today to find out more.