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Sale & Return

Sale & Return Published: 23rd Jul 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Sale & Return
Sale & Return
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Is sale or return a private seller’s dream and the PERFECT WAY TO sell your classic?

Let’s face it – it’s easy to buy a classic, but a different matter altogether when the time comes to sell. A classic car is, after all, a special interest purchase and there are only so many buyers out there at any one time looking for your exact model. If it’s a popular one, placing an advert in Classic Motoring may be all that’s necessary to flush out your buyer, but some people are uncomfortable with strangers arriving at their house and kicking the tyres of their gleaming motor.

Others just don’t have the time to wait about for interested parties to turn up (or not, as is often the case).

There’s always the possibility of a trade sale, i.e. selling to a dealer for a quick turnaround, but you can be sure the trade price for your pride and joy – even classics have base values – will probably be a bitter pill to swallow. But there’s long been an alternative to both private and trade sales and that’s sale or return – also known as consignment or commission sales. In the past, there have been some horror stories centred around this, with tales of missing cars and dodgy vendors, but now the picture is very different, with the professionals getting in on the act and restoring confidence. Here’s all you need to know.


Fundamentally, it’s a method of selling whereby you entrust your car to a third party who promises to sell it on your behalf in return for a fixed commission, or return it if it isn’t sold after a specified period.


For starters, all the viewings and negotiations are handled by your nominated vendor, so no more waiting around for no-shows and tyre kickers. Not only that, you don’t have to invite strangers into your home, either. There’s also the very likely probability that the specialist dealer can get a better price than you would be able to ask on a private sale (allowing for their profit, of course). Finally, if the classic car is on finance, you won’t be able to sell it privately anyway unless this debt paid off first – often a sticky situation for cashstrapped buyers.


Profit of course! Other factors include sourcing stock on a sale or return basis means the dealer has less of his own money sitting around on the forecourt, ensuring better cash flow and lower interest charges. And it is these improving but still tight times that’s attractive for any trader.


Yes, handing your classic over to a marque specialist will ensure it receives the right focus of attention from the outset and will often achieve a better price. This is particularly the case with more upmarket machinery; an interested buyer is going to be looking first at a dealer who stocks that kind of vehicle.


The first rule of sale or return deals is to choose a respectable and well-established dealer. In the past, there have been many here today-gone tomorrow outfits who sprung up overnight to offer this service, with predictable results.

One company that has been in the business for almost 30 years is Romans of St Albans; it once told us that you need to be choosy and that’s still the case: “If you’re selling a common or garden Ford or Vauxhall, a classified advert is generally all you’re going to need; however, we sell top end marques and that’s where firms such as ours can make a big difference.

“Take for example, a customer wishing to sell a Bentley Continental. It may be on finance and he probably can’t pay it off until the car’s sold. That’s a chicken and egg

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