Car valuations: websites are a waste of time

Thanks to the internet, we consumers are better informed than ever. A great example is the price of cars: we can use all kinds of websites to get an accurate picture of what a car’s worth, so the days when dealers could offer a derisory figure are long gone.

Unless the car valuation sites are bollocks. Which they are.

A random example: a year-old, low mileage Volvo coupe/convertible. After taking spec and mileage into consideration, What Car says it’s worth £23,855 as a trade-in. Parkers pretty much agrees. Go to a dealer with those figures and they’ll laugh hollowly. Glass’s Guide, which dealers use, says £19,000 at best, £17,000 on average.

That’s nearly seven grand of a difference. And Glass’s Guide is the trade bible, so if it says seventeen grand that’s the most you’ll get. And yet other price checkers suggest you’ll get six, seven grand more than you’ll get in real life. Which makes their valuations utterly worthless.

The moral? If you’re buying or selling a car, Glass’s Guide is the only one worth looking at (it’s £3.50 a report, but unlike the free services it’s actually right).  The information provided by other sites is free, sure, but in this case free means completely and utterly inaccurate.

Are there other free finance sites whose data isn’t worth the no-money they charge?