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Who Should Pay for a Used Car Inspection, the Buyer or the Seller?

A confused buyer


What is a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI)?

A Pre-Purchase Inspection is essential when purchasing a car, particularly a used one. Also known as a PPI, it provides potential buyers with valuable information about the car’s mechanical condition and any issues that may not be immediately noticeable, even in a test drive. However, in some cases, the question of who should foot the bill for the inspection arises, causing arguments and confusion between buyers and sellers. In this article, we will look at both sides of the coin and consider what each side stands to gain or lose.

Besoji Inspection Report

Benefits of Car Inspection For Buyer

From a buyer’s point of view, investing in a PPI is a prudent choice. There are various reasons for a buyer to take responsibility for paying for an inspection:

  • Risk Aversion: Buying a used car involves risks, such as hidden damage or mechanical issues, or even if it has been written off in the past. Buyers can mitigate these risks by getting a PPI and avoid purchasing a car with a hefty repair bill awaiting them upon purchase. Also, if a seller refuses to let the buyer carry out a PPI, they are likely trying to hide something that would sway the buyer away from purchasing their car. In this case, it would be advisable for the buyer to walk away and avoid wasting their time.

  • More Knowledge of the Car’s Condition: Buyers can have peace of mind when making a decision about a car they’re interested in. The added knowledge about any mechanical issues or potential problems in the future uncovered by a PPI lets them make an informed decision about whether to proceed with their purchase or not.

  • Investment: Ultimately, the car will belong to the buyer. Therefore, it makes sense for them to invest in an inspection to ensure that its condition meets their standards. It is also a small investment in the grand scheme of things, and viewing it as part of the overall cost of purchasing the car helps put things in perspective.

  • Negotiation: With the results of the PPI, buyers are armed with knowledge and, therefore, more leverage towards the seller. They can ask sellers to lower their prices or request that the issues uncovered be addressed before going through with the deal.

Benefits of Car Inspection For Seller

A stack of money

Should the Buyer Pay for the Inspection?

 There is no correct answer to this question. Usually, it is a common practice for the buyer to pay because the seller is dealing with a number of buyers at any given time. Every buyer has their own preferred inspection company so it would be unrealistic for the seller to pay each and every time. Also, this gives the buyer the freedom to choose any inspection company they like, so that the chances of a biased report are little to none.


Should The Seller Pay For The Inspection?

In certain instances, a seller might opt to cover the cost of the pre-purchase inspection, especially if they are confident in the vehicle's impeccable condition. This gesture can serve as a strong signal to potential buyers about the quality and maintenance history of the car, suggesting that it is unlikely to have hidden problems. Additionally, by paying for the inspection, the seller demonstrates transparency and a commitment to honesty, potentially accelerating the sale process by building trust with the buyer. This approach can be particularly effective in competitive markets, where distinguishing their vehicle from others can significantly benefit the seller. However, it's important to note that if any issues are uncovered during the inspection, the seller risks the inspection cost without a guaranteed sale, highlighting their confidence in the vehicle's condition as a calculated risk to facilitate a smoother transaction.

The Verdict

After looking at both sides, despite both sides having their reasons, more often than not, it will be the buyer paying for the inspection. The buyer stands to gain more from a PPI, as discussed above. If the buyer were not to go ahead with a PPI on a  problematic car they eventually buy, they could’ve been saved from thousands in repair bills by paying a fraction of that amount for an inspection, saving them from the headache of dealing with the issues. That and the added negotiating power that an inspection brings make a strong case for the buyer to pay for a Pre-Purchase Inspection.

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