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Old 12th January 2022, 23:54   #1
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Default Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Hello,

I see the forum flooded since the last 2 days on reviews of spinny, cars24, olx autos(earlier cashmycar) & gaadi.com. I just thought of sharing my experience with some of these aggregators. I was an active channel partner between 2016 to 2020 with many of them. I can tell you the other side of the story now that I have withdrawn from all of their subscriptions and limited my used car business to a help to close friends and family.

The Standard Model

A- The seller of the car
B- Aggregator
C- Dealer
D- Buyer of the car

The working model for all of them are more or less the same. A approaches B to sell their car. B has an auction portal where the car is listed after inspection. C bids for the car along with other dealers and the highest bid is offered to A. Upon closing the transaction, C eventually sells the car to D.

Now how does it make a difference-

1. Fancy offices, tablets, personalised merchandise & educated staff costs money. Investors money can't sustain them for long. Fake bids are put during the auctions to jack up the prices. The seller gets the same price but the buyer pays atleast 20% more because of this nonsense. Previously the used car market was running on a 10-12% margin. Today the difference in some cases is as high as 35%.

2. You really think covid has caused a sudden spike in demand around used cars? This demand was created by these aggregators. How on earth is it justified to pay 4+ lakhs for a 8 year old swift diesel? These hot sellers remain unsold with dealers for month if they don't find a bakra. These cars are re-auctioned and another bakra dealer gets hold off it. Aggregator earns during this process too. Finally the car is sold off either to a bakra or at a loss.

3. The same aggregators have started selling cars under their own banner now. The so called certification is a joke. Let me give you a few examples-

3.1. Rapid Diesel AT was listed. A friend's colleague was keen on buying it and the car was sent to a known FNG. Co-incidentally, I was there for some work and started checking the car. Suspension had a high rating and the car was crashing on every other pothole. The representative said it's a bushing issue, shouldn't cost more than 5k. The car needed a full suspension overhaul. Something was suspicious about the car and later we realised this was a flood affected car.

3.2. Someone had picked up a Kwid AMT for their wife to learn on. The aggregator in this case had a 5/7 day return policy. Upon inspection, we realised this car had it's boot replaced & the boot floor was horrible repaired. Upon confronting the representative, he said this ain't accidental. I told him show me your report again and I am sending a similarly repaired alto to your place, let's see how you evaluate it. When we told them to pick up the car, a revised price was offered and 30k were returned.

4. Lets talk about legalities. I had picked up a Rapid. This was financed from VW finance. The NOC was pending. I had paid in full for the car awaiting pick up. One week went by and there was no revert. I finally lost it and asked them what went wrong. There was no reply. Finally, I walked into a VW showroom and showed the RC copy to the concerned person. He mentioned a pending 1k fees was not paid hence the NOC not sent. Owner was sitting abroad hence not reachable on call. On another instance, I had returned an i20 because they couldn't manage the bank NOC even after 26 days. The staff has 0 knowledge about legalities involved.

5. RTO is becoming digital every passing day and it's a big hazard to the working model of these companies. There have been cases where the people from the aggregator's office have goofed up documentation and these cars were blacklisted by the RTO due to the issues found with signatures or OTP registered numbers. Once blacklisted, the registered owner has to be present at the RTO to solve the issue around black listing.

6. Please do not go by the letters given to you by these aggregators during the handover of the vehicle. These letters are useless if the vehicle is involved in a mishap. Supreme court ruling states the same thing. Be it a dealer who buys or the aggregator who keeps it for sale at his store, the legal liability is with you. One such incident had happened with a fellow Bhpian in Pune whose sister had exchanged her car for a new car. This particular dealership had an aggregator auctioning cars which came in for exchange. Her car was sold off to a dealer outside Pune. This car changed hands within dealers and finally was offered to me by someone who had just picked it up but lost his job. Upon checking the car, I felt it was known and checked the RC. The surname was known and I spoke to my friend who was furious to know that the car had travelled for more than 6k kms and had accumulated 3-4 traffic fines. After selling off the car, I shared the updated RC with him. It's purely based on luck that your car gets transferred. A dealer will loose max 5k from his deposit if they don't transfer the car.

7. Mis-inspections- A Brio that I had picked up had a worn out clutch which wasn't mentioned in the report. I pointed it out and a technician came with for a trial. He said sir the car is reaching 120kmph, clutch kaha kharab hai. This issue was escalated and I came to know about the level of stupidity that goes on at these places. I had a winning bid for a Celerio ZXi(O). I specifically was keen on picking it up because of the (O). Checked out the car and realised it was a normal ZXi. My RM- Big deal. It's a ZXi, that's sufficient. Customer won't know anything. I had a bit argument and the car was taken back. Vento TDi's ACC had its fan speed rotor broken. Approved amount for any ACC work was 5k. New unit was available for 37k and used one for 19k. I was told 50% money would be adjusted but nothing was done till the time I cancelled the subscription. Found a car with CEL on at the yard. Told the supervisor about it and he said you take it to the appropriate place for scanning and let me know. As soon as I found the error, I complained on the portal and I was told that why did you take the car out. Our supervisor is equipped to check everything. It took me 6 hours to make the person on call understand how and why scanning is important. These people have hired anyone for the business. There are barely 4-5 efficient and knowledgeable people at these stores.

8. I had made it very clear that I am not paying for any car till I verify the history. This created a big issue and I was told to work like other dealers. Eventually this was agreed to I eventually found a clause in the agreement mentioning no return of vehicle if found meter tampered. I refused to sign and finally a mail was sent mentioning return of vehicle if it hasn't left the yard and if there was an issue found in the history.

To conclude, Anyone selling their cars- First try to sell off the car to an individual. Yes it involves hassles but it keeps you safe from unnecessary legal trouble. If you are in hurry, visit a used car dealer. Especially the ones who have been in business for a considerable time. You can get a good deal and one point of contact to ensure the car gets transferred. If you still wish to deal with these aggregators, then please make sure your papers are in place and incase you are in a different state then make sure you get paid in full. These people are notorious in calling you to the registered city's RTO or cut a considerable amount from your balance payment. Most people give it up citing travelling hassles. With papers in place, there is no need to visit the RTO unless there is a goof up.

If you are buying a car- I always advice this to anyone before proceeding with any deal- verify the service history. Get the chassis number and verify the history. These aggregators call these cars certified but they do not take any guarantee for any meter tampering. Please take help from a competent mechanic or reach out to someone knowledgeable to evaluate a car. Do not trust these blind 100 and 200 point certifications. They are useless in most cases. Before making any payment, If the vehicle is hypothecated please make sure a proper bank NOC is available. Please do not make payments on the basis of loan closure letter. If the actual owner has other pending dues with the bank then they won't be issuing the NOC. You are stuck in such a scenario. Please make sure while the transfer process is on, you get the OTP on your number from mparivhan. This is important when you sell the car in the he future. A car which has trouble around suspension or clutch is better than a car with badly painted panels or poor workmanship during accidents. Please double check the tyre manufacturing month, brand and size. I was once sold a car with 3 185/70 R14 tyres and one 185/65 R14 tyre.

With technology becoming a part of our life at every step, it becomes easy but it comes at a cost. And it's not always about the cost but legalities and ethics too. Do not fall prey to the fancy stuff, The business is still not as clean as it is portrayed. In this post, I have used the word "aggregator" even when sharing particular incidents because these practices are standard across platforms.


PS- As I was typing this thread, I was gettin a bulb changed in my figo and there walks in a guy asking the speedo sensor to be removed. It was an Xcent bought by an aggregator. It was being driven down to another city 700 kms away.
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Old 13th January 2022, 01:49   #2
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Quote:
Originally Posted by asit.kulkarni93 View Post
Do not trust these blind 100 and 200 point certifications. They are useless in most cases

.... The business is still not as clean as it is portrayed.
Unsavoury and honestly, unsurprising.
Well done for bringing to light something that I've always suspected about these organisations.
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Old 13th January 2022, 04:58   #3
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thanks man for this post. This is the beauty of this forum, while a recent thread celebrate the arrival of organised player in the used car market, you brought in the hidden side that is not visible to buyers or sellers. Certainly an eye opener.
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Old 13th January 2022, 09:11   #4
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thanks for sharing this post. Your argument that it is the online aggregators who jack up used cars' prices and not covid, is interesting. Now that I think about it, it seems right. Covid just coincided with the advent of these investor darling aggregators.

The biggest problem of selling one's car to an aggregator is the RC transfer. I see many reviews in the forum of cars being sold to these aggregators and deeming that a hassle-free process. Trust me you are making a mistake that can destroy your peace of mind for years by doing that. Entrusting your car with a stranger even for a week is a big risk. In most cases, the RC transfers will happen only in a 6-month time frame, that too if you are lucky. And with the new OTP-based handover process, it cannot be done without the owner's help. I sold my Hexa a lakh below what an online aggregator quoted me just for the peace of mind that comes with me handling the transfer process.
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Old 13th January 2022, 09:27   #5
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thanks much for this post. Always suspected such kind of a modus operandi.

Clearly seems to be a business model built around the ‘ignorance’ of the buyers.
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Old 13th January 2022, 10:10   #6
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Excellent and informative thread
The insights are invaluable.

While I was glad that something good is happening while reading the experiences in other threads but due to personal experience, feel of the ground and despite.the used car thread I cannot convince myself to buy a used car. Just don't trust people(except BHPians) looking at the stuff happening around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asit.kulkarni93 View Post
These people have hired anyone for the business.
Not at all surprising, a virtue of any fast growing, "seize the opportunity" business.

In an age where the basic service isn't properly done at an ASC whose primary business focus is exactly that, I don't expect these aggregators to be the exception. The X00 point checks are just to fool customers.
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Old 13th January 2022, 10:20   #7
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thanks for the thread. I have seen a few threads praising these platforms also.

However, being someone who understands the used car market in and out (I have bought 7 cars used). Also have worked with the used vehicle division of an Indian OEM. The below is my view

Used car aggregators are only useful if you are pressed for time (as a buyer or as a seller) OR as a buyer, you are not technically savvy (which a large portion of Indian crowd is). If you dont fall under the two criteria above, its best to do your own research which is becoming more and more difficult, because all platforms have removed the Individual vs Dealer button in filters. (Check OLX or Quickr).

This market is getting organized, and not in a good way.
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Old 13th January 2022, 10:59   #8
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thanks for sharing the other perspective. This is very useful, especially because it comes from someone who had been inside the system for fairly long.

When I sold my car a few years back, I preferred to wait for 2-3 months to find the right individual buyer. Many posts in this forum had warned about the ownership transfer being the critical factor, and why it might become a challenge if selling to a used car dealer (aggregators were not yet popular at that time).
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Old 13th January 2022, 11:51   #9
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Being in this field for quite sometime now, I know how dirty this business actually is. I've burnt my hands with all the aggregators in one way or another. Now I've given up my dealer subscriptions of the same simply because of all the reasons stated above.

There was this one time I'd acquired a Hyundai i10 from Cars24. Car was given a 4-star rating in all areas. Looked clean in pics too. Won the bid and closed the deal. Two days later, car was delivered at my place. The first thing I went onto see was the entire front end was restructured. The job done was pathetic as well. Car was involved in a major accident. The exterior report has a four and they didn't upload pics of redone suspension towers and badly repaired aprons. Drove the car for a kilometre. Realised the front suspension needs work. None of these were mentioned in the inspection report. Long story short, after a week of back and forth, car was taken back and money was refunded.

Coming to the point of paperwork, I've not seen anyone as lax as these blokes at work. I'd bought another i10 at a different point of time. Car was clean this time around. But they didn't really bother to cross check the paperwork. When I received the car, they simply dumped all the paperwork with me and left. Although all the transfer forms were signed at appropriate places, these idiots didn't bother to cross check the owner's signature from the RC card and the transfer forms. The seller had signed the transfer forms in English while the signature on his RC card had a signature in Telugu. Something as basic as cross verifying the documentation can't be done right by these guys. This didn't end here. The RC smart card delivered to me was a duplicate. It was a card, but not a smart card with a chip. RTO won't accept this during the ownership transfer. Again, after endless conversations with the appropriate authorities, the aggregator offered to buy the car back. I gladly gave it back as I was in no mood to run circles around the RTO for sorting out the paperwork.

Not only that, they've royally screwed up the market. People quote insane figures for their used cars that sometimes it makes more sense to buy new than buy used.

Also, make hay while the sun is still shining bright. Those who are on a lookout to sell their cars, please give these aggregators a try. They sometimes offer a ridiculously good price that no individual buyer in the market would offer. They only make sense in cases like these. Rest, they're no different. All well kitted up on the outside, dysfunctional and unorganised to core on the inside.

Last edited by Varun_HexaGuy : 13th January 2022 at 12:19.
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Old 13th January 2022, 12:06   #10
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viraat13 View Post
Unsavoury and honestly, unsurprising.
Well done for bringing to light something that I've always suspected about these organisations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by doxinboy View Post
Thanks man for this post. This is the beauty of this forum, while a recent thread celebrate the arrival of organised player in the used car market, you brought in the hidden side that is not visible to buyers or sellers. Certainly an eye opener.
Thank you guys. It’s relatively easy to exploit a disorganised industry. With abundance of funds and technology available, it could have been utilised in a better way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padmrajravi View Post
Thanks for sharing this post. Your argument that it is the online aggregators who jack up used cars' prices and not covid, is interesting. Now that I think about it, it seems right. Covid just coincided with the advent of these investor darling aggregators.

The biggest problem of selling one's car to an aggregator is the RC transfer. I see many reviews in the forum of cars being sold to these aggregators and deeming that a hassle-free process. Trust me you are making a mistake that can destroy your peace of mind for years by doing that. Entrusting your car with a stranger even for a week is a big risk. In most cases, the RC transfers will happen only in a 6-month time frame, that too if you are lucky. And with the new OTP-based handover process, it cannot be done without the owner's help. I sold my Hexa a lakh below what an online aggregator quoted me just for the peace of mind that comes with me handling the transfer process.
A brand new Alto costs over 4 lakh rupees and this has been the case since the last few years. Since these prices increased, A lot of people opted for used cars as 4 lakhs can definitely get you a decent deal. With ease of finance options & liquidity in the market, it’s easier to pick up a used car. This definitely has increased the demand but the volume of the used car business was always 1.5-2.5 times of the new car market which was sufficient to cater to the additional requirements. I had observed this surge since 2019 when even accidental or flood affected or meter tampered vehicles were picked up by aggregators from customers or dealers at obnoxious prices. Obviously these were passed on as certified cars. In 2019, I was offered a Swift petrol through an acquaintance. Upon inspection, it turned out to be an accident repaired vehicle. I told the seller about the same and showed my disinterest. He was in a hurry to sell the car. Spoke to my RM with one of the aggregators and the car was auctioned off on the platform. Obviously the car was advertised in a day or two as certified at the aggregator’s store which was close to my office. You did the right thing by finding an individual. The current otp process is becoming strict and there have been plenty of blacklistings in 2021 itself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
Thanks much for this post. Always suspected such kind of a modus operandi.

Clearly seems to be a business model built around the ‘ignorance’ of the buyers.
Precisely my issue with these platforms. With technology in hand, they can easily make it a better experience and infact help the industry in the right way. There is a major scope for clean business in an industry which functions on trust. But these people are functioning the same way the industry always was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post
Excellent and informative thread
The insights are invaluable.

While I was glad that something good is happening while reading the experiences in other threads but due to personal experience, feel of the ground and despite.the used car thread I cannot convince myself to buy a used car. Just don't trust people(except BHPians) looking at the stuff happening around.


Not at all surprising, a virtue of any fast growing, "seize the opportunity" business.

In an age where the basic service isn't properly done at an ASC whose primary business focus is exactly that, I don't expect these aggregators to be the exception. The X00 point checks are just to fool customers.
I have always maintained this with respect to used cars- Don’t look for a good deal, look for a good car. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you pay an obnoxious price but a slight premium for a well kept car is well deserved. Unfortunately, the definition of a well kept car has changed in the recent past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000rpm View Post
Thanks for the thread. I have seen a few threads praising these platforms also.

However, being someone who understands the used car market in and out (I have bought 7 cars used). Also have worked with the used vehicle division of an Indian OEM. The below is my view

Used car aggregators are only useful if you are pressed for time (as a buyer or as a seller) OR as a buyer, you are not technically savvy (which a large portion of Indian crowd is). If you dont fall under the two criteria above, its best to do your own research which is becoming more and more difficult, because all platforms have removed the Individual vs Dealer button in filters. (Check OLX or Quickr).

This market is getting organized, and not in a good way.
Perfectly put.
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Old 13th January 2022, 12:44   #11
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

What an informative post. Thank you. Covid was just a coincidence and these players used it to their advantage. And the market had the chip shortage which increased the waiting periods. I sometimes feel surprised at the many methods used by these people to beat the system. I think buying a new car or taking a used car from a known source is best.
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Old 13th January 2022, 12:53   #12
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thanks for sharing this important information. This is an eye opening information for all who are lured by their advertisement. These advertisements claim to give best value for your car. It seems that these so called organized aggregators have also adopted cheating policy. My old Verna was exchanged with Tata dealer who eventually sold and transferred the car to new buyer’s name within one month.
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Old 13th January 2022, 13:21   #13
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thank you for such an informative post!

Threads like this cement my opinion of not buying a used car ever. Other than paperwork/legalities/condition of the car, you just can never tell how the previous owner used the car - read abused. Though I understand a neatly used car offers good value, I'm just not ready to deal with any unwanted headaches later in the ownership!
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Old 13th January 2022, 14:47   #14
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thank you so much for this thread. As a newbie who does not understand and trust used cars, I was considering spinny and such seeing their fancy websites and claims. I already have booked a brand new car but still was window shopping to see what deals were around.

Now with this thread, I am more convinced not to go with used cars unless it from a known individual (not dealer). I am also convinced that all dealers do odometer tampering.
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Old 13th January 2022, 17:11   #15
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Default re: Online used car aggregators and their illusion of transparency

Thank you for the really informative post about the insides of the used car business. My sister-in-law wanted a pre-owned automatic hatchback for city use. The ridiculous prices of the used cars listed on the aggregator websites (OLX, Cartrade, Cars24, etc) made her postpone the decision for buying a used car. 11-12 year old Hyundai i10s are being sold for 2.5-3 lakhs which I feel is daylight robbery.
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