You can now buy a second-hand car and have it delivered to your door with a few clicks of the mouse. We find out why expats are embracing online car shopping.
It sounds counter-intuitive to spend thousands of euros on a car you haven’t seen, but Bynco, the Netherlands’ first 100% online second-hand car dealership, has seen sales soar since it launched in 2017.
‘I was genuinely amazed when it turned up outside my house. Right until the last moment, I was thinking, ‘this is an internet scam’,’ says British expat Paul Hoban, a project manager from Groningen, who bought his Audi A4 Station Wagon on Bynco in May.
Family members were also dubious. Paul’s mother-in-law told him that his money was as good as lost. But Paul had seen that the funds went into a third-party account hosted by GoCredible, which reassured him.
He decided to take give it a go. ‘I was like, ‘Well, I buy a bike online, I buy clothes online, we go to the supermarket online, why not?’’
Online is the new standard
Mark Boekraad, Bynco’s e-commerce manager, admits that people are still ‘a bit scared’ of buying a car 100% online, but insists that ‘online buying of cars will be the new standard’.
‘If you want to buy a second-hand car in the Netherlands, it’s quite complicated,’ he says. In order to see the car, you need to visit the owner or dealership. ‘It could be that your dream car is 100km away.’
None of the cars Paul found advertised was close to his home in Groningen. ‘Most of what I was looking for was down in the Randstad,’ he says. That Bynco included delivery in the price was a big time-saver for him. He went to the website, set his search specifications and perused the 360-degree interior and exterior photos of available cars.
Far from being a scam site, Bynco has done everything it can to distance itself from the untrustworthy image associated with car sales. ‘Everybody knows the cliché about car salesmen with their slick suits, trying to negotiate – and we are totally different from that,’ says Mark. ‘Our mission is to be as transparent as possible about everything, on every step of the journey.’
A key part of this is removing the need to haggle, which is particularly daunting for non-Dutch speakers. ‘I liked the fact that they go fixed price,’ says Paul. ‘If you take the price haggle out of the equation, it becomes a much nicer experience.’
Bynco’s price includes delivery, 180 days warranty, and a 14-day test-drive period with free return of the vehicle if you change your mind. Finance and vehicle trade-ins can also be arranged. Since the company launched, just three cars have been returned during the 14-day test-drive period.
Buying online does not mean that there’s no human contact. The team are happy to talk on the phone or answer questions over email or on the messenger service on their website.
Popular with expats
‘We see a lot of extra traffic from expats to our website,’ says Mark. Some expats even order their car while abroad and arrange delivery to coincide with their relocation.
An unusual part of the online service is that the delivery person not only talks clients through the car, but also goes to the RDW (vehicle registration office) with them to sort out the paperwork.
This can be very reassuring for newcomers. Paul had lived in many countries before landing in the Netherlands and was pleased to discover that his Norwegian driving licence posed no problem since the company were used to dealing with foreigners.
A perennial expat, Paul is fully aware of the strains of relocation. ‘In those first couple of months, you have to sort school, a house, everything – and it’s all under a time pressure.’
Buying a car online may be new and slightly daunting, but Paul has since decided that it’s ‘a genius idea’. ‘It’s just one off the tick list that’s easy to solve,’ he says.
Visit the Bynco website to contact the team and learn more about buying a used car online.
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