Are autoquake generally considered a reliable source in the UK? What were they like to deal with?
I read a lot of negative forum comments on them prior to going to see the car. I basically classed it as though I was going to buy from a private seller and not from a garage (they aren't a garage anyway). A company who sells 15,000 cars a year and expecting to increase that to 25,000 cars next year (between their leeds and birmingham sites) are going to get some negative comments. As you will know most people are quick to complain on a forum when something goes wrong and not so quick to praise.
You don't get a warranty but do get a 7 day grace period where you can return the car (minus your transaction fee of £149) no questions asked. They also can provide you with 7 day driveaway insurance from Aviva making it easier for you to collect the car. I was going to get a full rac inspection done after I bought the car but opted to get a major service done by Audi. The major service highlighted the fact that the oil filter housing cap was seized on and would have to be forcefully removed and replaced at a cost of £110.83. I called autoquake to say that I wasn't happy with this issue as supposedly an oil and filter change had been carried out by them days earlier and that this was a fault with the car. Without any real hesitation the girl that I spoke to instructed me to get Audi to phone Car Care Plan, who provide a warranty service to them for you first 7 days. As I had highlighted the issue at the earliest possible opportunity (next day) and as it was serviced by Audi then I would have no problems with the item being replaced by Audi and paid for by Car Care Plan. Now this is something you don't get with a private seller.
To actually deal with on the day I found them excellent. No hard sale, no haggling !!(i did try as the car hadn't had a cam belt by 90,000 miles) and basically no bulls**t. We arrived for our appointment an hour and a half early and I spoke to the manager asking if we would have to wait. The manager emphasised with the fact we had driven 211 miles to the place and told us he would deal with us himself as soon as he could. 20 mins later the car was brought to us. It looked brilliant, the defects in the bodywork they had highlighted (pictured in the initial posts link under vehicle condition) were not anything I would have expected to highlight at a dealership (apart from maybe the chrome). I had a quick drive of the car around their rather huge car park (said that as we were early they didn't have trade plates available, TBH I have read that test drives aren't that great with Autoquake anyway - don't get to go anywhere where you can open it up). This I would say is the major negative, however the way I threw it about their car park I wasn't overly worried. We were then asked if we wanted it or not and given a few minutes to talk about it. I decided to go for it and let my wife pay for it as I called Audi to book it in for the next morning. Got no hard sell on the warranty or gap insurance and never even needed to sign anything.
So basically my recommendation would be. Treat it as a private sale and then get a major service done on the car by the main dealer as soon as humanly possible to highlight any defects. If there are any defects, then see if Autoquake will cover them and if not decided whether you want to keep the car or not. I feel that the car I have bought has been justifiably cheap enough to warrant this process - others may not. I think if you are the type of person who looks at these forums for information and are informed on what you are buying - then Autoquake could be another way to save money when buying a car