What is Sale or Return?

Many people who are looking to sell their cars are worried about selling privately. Who is going to call? How many people will waste your time? Will you only get low offers? Are there enough people out there who can afford my car for cash? Will most car-buying websites knock me down when I drop the car off?

Thankfully there is an option for people who want to get the most money for their car without the hassle of dealing with buyers, phone calls, and time wasters.

Sale or Return (SOR) is a service offered by some dealerships where they sell your car on your behalf. The car is held on the forecourt for a pre-determined period of time and the advertising power of the dealership is used in full force to sell your car. Viewings are completed at the dealership by the team there and the dealership deals with all enquiries.

The benefits of this are numerous but of course, the dealership can, of course, charge a higher amount for the vehicle. The dealership will potentially offer a warranty with the car along with a professional buying experience. This allows them to charge a higher price. Another huge advantage of SOR is the dealer being able to offer finance on your car. This opens up your vehicle to a larger pool of buyers who might otherwise not be able to afford the car.

The main disadvantage is that your vehicle will usually not be in your possession whilst up for sale with the dealer. If you rely on your car every day or perhaps need the cash from the sale of this car to fund the next one, this may not be for you. The dealer usually needs the car on their forecourt whilst the car is up for sale with them. If someone books a viewing on the car the car of course needs to be available. However, if you can live without your car whilst the sale goes through, the extra money in your pocket at the end could make it worth it for you.

How Does the Dealer Make Money?

The dealer normally works on a pre-agreed profit margin or minimum amount to be returned to the vehicle owner. This margin or amount should be agreed upon by both parties in advance of the vehicle being listed for sale with the dealer. For example - if the dealer sells your car for £18,500 they may return to you £17,000. The £1,500 margin covers the expenses incurred by the dealership including advertising, tax owed, and time spent. In this example, the vehicle owner may have been offered £16,000 online by a car buying website, therefore £1,000 better off by using the sale or return method.


Always ensure you manage your expectations of what you expect to receive for the car when it sells, and how long the dealership expects it to take to sell. Car prices are changing all the time, and the variations in the used car market may fluctuate more than you realise. ALWAYS get an agreement in writing between yourself and the dealer to ensure you know how things will progress and what happens when the car sells.

How Can I Get More Information?

The team at Forecourt-E is experienced in using a sale or return to help get customers the highest amount possible for their car. Feel free to get in touch with any questions you might have on the topic using our various contact methods - even if you are not planning to use us for SOR on your car.

We also have an easy-to-complete online form that you can fill out with the details on your car and the team will come back to you with an estimated price. This is the easiest way to get a valuation which you can then talk through with our experienced team.

Forecourt-E is an independent electric car dealership based in Lymington, Hampshire. Our team buys and sells used electric cars and helps customers find the right electric car for them. We pride ourselves on 5* customer service and are always happy to help those who are new to the world of electric cars to learn more.

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