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  • Writer's pictureSteve Fairhurst

It doesn't take long to be wrong

About 30 seconds in the case of the new Cazoo ad campaign.

I'm a hopeless petrolhead. I love cars and thanks to the influence of my frugal Dad, I love buying cars. I pore over Autotrader in the same way that teenage boys (and older) browse Pornhub. I research categories - which is the best sweet spot between MPG and usable torque? I research prices via Parkers. I research specs, tax bands, CO2 emissions and colour options.

Then and only then - armed with a shortlist and a full endorsement free licence, I hit the streets. It's rare that I find my dream car locally - I always have to travel: Torquay, Oxford, Matlock. I've been to all these places in search of auto heaven.

Once at a dealership or private home I carefully peruse my multi-point checklist of 'things to watch out for'. I'll give you an obscure example: When buying an old mini - if you can't fit your hand vertically between the tyre and the sill it means the subframe has gone and you're in for a world of financial pain getting it fixed.

If the car passes the checklist then it's time to peruse the service history in detail. I'm looking in particular for gaps, inaccuracies against the recommended service intervals on the official schedule and any twitchiness exhibited by the salesperson at this point.

If they don't appear to welcome this level of scrutiny, I'm off. Then it's time for a test drive designed to check steering, brakes and engine. Finally I sit in the car whilst the exasperated seller watches helplessly as I test every electrical item from fog lights to electric windows.

So imagine my surprise when the new Cazoo TV spots dropped. The proposition is simple it seems. Sit on your settee - choose a car, get it delivered to your door with a full SEVEN DAY WARRANTY! Seven days... Seven.

If you know anyone in the motor trade, you'll know that there are a vast array of expensive problems that can be fudged to survive a seven day warranty.

My question at this point is why Cazoo have thrown so much money at such a bad idea? It is a dreadful idea first and foremost because I didn't at any point research the brand, peruse the website or ask any questions in any way. I just laughed, looked at my wife and said "fuck that!"

And that's what everyone else will be doing when they see the Cazoo advert. Of all the things you DON'T want to buy from your sofa - a car is right up near the top of the list.

Now I may be wrong - but the point is the ad isn't reassuring me one bit. I'm busy so I won't be researching to see if this really is a viable car buying method. £80 million later, Zoopla founder Alex is about to find out just how bad advertising can be.

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