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Have you used a car buying service?
Old 11-22-2013, 08:27 PM   #1
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Have you used a car buying service?

We got the bad news that the transmission in DW's 2003 Buick Century is toast at 174k miles and the fix would cost about what the car is worth so it is new car time for DW. We'll almost certainly (although I won't tell the salesman that!) replace it with a new Honda Accord 4 cyl. It's like no one has anything bad to say about the make/model, including Consumer Reports and they're pretty picky (which is good). We've yet to actually drive one, we'll probably do that Monday.

I'm inclined to go through a car buying service and since I'm already subscribed to Consumer Reports Online ($20/year) their car pricing is free. They contact three dealers, get prices from them, and forward the results.

Has anyone else used a car buying/pricing service? Which ones? Likes/dislikes? Results good/bad/indifferent? Cost?

Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:48 PM   #2
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I used USAA's car buying service which is also the same service PenFed CU offers. I was happy with it. I probably could have gotten a slightly better deal had I haggled back and forth with several dealers, but to me the gain wouldn't have been worth the pain.

There is no cost for the service.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about the demise of DW's car. A Honda Accord should be a great choice (speaking from experience). I signed up for a car buying service in 2012 when replacing mine. However, it was of limited utility since Honda dealers are discouraged from participating.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:23 PM   #4
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I used the Consumer Reports car pricing feature when I bought my 2010 Camry back in 2009. I feel like I was able to make a good deal and was completely happy with the price I paid. It may have helped that I was living in a town where car dealers were struggling due to the recent closure of a major employer, with lots of folks out of work, thus very slow sales. Timing and circumstances probably had a lot to do with it. Oh yeah, I was also able to get $4500 cash for clunkers money for my old truck with a bum transmission, too!
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:43 PM   #5
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I used Costco car buying service for my new car earlier this year. Easiest process ever. Sent an email with the specs I wanted. When the car was in, I got a call. The deal was pretty good. No hassle pricing.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:10 AM   #6
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Not sure if you call it a buying service, through work I used the X plan from Ford to buy my truck. Went to ford.com, entered the truck I wanted, it spit out a build sheet and a price .4% over dealer invoice. Took it to the local dealer who honored it and tacked on $100 for paperwork. Took any stress about getting the best deal out of the situation.
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:11 AM   #7
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I used Costco for my current car. I did a fair bit of research before buying and discovered that the Costco negotiated price was about as good as I could have expected with a good deal of haggling. I don't like haggling so I appreciated the Costco option. The dealership raised their trade-in offer to match the offer I got at Carmax which saved me a little bit of hassle - I also don't like DIY sales. I guess I don't like much about cars.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
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I wonder how these services compares to Carmax no haggle price?
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dawg52 View Post
I wonder how these services compares to Carmax no haggle price?
Does Carmax sell new cars? I thought they were only in the resale market.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:47 AM   #10
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Does Carmax sell new cars? I thought they were only in the resale market.
I saw a few online this morning. Limited though.
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Old 11-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #11
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I used the Costco car buying service to help my mother buy a car a few months ago, and agree it is super simple and gets a very good price. The quote comes back almost instantly, and the car dealer contacts you very quickly.

Costco actually only has official relationships with one (or a few?) dealers for a given brand in your area, so you get that one price quote. My mother preferred working with her Honda dealer just down the road from her house, so we simply took the Costco printed out offer from the other dealer (which was about 15 minutes away), and asked if they could match it. They grumbled quite a bit, but did it anyway.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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To those using the Costco service - is that a real 'out the door' price (minus tax and required fees)? Or do you still have to play the game of the added 'rustproofing', or pin stripe, or 'clear coat' or other dealer options at a ridiculous price?

-ERD50
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:20 PM   #13
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I used a local, private buying service to buy a '92 Prelude.
Later used AAA's negotiating service (bought from a dealer, not from AAA) to buy a '98 4Runner.
Great experience both times. Don't really like the negotiating part.
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #14
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To those using the Costco service - is that a real 'out the door' price (minus tax and required fees)? Or do you still have to play the game of the added 'rustproofing', or pin stripe, or 'clear coat' or other dealer options at a ridiculous price?

-ERD50
And don't forget the "mandatory" paperwork fee, maybe registration or title fee, etc.

At a dealer, I always negotiate bottom line. Just a month ago bought a used car and they said salesman made a mistake and the title fee was $25 more. Reminded them I negotiated bottom line and did they wish to jeopardize a sale over $25? They backed off.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #15
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Maybe depends what you want in buying service. Years ago ( pre internet) I used one, gave them the specs, they went and did the negotiating and delivered it to me. With the internet now you can do most of it yourself. If you just want price quotes , most of the car sites ( edmunds etc ) will do that. CarsDirect has purchase program, never looked at the Costco program ( don't have one around here ). Most dealers have caught on to the internet and have a "internet sales dept" that skips most of the BS .
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:13 PM   #16
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I used AAA once. They did a pretty good job getting me what I wanted for the price I was willing to pay.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:18 PM   #17
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A friend of mine used the Costco service. When she visited the dealers in our area several said they offered the same price as Costco. She asked them to give her a quote which in each case was a couple hundred over the Costco price for the same care. Frankly I would rather go through Costco because if the dealer tries to play games they put their contract with Costco at risk.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:47 PM   #18
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Only car buying service I've tried was getting USAA price on my '10 Altima (buying new). Price quoted was a bit higher than I ended up negotiating myself from local dealer using Edmunds.com "True Market Value" for "Build Your Own" model with exact options (MSRP) of specific car I eventually bought. But then- I actually enjoy the negotiations. I'm always prepared with best info I can get on latest automaker invoice/holdbacks/incentives/rebates/etc, buy at end of month (dealers want to meet/exceed quotas), refuse to pay for add-ons (e,g. paint 'sealant', rustproofing, etc.), and politely make it clear I will NOT buy the car if I don't get my price. If dealer thinks you have fallen in love with one specific car (color, options, etc), then they have you by the shorts
Buying service or not, keep in mind dealers will always be less willing to discount models in high demand/short supply. IMHO, car buying services can be useful for those who hate negotiating at all. But one still has to watch out for those $$$$ dealer add-ons (inc unreasonable doc fees). And remember you still need to haggle over value of your trade-in (if any).
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by rbmrtn View Post
Maybe depends what you want in buying service. Years ago ( pre internet) I used one, gave them the specs, they went and did the negotiating and delivered it to me. With the internet now you can do most of it yourself. If you just want price quotes , most of the car sites ( edmunds etc ) will do that. CarsDirect has purchase program, never looked at the Costco program ( don't have one around here ). Most dealers have caught on to the internet and have a "internet sales dept" that skips most of the BS .
The last two cars I have purchased have been online through the internet dept. of the dealership. Told them what I wanted and they gave me their bottom line price. No haggling, no stress. Only way to buy a car.
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:54 AM   #20
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Costco actually only has official relationships with one (or a few?) dealers for a given brand in your area, so you get that one price quote. My mother preferred working with her Honda dealer just down the road from her house, so we simply took the Costco printed out offer from the other dealer (which was about 15 minutes away), and asked if they could match it. They grumbled quite a bit, but did it anyway.
That's what I plan to do with the CR quote. If the closest dealer will match it I'll buy there. If not, I'll go another 30 minutes down the road.

The CR quote is a "certificate" that you're supposed to print and take to the dealer. I hadn't finished printing it before the dealer called on the phone.
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