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4 min read Published June 15, 2022

Written by Jackie Lam Written by Contributing writer Jackie Lam is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Jackie write about automobile loans. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate guarantee

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Therefore, this compensation may influence the manner, place and when products appear in listing categories, except where prohibited by law. We also offer mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own rules for our website and whether or not a product is available within your region or within your own personal credit score could also affect the manner in which products appear on this website. Although we try to offer the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include details about every financial or credit product or service. If you don’t like the thought of having to bargain with a dealership on the price tag for a brand new vehicle, a car buying service might be an ideal alternative. You can purchase a car from the convenience of your own home, and some of the car buying services may offer ways to keep more money in your pocket. Can car-buying services work for you? Dealing with dealers can be intimidating. If the fear of getting a bad deal has kept you away from checking out dealerships, a car buying service can be a good alternative for you. There are two main kinds of car-buying options: Membership-based and concierge. Concierge service can help you determine the cost of the car and make the buying process simpler for you, like delivery of the car at your home or to a nearby center so you can try it out prior to purchasing. Many organizations, like AAA warehouse clubs, warehouse clubs and others, provide car-buying assistance to their members free of cost, according to John Nielsen, managing director of auto engineering and repairs for the AAA headquarters located in Heathrow, Florida. Nielsen states that buyers who avail these car-buying services could save thousands on their purchase. “I know somebody who bought a car from our program and saved $2,600,” he says. While consumers can to save lots of money, not all buying services are the same, according to Lauren Fix, founder of The Car Coach and Car Smarts and expert in consumer automobiles. She says consumers need to be aware of what the service stands to profit from these deals, and whether their goals are similar to yours. Tips to use a car-buying service If a car-buying service seems right for you, consider these tips before seeking one out. 1. Businesses offer negotiation and convenience car-buying platforms for those who are short on time and aren’t able to locate and fix, according to Fix. For example, Carvana, a popular car-buying service, provides fixed rates and can deliver the vehicle to your house for you to drive throughout the seven-day period. Costs can vary and some services cost a percentage of the price of the car. In Meriwest Credit Union in San Jose, California, members are able to take advantage of the Autoland auto-buying service. Utilizing the service allows them to barely interact with anyone from a dealer, says William Fultz, an auto broker at Meriwest Credit Union. Members are paired with the auto advisor who can negotiate the car’s price on your behalf and collaborate with them on getting an auto loan through Meriwest Credit Union. 2. Free services are usually for only members. If you’re a members of AAA, AARP, Costco, Sam’s Club or a credit union, you might be eligible for their car buying services for free. Every program operates differently and some provide the option of negotiating the price of a vehicle on your behalf, while others provide pre-negotiated fixed prices. Certain clubs and associations may have discounts, other benefits, or incentives offered by car manufacturers only to members of their organization. 3. Buyers should still do their homework Before working with a car-buying service, Fix suggests looking through auto research websites, such as Edmunds as well as Kelley Blue Book, to find the median cost of the car you want to purchase in your local area. Another reason to do your research before you buy is that buyers will know what they are looking for before they reach out to the firm, Nielsen says. “It’s difficult to help you when you’re considering minivans, sports cars or convertibles at the same at the same time,” he says. Nielsen recommends narrowing your choices to your best two or three choices that include models, make, colors and choices, prior to contacting the car buying service. “Think about the kind of car that you truly desire to purchase and the much you’d like to invest,” he says. When a company has that information, it can be more efficient in finding the car you’re looking for at a competitive price. 4. Understand how car-buying services get paid for. While these services may be offered for free to members, the costs are folded into any charges for membership. As for concierge services, they might charge a flat fee or a percentage of the cost of the car. Car-buying services often can negotiate lower prices with the dealer because of the sales volume that the dealer can achieve through this process and can transfer savings to the customer. However, buyers must be aware that they could be directing customers to specific dealers which they’ve a working relationship, she adds. “You have to determine if you are getting the most value for your money,” Fix says. Fultz believes referral fees could just not be the sole advantage the companies get. Credit unions usually offer car-buying services to strengthen relationships between customers and their financial institution. “It ensures that we keep our loans in-house on a much higher level,” he says. “It helps our membership, as well as dealers.” 5. Know the return policy Consumers must be aware of the policy regarding customer satisfaction prior to when they take possession of the car or truck, Fix says. If you don’t, you may be stuck with a major purchase that you’re not satisfied with. You can on the car-buying service’s site, or by reaching out to customer service to inquire the return policy. Beyond the time you’re given after buying the car for returning it you should check for a cap on the number of miles you can drive. If you go over the limit then you’ll need to pay for every mile that is over the limit. In general, the vehicle cannot be returned damaged or modified — it has to be returned in the same state as it was the day it was given to you. The main point to remember is that using an online car buying service can be a good option for you if you do not want to bargain with salespeople on the lot, would rather avoid stepping foot in a car dealership or if you’re short on time. Before you call make sure you do your research and study the specifics, like researching , the charges involved, as well as a car-buying platform’s return policy. Find out more


Written by a contributing writer Jackie Lam is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Jackie writes about auto loans. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that break down complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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