5 tips to use a car-buying service Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make smarter financial decisions by offering you financial calculators and interactive tools as well as publishing original and impartial content. We also allow users to conduct research and compare data for no cost and help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers, including but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The products that are featured on this site come from companies that compensate us. This compensation can affect the way and when products are featured on this website, for example for instance, the sequence in which they be listed within the categories of listing and other categories, unless prohibited by law. This applies to our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. However, this compensation will not influence the information we provide, or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not contain the universe of companies or financial offers that may be accessible to you. SHARE Skynesher/Getty Images
4 min read Published June 15, 2022
Jackie Lam Written Jackie Lam Written by Contributing writer Jackie Lam is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Jackie is a writer on auto loans. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances by providing concise, well-researched and well-constructed information that breaks down otherwise complicated topics into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate guarantee
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We are compensated in exchange for the promotion of sponsored goods and services or by you clicking on specific links on our website. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. This is the case for our mortgage, home equity and other home loan products. Other elements, such as our own rules for our website and whether or not a product is offered in the area you reside in or is within your personal credit score can also impact the manner in which products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include details about every financial or credit product or service. If you hate the idea of having to bargain with a dealership about the cost to buy a new vehicle, then a car-buying service might be an ideal alternative for you. You can purchase a car from the convenience of your own home, and certain car buying services may offer ways to put more money into your pocket. Are car buying services a good fit for you? The process of negotiating with dealerships can be daunting. If fear of a bad deal has scared you from visiting the dealer’s showrooms, a buying service could be an ideal option for you. There are two primary kinds of car-buying options that include Membership-based and concierge. Concierge services are a great way to negotiate the price tag of the vehicle and make the buying process more convenient for you, like delivery of the car to your home or to a nearby center so you can try it out before you purchase. Numerous organizations, including 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 repair for the AAA national office in Heathrow, Florida. Nielsen states that buyers who avail these services to buy cars could save thousands off the cost of their purchases. “I have friends who purchased an automobile through our program and saved $2600,” he says. Although consumers have the ability to save quite a bit of money, not all buying services are alike, says Lauren Fix, founder of The Car Coach and Car Smarts and consumer auto expert. She says consumers need to know what the car-buying service has to gain from these deals and if their objectives are the same as yours. Tips for using a car buying service If a service for buying cars is appealing to you, take a look at these suggestions before deciding. 1. Companies offer negotiation, convenience Car-buying services are designed for buyers who are short on time and aren’t able to locate and , explains Fix. For example, Carvana, a popular car-buying service, offers fixed rates and can deliver the vehicle to your house to allow you to test drive it for seven days. Costs can vary and certain services charge a percentage of the cost of the car. At 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 at a dealership, according to William Fultz, an auto broker at Meriwest Credit Union. Members are connected to an expert in auto finance who negotiates the car’s price on your behalf, and also work with them on getting a car loan through Meriwest Credit Union. 2. The free services are generally available to only members. If you’re a members of AAA, AARP, Costco, Sam’s Club or a credit union, you may be eligible to tap into their free car buying services. Each program works differently and some may provide the option of negotiating the cost of a car on your behalf, whereas others offer pre-negotiated, fixed prices. Certain clubs and associations may have discounts, benefits or incentives offered by car makers only to members of their organization. 3. Buyers should do their research prior to working with an auto-buying service, Fix suggests browsing auto research websites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, to learn the average sales price of your dream car within your region. Another benefit to doing research prior to the purchase is that buyers will have a good idea of what they want before they reach out to the firm, Nielsen says. “It’s difficult to help you if you’re looking at minivansand sports vehicles, and convertibles all at the simultaneously,” he says. Nielsen suggests narrowing down your choices to your top two or three choices which include the models, make, colors and options, before contacting a car-buying service. “Think about the kind of car that you truly desire to purchase and the much you want to pay,” he says. If a business has this information, it will be able to perform a better job of getting the car you want with a price that is competitive. 4. Understand how car-buying services get paid. Although these services could be offered for free to members, the cost is folded into any charges for membership. As for concierge services, they could be charged a flat amount or a portion of the value of the car. Car buying services typically negotiate lower prices with the dealer due to the number of sales the dealership achieves due to this, and they can pass along the savings to the consumer. But consumers should be aware they could be directing customers to specific dealers who they’ve established a working connection, she says. “You should determine if you get the best deal,” Fix says. Fultz says referral fees may never be the primary benefit that these businesses receive. Credit unions typically offer car buying services to strengthen the relationship between the customer and their financial institution. “It keeps our loans in-house on a much more frequent basis,” he says. “It benefits us, the membership and the dealers.” 5. Know the return policy Consumers must be aware of the policy regarding customer satisfaction prior to when they buy the vehicle or car, Fix says. Otherwise, you might be stuck with a major purchase that you’re not happy with. You can on the car-buying service platform’s website or call customer support to inquire about what the return policy is. In addition to the number of days you have after you purchase the vehicle in order to take it back, check to see if there is any limit to the amount of miles you can drive. If you exceed the amount of miles that you can drive, you’ll need to pay for every mile that is over the limit. Typically, the car can’t be returned damaged or modified — it must be in the same state as it was when it was delivered to you. The final word is that using a car-buying service could be an alternative if you aren’t looking to negotiate with an agent on the lot, prefer not to walk on a car lot or if you are short on time. Before you make a call, do your homework and look at the details, like researching , the cost involved, and a car-buying platform’s return policy. Learn more
Written by Contributing writer Jackie Lam is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Jackie is a writer on auto loans. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances with concise, well-researched and well-researched content that break down complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.
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