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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 writes about auto loans. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to control their finances by providing precise, well-studied 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 in what order products appear in listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. This is the case for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own rules for our website and whether the product is available in your region or within your own personal credit score can also impact how and where products appear on this website. We strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. If you are not a fan of having to bargain with a dealership for the cost to buy a new vehicle, a car buying service may be a solid alternative. You can purchase a car from the convenience at home, and some car purchasing services could offer options to save money in your pockets. Are car buying services a good fit for you? The process of negotiating with dealerships can be a bit intimidating. If the fear of getting a poor deal has kept you away from checking out dealerships, a car buying service can be a good option for you. There are two types of car buying services: Membership-based and concierge. Concierge service can help you determine the cost of the vehicle and make the buying process more convenient for you, for example, delivery of the car at your home or to the nearest center so you can try it out before purchasing. Many organizations, such as AAA warehouse clubs, warehouse clubs and , offer car-buying services for their members at no cost, says John Nielsen, managing director of automotive engineering and repair at the AAA national office at Heathrow, Florida. Nielsen states that buyers who avail these services for buying a car can save thousands of dollars off the cost of their purchases. “I know somebody who bought the car through Our program that saved $2,600,” he says. Though shoppers have the potential to save lots of dollars, not all car buying services are alike, says Lauren Fix, founder of The Car Coach and Car Smarts and consumer auto expert. The consumer must be aware of what the service has to benefit from these deals and if their objectives are the same as yours. Tips for using a car buying service If a car-buying service might be a good fit 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 can’t find and fix, according to Fix. For example, Carvana, a popular car-buying company, has fixed rates and can deliver the car to your home for you to drive for seven days. Costs can vary and certain services cost a percentage of the cost of the car. In Meriwest Credit Union in San Jose, California, members are able to take advantage of the Autoland car buying service. The service allows members to not interact with anyone from a dealership, says William Fultz, an auto broker at Meriwest Credit Union. Members are assigned the auto advisor who can negotiate the cost of the car on your behalf, and also work together to get an auto loan from your credit union. 2. Free services are usually for members only If you’re a member of AAA, AARP, Costco, Sam’s Club or a credit union, you could be eligible for their free car buying services. Each program works differently and some may provide the option of negotiating the price tag of a vehicle for you, while others offer pre-negotiated, fixed rates. Some of these clubs and organizations may offer discounts, benefits or incentives offered by car makers exclusively to their members. 3. Buyers should still do their research prior to contacting an auto-buying service, Fix suggests browsing websites for auto research, such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, to learn the average sales price of your dream car in your local area. Another reason to do your homework upfront is that buyers will know what they want before they make contact with the company, Nielsen says. “It’s difficult to help you when you’re considering Minivans, Sports Cars or convertibles all at the at the same time,” he says. Nielsen recommends narrowing your options to the top two or three choices that include models, makes, colors and options, before contacting the car buying service. “Think about the kind of car that you would like to purchase and how much you’d like to spend,” he says. If a company has that information, it will be able to work much more efficiently at finding the car you want with a price that is competitive. 4. Understand how car-buying services get paid. Although these services could be provided for free to members, they are included in any fees for membership. As for the concierge, they may charge a flat rate or a portion of the cost of the car. The car buying service usually negotiates discounts with dealers because of the sales volume the dealership can earn due to this and transfer the savings onto the consumer. However, buyers must be aware that they could be directing them to certain dealers with whom they have a commercial connection, she says. “You must ask yourself if you really are getting the most value for your money,” Fix says. Fultz states that referral fees might just not be the sole advantage these companies receive. Credit unions usually offer car-buying services because they strengthen relationships between customers and the financial institution. “It keeps our loans within the institution on a higher base,” he says. “It benefits our members, us and dealers.” 5. Be aware of the return policy. Consumers must ensure they know the policy regarding customer satisfaction prior to when they purchase the car or truck, Fix says. Otherwise, you might be stuck with a huge purchase that you’re not happy with. You can check out the car-buying service’s site, or contact customer service to find out what their return policy is. Beyond the time you’re given after buying the vehicle to return it, make sure to see if there’s any limit to the number of miles you can drive. If you exceed the number of miles then you’ll need to pay for every mile over the limit. The car isn’t able to be returned modified or damaged the vehicle should be in same state as it was the day it was given to you. The final word is that using an online car buying service can be an option if do not want to bargain with salespeople at the dealership, prefer not to walk in a car dealership or if you’re short on time. Before you call to make a decision, you should do your research and look at the details including researching the cost involved, and the return policy of a platform that sells cars. Find out more
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 writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances with clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into digestible chunks.
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