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5 tips to use a car-buying service Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial decisions by providing you with financial calculators and interactive tools as well as publishing original and impartial content. This allows you to conduct your own research and compare data for no cost and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers such as, 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 are from companies that compensate us. This compensation could affect how and where products appear on this website, for example for instance, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law. Our mortgage, home equity, and other home lending products. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not contain the vast array of companies or financial deals that could be open 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 write about automobile loans. Edited 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 control their finances by providing concise, well-researched and well-constructed facts that break down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate guarantee

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So, this compensation can impact how, where and when products appear within listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. We also offer mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether a product is available in the area you reside in or is within your own personal credit score may also influence the way and place products are listed on this site. We strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include the details of each financial or credit item or service. If you hate the idea of having to bargain with a dealership on the price tag to purchase a brand-new vehicle, then a car-buying service might be an ideal alternative for you. You can do it from the comfort at home, and some car buying services might have ways to keep more money in your pockets. What are the best car buying services for you? Dealing with dealers can be a bit intimidating. If the fear of a bad deal has kept you away from checking out dealer lots, a car-buying service could be an ideal alternative for you. There are two main types of car-buying services: the concierge service and subscription-based services. Concierge services can help you determine the cost of the car and make the car-buying process easier for you, like delivering the car at your home or to a nearby center so you can test drive it before you purchase. Many organizations, like AAA warehouse clubs, warehouse clubs and , offer car-buying services to members free of 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 car-buying services could save thousands of dollars off their purchase. “I know somebody who bought the car through the program, and saved $2600,” he says. While consumers can 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 a consumer expert on autos. The consumer must know what the car-buying service stands to benefit from these deals and if their goals are the same as yours. Tips for using a car buying service If a car buying service is appealing to you, consider these tips before deciding. 1. The companies offer negotiation and ease of use. car-buying platforms for those who are short on time and don’t have the time to search and , explains Fix. For example, Carvana, a popular car-buying company, has fixed rates and can deliver the vehicle to your house for you to drive throughout the seven-day period. The cost can vary, and certain services charge a percentage of cost of the vehicle. In Meriwest Credit Union in San Jose, California, members can take advantage of its Autoland auto-buying service. Using the service allows them to barely interact with anyone from a dealership, says William Fultz, an auto broker at Meriwest Credit Union. Members are assigned an expert in auto finance who will negotiate the cost of the car on your behalf and work together to get an auto loan from Meriwest Credit Union. 2. Free services are usually for members only . If you’re member of AAA, AARP, Costco, Sam’s Club or a credit union, you could be eligible to avail their free car buying services. Each program is different, and some might provide the option of negotiating the price of a vehicle on your behalf, while others will offer pre-negotiated fixed prices. Some of these organizations and clubs might have discounts, additional benefits and incentives offered by car manufacturers exclusively to their members. 3. Buyers must still conduct their research prior to contacting the car buying service Fix suggests browsing auto research websites, such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, to discover the average price for your desired car within your region. Another reason to do your homework upfront is that buyers should have a good idea of what they are looking for before they contact the service firm, Nielsen says. “It’s difficult to assist you if you’re looking at minivansand sports vehicles, and convertibles all at the simultaneously,” he says. Nielsen recommends narrowing your search to your best two or three choices, including make, model, color and options, before contacting an auto-buying service. “Think about the kind of car that you truly would like to purchase and how much you’d like to pay,” he says. If a business has this information, it can be more efficient in getting the car you want at a reasonable price. 4. Learn how car buying services are paid for. While these services may be offered for free to members, the costs are integrated into the charges for membership. In the case of concierge services, they might charge a flat rate, or a percentage of the cost of the car. Car buying services typically negotiate lower prices with the dealer because of the sales volume that the dealer can achieve due to this, and they can transfer the savings onto the customer. But consumers should be aware they may be directed by the company them to certain dealers with who they’ve established a working relationship, she adds. “You should determine if you get the best deal,” Fix says. Fultz states that referral fees might not be the only advantage that these businesses receive. Credit unions typically offer car buying services because they strengthen the relationship between the customer and their financial institution. “It helps us keep our loans inside the bank on a higher base,” he says. “It benefits our membership, as well as the dealers.” 5. Know the return policy Consumers must be aware of the policy on customer satisfaction before they take possession of the vehicle or car, Fix says. Otherwise, you might end up with a costly purchase that you’re not satisfied with. You can check out the car-buying service platform’s website, or contact customer support to inquire about what their return policy is. Besides how many days you’re allowed to use after purchasing the car in order to take it back, make sure for a cap on the miles you can drive it. If you go over the limit that you can drive, you’ll be charged for each mile over the limit. Typically, the car can’t be returned damaged or modified the vehicle should be in same condition as when it was delivered to you. The bottom line Using the car buying services could be an option for you if you do not want to bargain with salespeople on the lot, you prefer not to walk in a car dealership or are tight on time. Before you call to make a decision, you should do your research and review the particulars including researching the costs involved and the policy for returning a car purchased through a service. Find out more


Written by a 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 since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down complicated topics into manageable bites.

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