In the last installment of “How to Buy a Car“, I discussed negotiating tips that can get you a much lower price. If you don’t look forward to negotiating, but still want to follow our rule to “avoid paying full price”, you do have options. If all this sounds like too much hassle, there are actually individuals and companies that will do much of it for you while promising to save you money.
“Buyers agents” work for you for a fee, whle “auto brokers” work for you, but also get a fee from the dealer. Some agents and brokers are former sales people and know all the dealer tactics, but this time used on your behalf. Many organizations that you may be a member of offer car buying services that promise to make car buying easier and save you money including AAA, Costco, other warehouse clubs, credit unions, insurance companies, and plenty more. Find more online by searching under “car buying services”. They provide various services including searching for the car you want, showing prices from favored dealers, negotiating with the dealer, reviewing options packages and warrantees, or even delivering the car to your door. They may reduce or eliminate haggling by searching for the best deal with affiliated dealers and providing you a certificate to print to take into the dealer with the price. They may save you money, not only be doing the comparison shopping, but also by having arrangements with certain dealers to give you part of the dealer incentives from the manufacturer. Some services charge a fee and some are free because they get some type of referral fee from the dealer. You should still do some basic research about the type of car you want, average prices in your area, and satisfaction policies from the car buying service, agent, or broker.
http://www.checkbook.org/ – This is one of many services that, for a fee, aim to make the car buying process easier for you by doing much of the price searching and haggling for you. This is probably one of the best as it is a service of the nonprofit Consumers’ CHECKBOOK.
Another option to avoid some negotiation hassles — after completing your research and test drives — email the “internet manager” at several dealers, let them know you are shopping around, and ask them for their best deals on your desired car. Avoid the showroom showdown and do the back and forth over the internet with multiple dealers until you select the best offer.
Saving money while car buying does take some work, but the reward can be thousands of dollars.