Is Kelly Blue Book Instant Cash Option Legit?
August 12, 2018 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Is the Kelly Blue Book Instant Cash Offer some kind of scam? It seems too good to be true.

I've been desperately trying to find someone to take over my auto lease (previously, because I'm moving overseas. I've has some bites, but in general, it's been a disappointing process.

I'm down to the wire: 2 months til I leave the US, and there's been no movement. So I'm looking into getting a loan and buying out the lease and trying to turn around and sell it really fast.

This morning, I went to the Kelly Blue Book site to see what my car is worth. I was curious about the Instant Cash Offer thing, so I went through it.

The instant cash offer is $1000 more than the payoff of my car. I just need to go to one of the participating dealers, and I'm "guaranteed" the number offered. Sweet! But this seems way too good to be true. Has anyone here done this?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Someone asked this very same question on Reddit's /r/askcarsales.

Answer seems to be yes, it's legit, but it's also a sales tool to get you in the door where they know you will probably need another car after yours is sold. If you're not in the market, the $1000 might be chewed down by problems they find during the inspection.

YMMV, pun intended.

Also: is the "payoff" number you mention equivalent to the residual value in your contract, or the residual + all remaining payments?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:05 AM on August 12, 2018

Yes. The payoff is accurate. The number matches my remaining payments, plus the lease-end purchase price in my agreement. Also, the leasing company's website provides the lease buyout price. The two numbers are congruent.

I was overly honest in the section that asks for damage. There's a few scratches, and then the one time I parallel parked badly and scratched up my hubcap. Even with that, the value listed is still great (considering that, in my panic, I've been accepting the fact that I may have to eat $7000 to get out of the lease :/ )
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:28 AM on August 12, 2018

You may also want to get a quote from Vroom. I recently sold my hail damaged car to them, and they offered $3-4K higher than any local offers I received. They were very easy to work with, and my car was sold within a week.
posted by bluloo at 1:50 PM on August 12, 2018

Also consider CarMax for instant offers and quick sales.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:20 PM on August 12, 2018

I sold my car that way but the amount they ended up giving me was quite a bit less than the "guaranteed" offer. They found a bunch of silly little reasons why my car was not in the condition I thought it was. Would not do it again.
posted by karbonokapi at 9:37 PM on August 12, 2018

Yes, it is legit. It is also damned hard and costly for a dealership to become a Kelly Blue Book buying center. The independent highline dealership for which I do various media-related things became a Kelly Buying Center about 6 months ago and it seems to be working well for both the dealership and the sellers.
posted by bz at 10:42 PM on August 12, 2018


Can I ask how much "quite a bit less" is? I ran my car through twice on the ICO. One with it it all excellent condition, the second acknowledging that there are a couple of clearcoat scratches, and scratches on one hubcap. The difference was $900.

I did Vroom, and they listed $1200 less than Kelly Blue Book.

This has been most helpful. I'm going to approach one of the dealers later this week.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:27 AM on August 13, 2018

I haven't done the KBB thing, but it's worth trying CarMax as well. After unsuccessfully trying to sell my car on craigslist for a few weeks I went to CarMax and had a firm quote that was good for a week after 15 minutes or so (make an appointment). You can get the CarMax quote, compare it to the KBB thing, and if the KBB thing falls through you can go back to CarMax a week later and get a check in 15 minutes.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:58 AM on August 13, 2018

Thanks for the feedback. Turns out that the KBB offer was total bullshit. Two dealerships even told me as much. I was offered $5000 less than the KBB offer from the 2 dealers I went to, which means a total loss of $3000. One of them whispered that CarMax might be better.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:39 PM on August 27, 2018

"Two dealerships even told me as much." Were they, by chance, dealerships qualified to be a KBB buying center? I'd be surprised if that's a "yes." It isn't easy to qualify and most dealerships don't which gives them a good sour grapes reason to claim it's "bullshit."
posted by bz at 8:49 PM on September 4, 2018

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