Buying a car: explain negotiating price to me
April 17, 2019 7:58 AM   Subscribe

My lease is almost up, and I need to buy a car. Aside from the lease, every previous car I've owned has been purchased or inherited from someone I knew. I know people negotiate at dealers, but I don't understand how it works. At all. And I'm not finding that in previous questions.

I very much need a "for dummies" version of negotiating on car prices at a dealer. I have not yet decided whether I will be buying a new or used car. I will need financing in either case, but for all the cars I'm considering, I can make a 20% downpayment. My intention has always been to finance through my credit union, but looking at the dealer's website, they seem to actually have better interest rates than are listed on the credit union site. I don't understand how financing works with negotiating. As a sixty-year-old female who doesn't know anything about cars, I feel like I'm in a bad position in trying to talk to a salesperson.

I am extreme conflict averse and would love to go into a coma and have someone do this for me, but that's pretty hard to arrange. (Honestly, I think car sale negotiation would be a great business for someone.) Right now I'm thinking Honda HR-V. If I'm leaving out important details, please let me know.

(Also, I have reasons for not buying a car I can pay cash for, so if that's a big part of your advice, maybe skip this question.)
posted by FencingGal to Travel & Transportation (30 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Well, as a starting point once you have test driven a few cars and you have one you’d like to maybe buy, you can say to the salesperson, “Can you do anything to get the price down?” My husband always says, “what’s the best price you can get me on this?” Another phrasing could be, “How can we get the price down?” See what they have to say and go from there. Easier said than done I know!
posted by amy.g.dala at 8:05 AM on April 17

Financing is actually a great point of negotiation. Go in telling them that you plan to finance through your credit union, even though their rates look decent you really trust your credit union, and they will likely barter hard with you to get them to finance through them. Dealers really want you to use their financing, in my experience - it's basically the one thing you have over them.

Also, if a particular dealership or salesperson gives you a bad vibe or makes you feel pressured, don't hesitate to walk away and go elsewhere.
posted by Kriesa at 8:09 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]

Seems like car-sales negotiation is a business. Here's a link to an article on how to buy a new car and here's the website of the author, where he offers such a car-buying service. I haven't used him personally but he sure sounds like he knows a lot.
posted by jcrcarter at 8:12 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

When I bought my first new-from-the-dealer car, I took a couple of (male) people with me that I thought would offer me support in the negotiation process. They didn't, so that left me to do it all myself.

I won't say I got a great deal, and I was in a different situation than you are--I didn't have to arrange financing--but I think I made out okay.

I had a price in mind I was willing to pay. It was something that I thought was fair to both the dealer and myself, given the sticker price of the car. When we started talking price, I asked what the sales guy could do. He came back with some figure that was barely discounted. He wouldn't even through in an option I wanted (I think it was floor mats or something equivalent.) I basically said, "look here's what I'm willing to pay, taxes and fees included" and in the end, that's what I paid.

As I said, I'm sure some fabulous dealmaker and negotiator could have probably done better and gotten a bigger discount. I would have liked to have gotten more, but I was in the situation where I didn't want to spend ages running around from dealership to dealership looking to save a few bucks.

It may not be the best strategy for you, but it might be a good way to start. Get to know the market, get an idea of what the vehicle is selling for, with the spec you want, and then decide what you think is fair and how much you're willing to pay (in total and in weekly/monthly payments). If you at least start with that bit of knowledge, it can't hurt.
posted by sardonyx at 8:18 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

> would love to go into a coma and have someone do this for me

There are businesses that pre-negotiate lower prices on cars: Costco, AAA, American Express, and Walmart are the most well-known.
posted by davcoo at 8:21 AM on April 17 [11 favorites]

Nicole Cliffe actually wrote a great piece about this for the Toast a few years back, and we recently used this exact method to get a new car for my wife. It worked great, requires virtually no in-person interaction, and we ended up right around TrueCar's "Great Price". So I strongly recommend this.
posted by protocoach at 8:22 AM on April 17 [24 favorites]

I had good luck with the following approach as a young single female, first time I bought a new car ever, and I recommend it if you live in a populated enough area that there are multiple dealerships selling the type of vehicle you want. You also have to know what kind of vehicle you want down to a pretty specific level, for it to work. Don't try to do this if you are still at the stage of test driving different cars and comparing.

1. Decide what kind of car you want in detail. Make, model, year & mileage if not brand new, color, "upgrade package" - when I did this I said Toyota Prius C, most basic model ("1"), no upgrades, whatever color.

2. Look up the cost of that vehicle online (using Edmund's, TrueCar, Kelly Blue Book) and get an idea of what you are willing to pay. Based on that price and your budget for a down payment, go get an auto loan approval from your local/regional bank or credit union. Get something in writing showing the terms of the loan you were approved for so you can bring it with you to the dealership.

3. Email every dealership selling that type of car within a reasonable travel distance of your house and explain specifically what car you are looking for along with the fact that you already found financing on your own. TELL THEM YOU ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN COMMUNICATION OVER EMAIL AND YOU WILL NOT DISCUSS YOUR PURCHASE ON THE PHONE. You are entertaining offers from different dealerships for the specific car, but only by email. If you feel weird being demanding about this add a line saying you are unable to answer the phone due to work and this is the best way to reach you.

4. Let them reply...some will write back over email, but others will call you; send those to voicemail and take them out of the running immediately. The people who wrote back over email will let you know what is in stock. Get them to offer some kind of price in writing before you schedule a test drive; explain that you are not able to test drive everything you are offered, only the one or two left that are competitive in price, so if they won't offer any kind of price you aren't coming in. Feel free to bluff if you need to.

5. Go with the place that offers you the best price and is easy to communicate with. I ignored all the dealerships that called me multiple times, and I'm glad I did because I don't think they were calling over and over to offer me a secret low price they were unable to send by email!

When I did this I was in the NYC metro area, I contacted I think 6 or 7 Toyota dealerships both in NY and NJ, and I ended up getting a great deal from a place about 12 miles from my house in Queens involving no high pressure sales tactics, because I knew what I would pay walking in there. The sales guy also seemed to appreciate that he saved himself time by replying to my email and giving me info beforehand so it was a quick process to actually do the transaction, rather than me coming in and spending my whole morning test driving or going back and forth over things.
posted by zdravo at 8:23 AM on April 17 [17 favorites]

I recently took a big chunk of savings and decided to pay for a car with cash. So I knew exactly how much I wanted to spend right away. I knew the brand of car I wanted (a Mazda), so I looked up what I could get for the amount of money I was willing to spend. Having the cash in-hand (as it were) helped a lot, because I was able to say, "I cannot go a penny over $X, including all the add-ons you want me to buy, so we have to make sure the final check I give you is for $X or less." The salespeople I spoke to still tried to get the price up, but I was very willing to walk away from that because I literally didn't have more money saved for a car than what I had saved.

To finance, I'd figure out the payments you're comfortable with (less any trade-in and/or deposit you'll make) and build out the price of the car you want to spend from there. And then don't move from that number. If you want to try to be a bit more "flexible," you could start with a lower number and then "let" the salespeople talk you up to the price you wanted.

The main thing I learned (mostly from my sister-in-law, who is the best price negotiator I know) is to be able to walk away and stay away if they won't meet your price. They want to sell you the most they can, but most salespeople want to sell you SOMETHING more than NOTHING.
posted by xingcat at 8:35 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I will vouch for the method that protocoach references from Nicole Cliff - I started my last new car buying process by just going into the dealership and talking with the salesman for 1-1/2 hours; I ended up walking away without buying anything. That whole episode put me off buying my car for a couple of months, then I tried the Nicole Cliff method. I emailed 4 dealerships and like zdravo, ended up with the best deal at the dealership closest to my house. Half of the paperwork to close the deal was done before I even entered the dealership and the whole process took less time than my initial (irritating) contact with the first salesman. I gave the link to my uncle, who reported similar success in buying his new car.
posted by sarajane at 8:44 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I came here to make sure the Nicole Cliffe piece got linked, because it's fantastic.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:51 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Ok, so I'm introverted and conflict-averse, but I LOVE negotiating car prices. It is great entertainment.

I have done a version of the Nicole Cliff and zdravo method. Only email. No phone. For this to work, you do have to know exactly what you want - year, trim options, etc. If you don't care about color that can help because you will have more options. Also initially you ONLY discuss price, not financing, not trade in, not anything else. If they ask what you are looking for you say you want the best price.

The key is that once you get prices from several dealers, you take the best offer, email it to the others that aren't the best, and ask if they will do better.

This is so fun because you are playing the dealers off against each other. Usually when you do this they start freaking out - but it's all by email, so you can handle the freakout. Seriously, if you can deal with a fighty metafilter thread, you can do this. I have had dealers tell me that it is impossible that anyone would offer me such a low price on the vehicle I wanted, and that whatever dealer told me that must be lying. Whatever, ha ha sucker. In my experience one or two will undercut the original best price, then you have a good deal.

I have been advised that doing this near the end of the calendar quarter or month can help because the dealers are trying to hit incentives. I don't know if that is true.

So once you have your deal, you should talk on the phone with the dealer (once!) to make an appointment to get the car and go over the deal. You tell them by email or phone that if anything changes when you are there in person then you will not get the vehicle. My experience was that there was always a small change or bit of missing information - for example, one time they said that the price we had negotiated required financing with them, even though I had told them I would use my credit union financing. I decided I was ok with that small change. But if it was something bigger, I would have walked.

You can do this!
posted by medusa at 8:58 AM on April 17 [6 favorites]

Seconding that there are the services like Costco that will do a bunch of the negotiation for you. You will not get the best deal through them but you can save a lot of time and frustration.

If you do the negotiation yourself, per the Cliffe article, never do it on the phone, keep everything in writing. If you give them a phone number, they will call incessantly, even if you tell them not to. I gave them a throwaway Google Voice number that didn't forward to anywhere.

I don't understand how financing works with negotiating.

In my recent experience with Subaru, it made no difference. It may be that my credit is good enough that they're not incentivized to push their financing at me, as they're not going to make a lot of money on it but if you're in the profitable zone they'll cut you a better deal on the car if you sign up for their financing.
posted by Candleman at 9:00 AM on April 17

My intention has always been to finance through my credit union, but looking at the dealer's website, they seem to actually have better interest rates than are listed on the credit union site.
If you have good credit, you might be able to talk to the credit union and get a better rate than they are advertising. Then you can take that rate to the dealer and ask them to beat it. If they can only tie, I would be inclined to stick with the credit union unless the dealer offers more actual incentives besides the interest rate and not just free car washes.
posted by soelo at 9:15 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Financing in regards to negotiation;

The main trick car dealerships will do is that they don't talk price, they talk monthly payments.

That is because what may sound like a small monthly payment difference ends up being a few thousand dollars over the long term.

Put a spreadsheet together for yourself. the general formula for the monthly payment is:
A = the monthly payment.
P = the principal
r = the interest rate per month, which equals the annual interest rate divided by 12
n = the total number of months

Financing will depend on the dealership and the car company. It's good to find out if the certain brand you are interested in is running any deals (i.e. advertised 1.9% financing, for example).

BUT - you should look to see if it is only offered for particular terms (like 0% is usually only available if you finance over 36 months.. if you do 48 months, it's 1.9% or higher).

Also - dealerships will many times not offer you the advertised rate automatically - so you have to do your homework. Two different dealerships for the same car brand may have different rates - and you can play that against each other. But be prepared to walk away before they run after you.

A group of us at work all happened to have to buy cars around the same time. The experiences were wide and varied. The Subaru dealership by me I know uses Chase, and I know they stick to the rules, so I had less to worry about going in. I just made sure I knew how much $10 increase or decrease in monthly payment would cost me on the total price.

The 2 guys next to me, though, were buying other brands elsewhere and ended up showing the dealerships the nationally advertised rates, and still had to threaten to buy somewhere else before they came back and said "Oh, the manager said they'll make a special exception for you."

It's all a big fake game.

I found the best online price, dropped it $2,000, went to my local dealership, did all the negotiation, then showed them the lower price elsewhere and said "Your deal isn't the same price as this."

They ended up matching it, inclusive of fees and taxes. It's all the preparation, and not letting them confuse you by throwing out all these monthly payment options. They know the math in their head - and don't expect you to be able to follow along, or to be too uncomfortable to stop them and show them the calculation yourself.

So, TL? Do the math ahead of time, with all the options you want, and what you are willing to give up, and don't budge. Also, be careful if they agree a monthly payment, but change it from 48 to 60 months - that's a classic trick and ends up costing you thousands.
posted by rich at 9:27 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I did most of my last car purchase via e-mail. It definitely cuts down on the awkwardness, but one part of the transaction that seems unavoidable is when you go to the dealership to go over all your paperwork, they'll send you in to their "purchasing manager" or something like that. This person seems to have two jobs. The first is going over the paperwork to make sure that the salesperson didn't do anything stupid (check out the This American Life episode about a car dealership and you'll see that the salesperson is ultimately working against both you AND the dealership), and second, to try and sell you on an extended warranty. DON'T DO IT! You can tell the salesperson that you don't want it, but that sales manager is still probably going to give you the pitch. For my last purchase, I told the person that I was confident in the quality of the car I bought, and she should be, too. That was the end of that discussion.
posted by jonathanhughes at 9:33 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]

n-thing email. On my last go-round I realized that by walking into a dealership in person without having something setup ahead of time made the salesperson think they had some kind of strong negotiating position - because to them a big part of the battle is getting you into their dealership at all. I was letting them have the first part of the negotiation process for free.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 10:22 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

The email routine is good because it takes a lot of the stress and pressure out of the exchange. Here's something else that can help: they need you more than you need them. Or you can take the confrontation out of it altogether and start from a point of agreement -- they want to sell a car and you want to buy one. All you have to do is find the way there that works for the both of you.

You can also take some practical steps to remove anything that can be used to pressure you into making a hasty decision.
  • If your lease is set to expire, contact the leasing company and ask to extend it on a month-to-month basis. This will buy you time to shop around without pinning you down to a long term lease.
  • Get the financing commitment from your credit union -- it's not "official" until you buy the car. Having financing in hand before you start gives you one less thing to stress over, it helps set a budget, and it will help you evaluate a competing finance offer from the dealer. You can decide to use the dealer's financing later, after you have settled on the car price.
  • Get the trade-in value of your current car (yes, even if it's a lease). Carmax will evaluate your car and give you a guaranteed price they will pay for the car that's good for a few weeks -- whether or not you ultimately sell it to them. If this exceeds your payoff or purchase amount on your loan or lease, you have equity in the car that you can apply to your down payment (or put in your pocket). You now have a firm market value for your used car you can use to evaluate any offer from your new car salesperson.
  • Research the car's market price (Edmund's, Truecar, etc). I'm skeptical of the accuracy of these tools, but at least you'll know if the number the salesperson offers is completely outlandish. It's hard for a buyer to know how much "room" a dealer has to negotiate because we aren't privvy to incentives offered to the dealer by the manufacturer.
  • If you aren't happy with the deal offered, you don't have to take it.
Good luck and don't worry! You got this.
posted by notyou at 10:46 AM on April 17

Strongly recommend going through the "internet sales" division of the dealership/s you're talking to, and also talking to multiple dealerships. Ask them what the best price is they can give you on (car type). That way you don't have as much effort sunk in to any one place, it's easier to compare different places without having to drive for hours and wait, and it's easier for you to walk away if they aren't willing or able to negotiate. It just makes it much less painful.

I disagree with zdravo about deciding exactly what car you want in detail first. Often dealerships are incentivized to move cars that have been on their lot for a long time, so you can get a better deal if you're willing to take a weird combination of trim packages, etc. Just don't let them convince you the extra features are "worth" $sticker - the key question is what they're worth *to you*, and so if you don't care about, say, a roof rack then remember you're doing them a favor by taking it off their hands.

This is the big advantage of email negotiation: it gives you time to think and to do research on the side before you respond.
posted by Lady Li at 11:26 AM on April 17

Clarification on the above: ask the dealerships *over email* (or over their web form). In addition to time to think, negotiation over email means you aren't stuck at a dealership: it's much easier to "walk away" from an email thread than from a dealership where it took you half an hour to get there, half an hour more to get a salesperson's full attention, and has been another hour of arguing about price and feature sets.
posted by Lady Li at 11:30 AM on April 17

Here is what I did:

There are three numbers that matter to you -- Down Payment, Amount of Monthly Payment, Number of Monthly Payments. Basically, this method boils down to telling them two of those three numbers and only letting them change one of them. It gives you a really clear position to compare numbers from, rather than having to figure out the total cost of the car for a bunch of different scenarios that they might offer.

I had a fair chunk of money set aside, some or all of which I could use as a down payment on a car. Because finance rates from dealers are pretty minuscule, I was also fairly flexible on how much I financed of the car, though I had a rough idea of how many payments and how much they were likely to be based on knowing my approximate price range and down payment.

So I decided on a couple of different cars I was willing to buy that were similar in advertised price (Honda Civic EX, Mazda something or other that I forget because I didn't buy it).

I said to each of the two dealers. "I want to buy an X car. If I make payments of $250 a month for 36 months, what would the down payment be?"

This is the opposite of how car dealerships normally try to work this, they start with prices and show you schedules and work out payments and financing and bamboozle you with numbers and grids and squares. They may even argue that they can't do this calculation -- which is bullshit. They may personally not know how to, because they usually use pre-calculated tables, but it can certainly be done.

The important thing is, it means you are negotiating on only one number. You don't care how much the car "costs". You don't care what the financing rate is. Because, really, what does it matter to you *how* the salesman structures the deal? Do they get more money by selling me the car for less and charging me more for financing rather than ? Fine, go ahead, I don't care. Does their commission work out better if they give me 0% financing on a slightly pricier car? I also don't care.

I know I am going to be paying whatever number they give me as a down payment plus 36 payments of $250, so the only thing that matters to me is the down payment number.

You could use this technique to play dealers against each other as explained in lots of car buying guides, and which seems like a really good idea. I didn't do that, but you probably should.

I just took the numbers I received from the dealers -- who knew I was looking at other cars at other dealers and used them to make a decision. Did I like the Honda $1.8K more than I liked the Mazda? Yes? Okay, I bought the Honda.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:36 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]

One point I didn't see mentioned above: when you're actually at the purchase stage and signing the papers you must scrutinize those very carefully. It's all too easy for the dealership to agree to terms then add something in semi-hidden in the final papers.

I went to buy a Honda Civic, and fortunately took a friend who'd worked as a car salesman. After negotiating the price & terms I wanted, the final papers came back with an extra $1,000 hidden in them which my friend spotted. When he pointed that out the extra was removed, but otherwise I'd have been screwed.
posted by anadem at 1:18 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I am also negotiation-averse, and care less about getting the very best possible price than about getting a reasonable price based on my research into the make/model I want, and the best financing terms I can get. I bought my first car at CarMax and second (last month!) at a local "no haggle" dealership and was very happy with both experiences.

You still have to be prepared, though, for all the little add ons they want to stick in the contract. Extended warranty, maintenance package, gap insurance -- just keep saying "no, thank you" to all of it. This article really helped me feel confident that I didn't need or want any of it.
posted by tinymojo at 1:51 PM on April 17

Truecar pricing is not considered the "best" anymore. Take the pricing you get off there with a grain of salt.

Also, contrary to what the Nicole Cliffe article says, car dealers absolutely can and will go lower than invoice price.
posted by LoveHam at 1:59 PM on April 17

Car buying is not as painful as it used to be. Decide on the model of car that you want, and then just email the internet sales managers at all of the local dealerships. You will get a variety of responses. You can go from there. They will try to get you to make a decision right away, but take your time.
posted by Ostara at 2:08 PM on April 17

I'm not a negotiator either, and have willingly, gladly, gleefully purchased our last few vehicles at "No haggle" dealers after our first attempt at buying a car from a regular dealership. It literally took us all day long just to settle on a price, and they tried to fuck us a couple different ways, and we had to front on the sales guy and he had to get like six different managers, and it was a fucking process.

The no haggle place was a goddamn waking dream compared to a regular dealership. In those instances we knew what car we wanted, and just ended up buying a car in one afternoon. We ended up paying a 'little bit more' than we would've negotiating, to us, it was worth it.

I have had friends that do the internet-back-and-forth between two dealerships. That seems palatable, but if you can stand not getting THE BEST deal, and you have a budget lined out, and can get a car in that budget, I would highly suggest skipping the haggling skill, and just get one at a no haggle joint.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:52 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I came in to suggest more or less exactly what medusa already did upthread. I recently leased a new car and it was relatively painless* because I got an offer I was happy with via email before even setting foot in the dealership.

I started with a monthly payment budget and worked back from there (rich's comment about monthly payments is spot on. It's a shell game and after you've agreed on a price with sales, the finance guy will have a whole patter to try and get you to add fancy floor mats/rust protection/whatever for a few more dollars a month here and there, never disclosing the actual overall cost over time) but I was going into this specifically for a predictable monthly payment after more than a decade of repair roulette with old, used cars.

In my case, because I decided to lease, I focused on monthly payment as my criteria for a deal I'd be satisfied with. That's not to say I didn't pay attention to how that payment figure was arrived at; I spent a lot of time plugging numbers into online lease calculators to try and see how dealerships were arriving at their advertised deals. It's also useful for playing with numbers to get a ballpark sense of how a down payment/taxes and fees/etc affect the monthly payment amount. RE: financing, you can always ask your credit union if they can match an advertised rate from a dealer (although I think dealer price incentives are often contingent on financing through the dealer.)

Once I was pretty sure what kind of car I wanted (model + trim), I spent some time poking around the web sites of dealers in a 75 mile-or-so radius; this was good for getting a sense of a broad sense what was a fair price for that car, and also finding particularly good offers. I found a nice deal at a dealer 90 minutes away, took a screenshot, and emailed it my local dealer and asked "Do you have any offers comparable to this, and if so could you tell me what the actual cost would be inclusive of *all* sales tax/registration fees/title/dealer fees?" and they very quickly came back with a better offer than the other dealership.

Also 2nding the "no-haggle" route if there are any such dealers near you. Throughout the whole process I was really lamenting the demise of Saturn; the only other 'new car' experiences I had years ago were with Saturns, and it was just so much more pleasant; "Here is the car. Here is what it costs. Here is what it will cost per month based on factors X/Y/Z." The no-haggle route is definitely all about how comfortable you are with "Getting a deal but feels fair and is totally worth not having to deal with haggling BS even if it's not the rock-bottom best price I could get if I were a ruthless shrewd negotiator and had limitless hours to spend shopping deals and playing dealers against each other."

*When I went to the dealership to test drive the car I wound up leasing, there was a brief uncomfortable moment where the sales manager hit me with a significantly higher quote. When I reminded them about the email quote they honored it without any further hassle. Even if it was an honest oversight it felt a little sleazy, because who wants to be reminded that the saleperson/customer relationship is fundamentally adversarial?
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 7:26 AM on April 18

I am seconding the Costco car buying experience; we've bought two cars through them and had good experiences. The most recent price was $100 cheaper than the cheapest quote we were able to obtain over the internet. We didn't end up buying a Toyota, but the local Toyota dealer gave us a bunch of prices over the phone when I called. (Prius? $X under invoice. Camry Hybrid? $Y under invoice). This was very unlike my first car buying experience which involved driving to like five dealerships in a state of increasing rage.

Note that Costco pricing does change; I think I was getting good prices because I was calling towards the end of the year (way past when the new model year was released). Also I was apparently trying to buy a hybrid sedan in a time of low gas prices, so I think things were a little easier.

And like everybody else said, the finance guy at the end tried to get me to buy like five warranties and was kind of pushy.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:34 AM on April 18

Oh - one thing to be aware of if you're considering the AAA car buying program route. I didn't wind up using it, but I did sign up through the AAA web site to look into it; they require an email address and a phone number. What I didn't realize was that clicking on any of search results from the AAA app would lead to my phone and inbox getting blown up with multiple calls and emails from a dozen different desperate Shelley Levene sales drones.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 8:36 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

I bought my last two cars on Carvana and will never mess with haggling again. The experience was truly a joy and both cars are great. You can return a car to them, no questions asked, anytime in a 7 day "test drive" period. I even did my trade in and financing through them. The entire experience was easy and hassle free. I couldn't be more pleased honestly. I think there are a couple of internet car companies like this now and they are wonderful for those of us who can't stand the negotiating and back and forth at a traditional dealership. Oh, they also delivered my car to my front door and even took away my trade in.
posted by roadrunner9 at 7:54 AM on April 19

Some dealerships do fixed pricing; the pricing they list online is the price, and they do not negotiate. Places that do this should also be willing to take a trade in without selling you another car; the price is the price.

That said, after you buy, they may try to sell you on a maintenance/warranty package, with various levels that are hard to understand. I would probably say no there, and be prepared to say no ahead of time.

Which means the price you saw online is the price you get, which takes a lot of the utter bullshit outta buying a car.

Otherwise, go through the "internet sales" route, they'll quote you a price without you ever showing up in person, and same thing holds; make sure that's the price on the contract, probably say no to all third-party-extended-warranties, and it still takes some of the bullshit out of it.
posted by talldean at 5:48 PM on April 22

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