The car buying strategy that I hear recommended most often is to
- decide on which car you want, down to all the options
- e-mail (or previously fax) the fleet managers of 3-5 local dealers, and ask for their best deal
- pit each of them against each other until you have the “best” best deal
- go in, sign paperwork, drive away happy
Sounds easy, but in practice seems like it might be tedious and time-consuming, not to mention uncomfortable for those that don’t like to haggle. However, I keep hearing mentions of CarBargains, run by a non-profit, will do all the negotiating for you if you pay them $200 ($175 if you are a subscriber to Consumer CHECKBOOK magazine).
Seems like it might just be worth it, but I haven’t heard any in-depth testimonials that aren’t on their site. Their press section includes several positive reviews from such magazines as Money and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. They also offer a money-back guarantee if you can beat their price “without using their information”, although that would be hard to prove…
Has a reader out there actually used CarBargains recently? If you’d be willing to share your experience in detail, please contact me directly. I’d like to write a post with detailed price quotes and model information. If you participate and agree to having me interview you, I have some ideas for compensation.