We love hearing about the successful car purchases that our members are able to make. Their stories perfectly illustrate that anyone can use YAA to save time buying a car while also getting a fair deal. Even better, our members often share that they’ve become expert negotiators, thanks to our tips and their hard work!
Today, we’re going to take a look at a recent success story from one of our members, Dana, to see how she used everything that she’s learned to find a great car at a great price.
Background: Research Pays Off
Dana was in the market for a Honda CRV in the Touring trim level. She found a nearby dealership that had a large used inventory with five or six 2020 Touring models that were essentially identical; each of them had less than 1,000 miles and a fair price.
One of the vehicles had more miles and was, therefore, cheaper, so that’s the car that Dana picked. She ran our Market Price Report on the vehicle and discovered that it had been on the lot for over 200 days. Our Market Price Report also showed an excellent negotiation score, along with a recommended offer price that was well within her range.
The dealership provided a free Carfax report that corroborated the information we provided, so she moved forward. Dana visited her credit union — which we always suggest — and obtained pre-approved financing. As a graduate of our Deal School, Dana felt prepared to head to the dealership.
At the Dealership: A False Start
When Dana arrived at the dealership, she was immediately approached by a salesperson. The vehicle she was interested in was found on the dealer’s lot (and was actually buried behind two other vehicles). Much to Dana’s surprise, all three cars had to be jump-started before they were ready to drive.
The test drive proceeded without issue, so it was time to talk numbers. Dana made it clear that she wouldn’t go over a certain price.
The salesperson returned with a quote that shocked Dana. Dana broke down each line for us:
“I did allow him to review each line item with me. The first line was the list price of the vehicle. The second line was $1.00 for a ‘free Lifetime Warranty.’ The third line was $1,299, which was the service inspection and reconditioning for the ‘free Lifetime Warranty.’ The fourth line item was $1,700, which was a package that included dents/dings/paint, roadside assistance, key fob replacement, and sanitization. So before they even added their $995.00 dealer fee, tax, title, and tag, the vehicle was now $3,000 more than listed.“
After they discussed each item in detail, Dana said she would absolutely not be paying that price. The salesperson removed some of the add-ons, but said they couldn’t remove the inspection and reconditioning fee, which was part of the “free” warranty. She refused to pay this fee.
The salesperson left and returned with the sales manager. They both talked to Dana, who felt like this was an intimidation tactic.
After discussing the numbers and having the dealer deny how long the car had been on the lot, Dana felt strongly that the salesperson and sales manager were only interested in negotiating up, not down. As such, she threw out an offer that she described as “ridiculous,” just to see what they would say. The sales manager said they couldn’t do that, and Dana left the dealership.
She still wanted a new Honda, so she headed home and kept shopping around. Her story shows that sometimes you have to say “no” and walk away. The best price might not always be at the first dealership you visit.
At the Dealership: Part Two
The day after the false start, Dana found an excellent used vehicle on a dealer’s website that was located two-and-a-half hours away. She reviewed the Carfax report, along with every picture and video available. She decided that it listed for a reasonable price.
Dana contacted the dealership and explained to the sales manager that she lived over two hours away, but that she’d be willing to make the drive. She told him that she already had her own financing and that the sales manager needed to come up with their best out-the-door price.
Fifteen minutes later, Dana had an offer in hand. The offer was actually $500 less than what we suggested in our Market Price Report. It looked great, so Dana headed off to the dealership.
When she arrived, a salesperson had already set the car aside for them, and they began running through the textbook sales tactics. Dana reported that the salesperson used some of the same word tracks she had learned about in Deal School, almost word for word.
Dana and her husband agreed that the car was a great purchase for an ideal price. It was a certified pre-owned Honda CRV EX-L. Even though it was a different year and trim than the Touring she had looked at when she visited the first dealership, she ended up saving $10,000 by leaving the first dealership and deciding on another car.
Dana reports that this car purchase was by far the easiest and least stressful purchase of her life. We love to hear it!
A Successful Purchase
We’re thrilled to hear that Dana had a much better experience at the second dealership. It sounds like it was worth taking a step back, visiting another dealership, and even buying a different car. Dana’s story shows us that it’s worth saying “no” when needed and that being flexible in your car choice can save you money. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Dana!