Success Story:  Michael

Success Story: Michael

Everyone loves a good success story. At YAA, we take great pride in giving our customers the knowledge and confidence they need when they’re buying a car.

Today, we’re going to meet Michael. Michael was in the market for a specific make and model of vehicle, but the only dealer in town wasn’t offering him a fair deal. Thankfully, Michael was a member of YAA, and the knowledge he gained enabled him to get his dream car without facing a nightmare at the dealership.

The Right Car at the Wrong Dealer

In the past, Michael had found it easier to lease his vehicles, which gave him the flexibility of a new car every few years. But one day, Michael fell in love with a vehicle model that was no longer available in new condition. So he decided to make the switch from leasing to buying a used vehicle.

Michael faced just one small problem: The vehicle of his dreams was only available at a particular dealership. But Michael was confident that he had the tools and know-how to get the best deal. Michael knew that the dealership had a $699 non-negotiable delivery fee, but he was willing to pay that price because he knew the dealer had a “no-haggle” policy.

Michael deliberately began his car-buying process by evaluating his trade-in. Michael had done his homework. He had shopped his trade-in around, getting online quotes from some of the major providers like we recommend, and eventually received one offer that was $2,000 more than the competition. Unfortunately, this dealer wasn’t so generous. They made an offer, but it was lower than almost any online offer Michael had received. What could he do?

Michael Came Prepared

Thankfully, Michael came prepared. As a member of YAA, Michael had been reviewing our materials and watching our videos to learn the vocabulary and tools to get his best deal. After becoming a member, he was able to perform his own analysis by running market reports, looking at reviews, and gaining the knowledge he would need before ever contacting a dealership.

Before he became a member of YAA, Michael felt confident in his knowledge of cars. But after investing time studying and reviewing our resources, Michael was amazed at the new depth of his knowledge.

Turning Knowledge Into Savings

Michael’s new knowledge came in handy now that he had entered the car-buying process. 

The Highest Trade-In Value

First, he told the dealership that one of their competitors had provided an offer on his trade-in that was $2,000 more than what they were offering.

The dealer agreed to match this quote if Michael could provide a scanned copy of the quote. Michael assured the salesperson that if they could match the price, he’d be willing to purchase the car that same day.

As a premium member you get access to our Valuations tool that is powered by Black Book. Become a member to get access. You can print the value of your vehicle to show the dealer.

True to their word, the dealer offered Michael a trade-in value that was even better than before, offering $2200 more than their initial quote. Michael had won his first battle, but the sales war was far from over!

The Lowest Interest Rate

Michael and the dealer worked out all the details of the trade and the car he wanted to buy. Michael knew that he had excellent credit, which would allow him to qualify for around 3% financing from his local bank. The dealer, on the other hand, offered a rate of 4.4%.

When Michael challenged this figure and asked for the buy rate, he noticed a change in the conversation. The dealer knew that Michael was not their average customer. They promised to “see what we can do.” Within an hour, Michael received a phone call from the dealer—this time offering him a rate of 2.4%. Michael wasn’t merely excited; he felt satisfied that his research had paid off!

Avoiding Expensive Add-Ons

That’s when the dealer offered a $40 discount on a Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) package. This, they assured him, would “only” raise his monthly payment by the slightest amount. Michael, however, saw through their sales tactic. When Michael requested the actual price of the service contract (and not just the monthly rate), he discovered that the dealer was trying to add on $6,000 worth of services and products.

Michael politely declined. Thanks to his membership at YAA, he had a quote for a VSC in the amount of $2,400.

Perhaps Michael said it best: “The true success and value of YAA is shown here. Completed the deal without an extra 2% interest and without $6,000 of add-ons because I was prepared. Got an extra $200 over the highest offer on my trade (and over $2k more than their original offer) because I asked them to beat it to get my business. I was comfortable enough to push back. I was ready so that I could get my Ray Shefska Stamp of Approval, I think that even working with a no-haggle dealer, I can get one here.”

Michael’s Story Can Be Your Story

Ultimately, Michael got his dream car, thanks to the knowledge he gained through YAA. Our online resources gave Michael the knowledge and confidence he needed to push back and get the best deal possible.

Michael’s story can be your story! No one likes feeling like they’re being taken for a ride at the car dealership. Before you contact a dealer, check out some of our resources. Consider becoming a member, like Michael, so that you can have the confidence to get your next vehicle at the price you deserve.

Success Story:  Mike C.

Success Story: Mike C.

We love hearing from our YAA members about their recent car deals. It’s always wonderful to see the ways they’ve used our solutions to negotiate and secure an excellent deal on their next car.

Today, we’ll take a look at a story from Mike C. about his recent car purchase. He used our solutions to expertly land a deal that he was extremely happy with. That’s what it’s all about. Let’s dive in!

Background:  A Thoroughly Researched Decision

Mike had a 2017 Buick Envision with a warranty that was about to expire. Not wanting to drive a car without a warranty, he started researching his options for buying a new car 8 months before he stepped foot on the lot at a dealership.

He discovered YAA on YouTube while researching car reviews. He was “instantly impressed” and began watching videos and taking notes. He even went through our Deal School.

After researching different options, Mike decided to pursue a new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited. Mike’s initial plan was to wait until the end of March (per Ray’s advice), but after noticing that his bid from Carvana for his Buick increased, he decided it was time to act.

Due to the chip shortage, used vehicle prices are rising fast. Become a member to get the latest prices on used cars powered by Black Book. Black Book is the guide many dealers use when valuing a trade-in.

Using our email templates, Mike reached out to eight dealerships in the area. Seven dealerships replied with out-the-door (OTD) prices. He then used the lowest of the eight OTD prices to negotiate with the other dealerships. Although he received a few excuses about why they couldn’t lower their price, he eventually heard back from one of the dealerships with a price that Mike considered to be fair.

According to Mike, “Your email templates were invaluable. They quickly identified the motivated dealers in the area.”

He printed off all of the documentation from us, along with his Carvana quote, and headed into the dealership.

At the Dealership:  Efficient and Effective

Mike had already negotiated the OTD price over email. When he arrived at the dealership, he verified all the numbers with the sales manager, and “Deal 1,” as Mike puts it, was done in minutes.

“Deal 2” was trading in Mike’s current vehicle, his Buick. Initially, the sales manager said he couldn’t even get close to the trade-in value that Mike wanted. Then, Mike showed them the Black Book numbers that we provided him in the Market Price Report, along with Carvana’s offer. With all of this evidence presented, the sales manager agreed to come up to $20,600, which was acceptable.

In the F&I Office: A Quick Decline

The “friendly but assertive” F&I manager struck out when he started to offer Mike different protection packages and vehicle service contracts. Mike simply said no. 

You don’t have to purchase a vehicle service contract at the dealership. See if a vehicle service contract is right for you.

He also verified that there was no early payment penalty on financing. The F&I manager said there was not a penalty, but that if he didn’t wait 90 days to pay off the loan, then it would result in a chargeback to the dealership.

Two hours after arriving, Mike and his wife drove away with a brand-new Hyundai Santa Fe.

An Easy, Yet Excellent Deal

Let’s evaluate Mike’s deal. He graciously provided us with all of the figures, which are:

  • MSRP was $40,395 + dealer add-ons (tint, nitro, wheel locks, pinstripe and more) at $1,767 for a total price of $42,162
  • Dealer sales price was $37,900, less $1,250 in Hyundai rebates
  • Doc fee of $150
  • TTL of $193
  • Sales tax of $1,084.82
  • Total OTD price was $38,077.82

Mike admits that there was probably room for improvement (and there always is), but he’s happy with the deal he received. He tells us that the deal he landed was as good as he could’ve hoped. Considering that the 2021 Santa Fe Limited had only been out for 2 months, Mike says he thinks that he got the best price possible.

We agree with Mike. It looks like he got a great deal. He used our tools to expertly find out all of the background information that he needed to negotiate. We especially like the way he utilized our email templates to get dealerships to negotiate against each other.

As Mike put it when reflecting on his transaction, “The power of knowledge cannot be denied. YAA access to days on lot, price history, and BlackBook values are info sources of immense importance. Your deal school is an awesome body of work and will help just about every auto consumer. Some of the content I already knew, but I learned so much more. Your email templates were invaluable. They quickly identified the motivated dealers in the area.”

“All considered, my wife and I are really, really happy. Thank you for the time and effort you saved us. The time spent watching your videos was well worth it, given the info and entertainment value. Thank you for the money saved. Thank you for making the whole buying process just about stress-free.”

Well done and congratulations, Mike! We hope you enjoy your brand-new Santa Fe Limited.

Have you learned something new about buying, selling, or trading in a car as a YAA member? Share your story with us!

Success Story:  Melissa

Success Story: Melissa

We love to hear success stories from the members at YAA. It’s great to see how people are putting our tools and information to use and securing excellent deals on their new purchases, sales, and trade-ins.

Today, we’re going to share a success story from Melissa. She doesn’t quite have her car in-hand due to the chip shortage, but she’s already secured a great price for her trade-in. 

We’ll go over how she researched her negotiation, pushed when the dealership wouldn’t budge, and how she feels about the entire transaction. Let’s take a look at how Melissa negotiated the process and what she learned along the way.

Background:  A Well-Researched Car Purchase

Melissa tells us that she started researching which car to buy in 2020, but that she only recently found YAA in early 2021.

One of the first things that she remembers learning from us was that she needed to negotiate her trade-in and new car purchase as two separate transactions. Prior to that, she never thought it would be important to separate the two, and since she was about to trade-in her car, she was happy to learn a new trick.

Do you have a vehicle to trade in? Read the full guide to trading in your car.

After she signed up for YAA and became familiar with our dashboard, Melissa began to use our “trade in valuation” tool powered by Black Book, the same valuation book dealers use.. She tells us that she immediately put that into good use, since she was working with several dealerships at the same time.

On one of our live streams, Melissa had her deal picked to go through an examination with our trade-in analyzer. This is a segment in our live streams where we pick a member’s deal and analyze it live.

During this stream, she learned about some pre-trade negotiation strategies. Melissa also benefited from another YAA member,  Larry R, who shared some insights into what the tax benefit would be if she traded her vehicle in versus selling it to Carvana or Vroom.

With all of these facts and figures in place, Melissa was ready to head to the dealership to complete some final negotiations on her trade-in. 

At the Dealership:  One More Push

Although she had done a lot of the legwork upfront via email, Melissa made an appointment to visit a car dealership to finalize selling her trade-in. She decided to try to get more value out of her trade-in. 

The salesperson was visibly upset, since they had already prepared the paperwork. As such, they were dismissive of her attempt to negotiate. They tried to push her to sign the documents and move along with the sale that had been negotiated via email.

She didn’t give in, however. Melissa made it clear that she knew used vehicle prices were skyrocketing due to the microchip shortage and that this wouldn’t stop anytime soon. She told them that she knew that car dealerships tend to make more money on used cars than new cars and it would be worthwhile for them to pay more for the trade-in. 

Her point was further cemented when she let them know that she had already received multiple quotes from online price books and other dealerships for her vehicle, so she knew what her trade-in was worth.

Having the trade-in value that was provided by Black Book, the same value the dealer was using, helped Melissa to understand the value she should be receiving for her trade-in. Her persistence paid off and the dealership ultimately caved in and gave her another $200 for her trade-in.

After the Fact:  A Deal Handled Perfectly

Melissa reported that on the same evening she traded her vehicle in, it showed up on the dealer’s website. The car dealership was asking for $3,690 more than what she received for it. Considering that a good part of that difference usually comes from reconditioning costs to prepare the vehicle for a new buyer, she was happy with the amount that she received from the deal.

Melissa is still waiting for her new car to be manufactured and shipped out. Unfortunately, the chip shortage has customers all around the world waiting for their cars to arrive. Melissa did not mention the make and model of the car that she’s buying, but we hope that she likes her new car when it comes in.

A Happy Member and a Trade-In Deal Negotiated Well

Melissa was very pleased with the value that she received for her trade-in. She’s grateful that she found our tools and was prepared to bring up the effect of the chip shortages at the dealership. 

In her opinion, she’s saved over $4,000 compared to what she would have paid without YAA. We’re glad you negotiated a great price on your trade-in, Melissa!

Success Story: Rich

Success Story: Rich

At YAA, we love to hear from our members about a great deal they’ve scored. It’s fun to see the ways that people are putting our solutions and knowledge to practical use to save some money!

Today, we’re going to highlight a story from Rich about the easy sale he was able to do because he reached out ahead of time to the dealership and did his research. Let’s see how he managed to secure a great deal on a brand-new lease.

Background:  An Ending Lease

The story begins when Rich took his leased van into the dealership for a service appointment. As he was leaving, one of the salespeople approached and asked if Rich wanted to get into a new car and out of their lease. 

Rich knew that he was approaching his mileage limit on his lease and didn’t want to pay for exceeding it. He was also aware of the semiconductor shortage and wanted to get into a new car before that shortage had a greater impact on the market.

Rich and the salesperson traded numbers. From his home, Rich started texting the salesperson about different vans after he ran them through the Market Price Report. Rich received several quotes before deciding on a 2021 Honda Odyssey Touring.

Before he went to the dealership, Rich secured several quotes for his car’s trade-in value from Carvana and Vroom. Securing these quotes helped Rich to point out to the salesperson what he would be able to get for his car at other locations. He knew that the dealership wanted his trade-in, so this was a perfect move to help him get the most value out of it.

You can get a trade-in value for your vehicle from within our app. Join YAA to gain access. Powered by Black Book, this value is used by dealers.

Once he had finalized the numbers with the salesperson, he was ready to head into the dealership to finalize the transaction and begin his next lease.

At the Dealership:  A Smooth Transaction

Unfortunately, Rich discovered that the color of Odyssey that he wanted would need to be brought in from another dealership, which had the potential to change some of the numbers. However, Rich noticed a burgundy Odyssey on their lot that had been there for over 100 days.

When Rich asked about the burgundy van, they said it would cost $300 more. Rich pushed back gently, and the salesperson returned from the sales manager with a $1,000 discount on the van. Pointing out the days on the lot seemed to have helped.

The rest of the transaction went smoothly. Honda had the highest offer for the old van, so Rich did the trade in there, instead of through Carvana or Vroom. Having those quotes in hand did help Rich to secure a higher trade-in value. Rich left with a 2021 Honda Odyssey Touring on a 36-month lease and he’s happy with the great deal he got.

An Outstanding Transaction and a Great Deal

Rich didn’t mention anything that happened in the F&I office, so we’re assuming that the negotiations went so well that it wasn’t worth mentioning.

As Rich said, “This was the first auto transaction where I felt I knew how to approach everything and what exactly to expect in the process.” He didn’t have to get into hardball negotiating and he still got a great deal, which is something we love to see.

Success Story: Dana

Success Story: Dana

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.

Know what fees you should & shouldn’t pay: Car Dealer Fees: What You Should Never Pay When Buying a Car

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!

Success Story: David Lott

Success Story: David Lott


We regularly receive comments and emails from YAA members in which they share how they use our solutions to help secure an excellent car deal. We like to highlight these stories to inspire other members like yourself!

Today, let’s take a look at the experience of our member, Dave Lott. We’ll talk about the deal he received, how he managed to make it happen, and his unique experience in the F&I office.

Background: A Knowledgeable Buyer

Dave’s email shows that he has been thoroughly paying attention to everything that we have to share! He was after a 2021 Honda Pilot EX-L, which isn’t a rare vehicle (even amidst the ongoing chip shortage), so he secured quotes from two competing dealerships.

With both quotes in hand, he began negotiations. Let’s see what happened when he went to the dealership that offered him the best deal.

At the Dealership: A Steep Discount

Once he arrived at the dealership, he wasted no time negotiating. Dave was well aware of the microchip shortage and was concerned that it might impact his ability to get a steep discount.

Thanks to his insider knowledge from YAA, Dave was able to secure a selling price that was 14% below MSRP, with the final out-the-door price 6.5% below MSRP. We’re quite thrilled to hear that Dave was able to secure such an excellent discount especially amidst these market conditions. It’s worth calling out the reason why Dave was able to get this dealer to come down on price as much as they did: he had a second dealer’s quote. We highly recommend (especially for new vehicles) getting two quotes from two dealerships and having them compete for your business. That’s what Dave did.

We’re also impressed that Dave got the dealership to include a complimentary three-year maintenance plan, with four of the oil changes upgraded to fully synthetic oil.

Dave told us that because he got such a great deal, he was worried that once he got to the F&I office, he would be hard-sold. Let’s see what actually ended up happening.

In the F&I Office: Just Say No

When a typical customer gets to the F&I office, it’s simply another round of negotiations and sales attempts from the F&I Manager. For Dave, the F&I Manager pulled out “the menu” filled with add-ons and simply asked, “Do I need to go over any of this with you?” Dave replied with a simple “No,” and they proceeded to the actual financing.

That is a testament to how knowledgeable the dealership staff knew Dave was!

When all is said and done, Dave walked out of the dealership with an out-the-door price that was 6.5% below MSRP with a 0% APR for 60 months financing — well done, Dave! We love to see YAA members getting great deals with the knowledge they’ve learned from our team! Thank you for sharing your story with us, Dave!

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