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Online Services Experiences (Carsdirect.com, Carwoo.com, etc.)

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  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    basically they can't gurantee the price quote.

    And, similiarly, you cannot be obligated to buy for more than the stated price.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • marynatormarynator Posts: 1
    Hi forum - I wanted to post my experience for others since I had read many reviews here when doing my research.

    After some trepidation, I decided to use carsdirect.com to buy a new 07 Honda Pilot (LX front wheel drive). The local dealership was full of smarmy salesmen who had just gotten to my last nerve (for instance, instead of taking my word as final, they started calling my husband! as if my decision was not firm enough- ARGH. And one of them actually quoted me a price that included an "11% sales tax" - what??? do they think I'm so stupid that I don't know that the state sales tax is 7.75%?)

    Anyway, I'd been window-shopping here at Edmunds for months, waiting for a low APR or some kind of special on the Pilot. I checked carsdirect and was flabbergasted by the price that showed up ($23,134 vs. Edmunds TMV of $26,000ish for my Southern California zip code). I immediately decided to give carsdirect a try- they clearly had access to knowledge about a short term special pricing on Honda trucks and SUVs that no one else had - including Edmunds).

    So I started the process at 11 pm on Thursday night. The next morning, I received an email and a phone call from my carsdirect liaison. He confirmed the model, trim, and color, and price that I wanted. He called back within an hour to say that he'd found the exact car from a dealership about 120 miles away. A few emails and phone calls later (to take car of tasks like copies of insurance, licenses, registrations, odometer readings on my trade-in, etc), he told me that my Pilot would be shipped to me (for FREE!) on a specific day and time.

    Then the weekend hit - I admit I was worried. The entire process was utterly surreal. I had done nothing more than email an "I agree" to Carsdirect. I had not written a check nor made any kind of deposit. Was my car really going to show up? My carsdirect person did not work on the weekend so I could not call him and confirm that a car was on the way. Meanwhile, I knew the special pricing was going to expire on the following Monday. If it all fell through, I was going to have to return to the dealership to get a Pilot.

    But Monday rolled around and I was able to confirm my purchase with my carsdirect person. Also, the dealership that was actually selling me the car (via carsdirect) called to try to sell me an extended warranty. That was when I really knew that I had actually purchased a vehicle!

    Tuesday, the delivery day, arrived- and so did my Pilot! Right on time. It was shiny from being recently detailed, full of gas, and had all of three miles on it. The driver unloaded my Pilot and loaded my 12-year-old Civic (with 140,000 miles and a big dent in the side- did I mention that I got exactly what I wanted out of that trade-in?). The driver, an amiable retired car mechanic who was outsourced by the dealership, walked me through the paperwork. 45 minutes later, he left. That was that.

    I won't be going to a dealership again if I have the option of buying a car online. This was EASY. And I saved almost $3K. The price never changed from what I initially saw at the carsdirect website. There were NO extra fees or brokers' costs. Carsdirect found me the financing I wanted at the rate that I expected. They also took care of my trade-in.

    There were just three things I'd advise a consumer to watch out for:
    1) the carsdirect salesperson is not a car expert. S/he is merely the broker. Don't expect the zeal and/or knowledge of a dealership salesperson from a carsdirect person. For me, this was welcome.
    2) The carsdirect salesperson is working with a checklist of items - get her/him to give you this list upfront. Several times, I'd complete a "step" only to be told something like, "and now we need you to email copies of yours and your husband's licenses and insurance cards to us." Well, that can be difficult if my 6-month-old is crying and my husband is at work. It would have been much easier if I'd known to have those things ready ahead of time.
    3) Be very clear about your down payment and your financing terms. My carsdirect person didn't ask me how much I wanted to put down or how long I wanted my loan term to be. I got the feeling that he assumed I'd be putting down nothing and okay with a 60-month loan. Luckily, I had read online reviews that strongly advised others to be proactive about this very issue. So I did say exactly how much I wanted to put down and then I said what I wanted my loan term to be.

    Other than that, I'd recommend carsdirect to anyone. I should close by saying that I did take the carsdirect low price to two other local dealerships. They came within $600 bucks of it. But then they wanted to hassle me about my trade-in. In general, they fed me sob stories about commissions and all that... who has the time for all that excessive emotional labor???? Not me. But, just in case carsdirect did fall through, I wanted to have a back-up plan. So I had the dealerships email me their quotes. That made me feel a lot better over that long weekend when I was unable to talk to my carsdirect person.

    Mary
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 854
    ...I'd like to echo (albeit less comprehensively) Mary's words vis-a-vis CarsDirect.com.

    My initial e-mail was quickly acknowledged the next day. I then faxed my driver's license/proof of insurance/$500 deposit to CD.

    A few days later, a brand new AV6 6M was mine. Like Mary, I found the dealer was sort of a pain. For example $2800 (ultimately modified to $1800)..........for a HondaCare Extended Warranty. No way.

    Much later I went online and for about $585 Hondacura.com sent me an EW (6y80k) from upstate New York.

    CD is OK in my book.

    ...cheers....

    ..ez..
  • montalvomontalvo Posts: 52
    As should be apparent from reading the experiences in this forum, "your experience may vary" is an appropriate caution. In reference to some of jag17's conclusions about CD, I'd offer my experiences. I've bought my last two cars thru CD, a 2000 Lexus and a 2005 Jaguar; both are of the luxury type that jag17 says CD won't do well on. In general, my experiences were good ones and when I replace the Lexus later this year, I'll probably use CD again.

    I live in No. California and discovered that I could save over a grand by buying in L.A. Since I travel there several times a year to visit friends and family, it's actually almost a convenience to buy the car there. With the first purchase, buying in LA was actually suggested by the CD rep as a way to bring the price down. But with the more recent purchase, the dealer told me that they'd have to have a local address before they could sell me a car; apparently the dealers got fed up with "geographic shoppers" like me. It still wasn't a problem because I gave them my friend's address and they still allowed me to register the car at my home address.

    The 2000 delivery was amazing. Sales rep picked us up at the airport and drove us to the dealership. He gave us a great overview of the car on the way and then made it clear that if we didn't want the car for ANY REASON, we could walk out the door because he was going to get his commission from CD regardless whether we changed our mind or not.

    The 2005 purchase involved more of the typical dealer-like shenanigans. "Gosh, sorry, but I can't find your car without a nav system." I pushed back, hard. "OK, we'll give you the nav system at dealer cost." I agreed but then, "Oops, the car we found has a dealer-installed walnut trim package and it'll be an extra $500." I pushed back, real hard this time. After a supposed talk with the manager, "OK, OK, we'll eat the cost of that." The day before we picked up the car, "Hey...good news! We just found another car WITHOUT that walnut trim you didn't want so you'll get the car just the way you wanted it!"

    I suspect that some of the variations between the dealer experience may well have been what you'd find anyway between Lexus (consumer-friendly) and Jaguar (typical dealer slimeballs). I reported my dissatisfaction on the bait-and-switch tactics to CD following my purchase.

    Hope this helps provide another perspective on CD.

    Bob
  • I have a question for the Host of this Forum: if someone has concerns or just wants to hear about one of the partners of Edmunds, such as Carsdirect.com, is directing such persons to threads that are dated from 1999 and 2000 helpful? In fact, this being 2007, might that information even be currently WRONG?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,431
    carsdirect is a partner of edmunds? do you have a source for this? i'd be interested in reading about it.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    It might, but we do like to keep conversations for historical purposes, even if only for entertainment. Seriously, if someone thinks that every bit of info in the Forums posted in 1999 is still true today, then I don't know how to help that person. For example, in our "post your local gas prices" discussion, I doubt that anyone looks at posts from 1999 and thinks, "Hey, great! I can buy gas in Newark, NJ for $1.35/gallon!" today.

    We do re-start discussions once the number of posts reaches an unwieldy number, but just over 700 posts in 8 years? Nah. Readers are welcome to start perusing posts at whatever point suits them.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • tmxltmxl Posts: 1
    I just purchased a Highlander 07' through CD last week. A good process with a minor glitch that caused one day delay. I am happy about it. I live in N. Cal if it makes any difference.

    7 years ago I bought one through CarOrder.com, same concept. The difference is CD is making money while CarOrder threw in $$$ per transaction.

    Just a data point.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    I googled CarOrder.com and it went directly to AutoNation???
  • wassupwassup Posts: 3
    My experience was not good. Wanted to buy a Honda Pilot EX-L RES. My first contacts with CD went well ...they responded very quickly, nice conversation and no pressure to sell. I described exactly what I wanted, she sent me info, forms to fill etc. She confirmed they had a car in stock. Then, after 2 days .... silence. I called the sales rep to ask what was going on and she said "oh, we couldn't find the car, sorry. Can't help you. I sent you an email yesterday". I asked her to re-send her note but nothing came through to me!
    I was disappointed. Clearly she didn't send anything back to me and didn't want to. Besides, what prevented them from calling me directly?
    Overall, not a pleasant experience. I won't be going back to them anytime soon.

    However, this story DOES have a happy ending. I got a great deal from a local Honda dealer who matched the CD's 'target price' and more!
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Good job staying on your P's and Q's with this set up, and for ignoring the dealership's attempts to sell you what you don't want. I was reading up on CarsDirect lately, and saw where they drive your vehicle to your house on a flatbed, and take your car away after unloading your new one. THAT's got to be something to see, and would actually make buying fun again!

    Women have to really be strong when it comes to dealerships; this is why I'd just as soon not deal with them. They truly think you're stupid and dare you to get mad at them. Evil. Anyway, thanks for the detail on your purchase, you bought a good brand of car that's not likely to give you any trouble soon. I'm adding this to the information bank of alternatives to traditional car purchasing.

    Frankly, I'd use bank or credit union financing over anything the Internet or the dealer had to offer. I'd like a service like that where I could say, I've got the cashier's check ready to fill in, get me my car. Seems like a lot of potential problems stem from things that aren't related to buying the car, such as servicing the car and financing the car. But I think financing should be done before the search even begins, just like for a house.
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    I saw that same deal on the pilot it was excellent. Fraid CD doesnt have that deal anymore though. Now that I am looking.
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    First place I go is carsdirect to get a reference on a price. I also check invoice very closely including any rebates.

    But I have not used it yet. Since I seem to be able to beat the prices on toyotas localy by about 500-750 bucks less then CD. Remember CD marks up the prices and some dealers just want to unload more cars at lower prices. But CD is great reference.

    One thing, I haven't read the agreement at CD but I am assuming that when you have the car delivered to the dealership they charge the dealer fee which is usually about $600.00 on top of the price you deal with. Or does CD include all fees in their price?

    Also if you go pick up the car and it has a scratch or something cosmetic how do you get that repaired/replaced etc. Does the dealer deal with it?
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,553
    Just for laughs I looked up the price of a car I'm interested in on both Carsdirect and Edmunds. I was surprised to see that Carsdirect's target price is $1400 less than Edmunds TMV.

    Is the target price just pie in the sky or can they really get your car for that price? In this case the price was $700 less than what CD said was invoice.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • rickracerickrace Posts: 1
    After buying four cars through CarsDirect, we have had a miserable experience with this company. From the time my wife contacted CarsDirect, it has taken 2 months to get the car she wanted. Granted, the color/combination was hard to come by, but the communication with the "customer service representative" was a joke. Finally, when we went to pick up the car, the dealer low-balled on the trade-in, despite what we were told from the CarsDirect representative. This so-called "good deal" ended up being more than we probably could have bargained for from a dealer. After four otherwise satisfactory dealings with this company, I cannot recommend it any longer to family and friends.
  • I just bought a wonderful Subaru Legacy through CarsDirect, but there was no advantage in it. Initially, the car price they quoted me was $2000 less than the dealer quote, but by the time of sale, it was the same price. Also, even though CarsDirect graciously offered to deliver the car (the dealer was 75 miles away), by the time the car was delivered, the paperwork was wrong, due to the CarsDirect salesperson. Therefore, there was the hassle of phone calls and faxing, which could have been avoided if I were physically present at the dealer's and doing my own buying. I also did not have the advantage of salesperson showing me the workings of the car. It was basically dropped off. After this, I would have preferred going to the local dealer, 30 miles away and buying the car myself.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Initially, the car price they quoted me was $2000 less than the dealer quote, but by the time of sale, it was the same price.

    How's that? Carsdirect have a $2,000 doc. fee?
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,359
    They have really excellent mop and glo.
  • carchickycarchicky Posts: 1
    The CarsDirect Target price is only an estimated average of how much that particular vehicle is selling for in the zip code specified. The only price that should be taken into a literal context is the CarsDirect price. If you see a Target price, it's an indication that CarsDirect does not have access to that vehicle in your area. Try using a different zip code until you see a CarsDirect price. Target Price - CarsDirect price: 2 diff things. Hope this helps.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Cars direct can do nothing for you that you can't do for yourself with 30 minutes of research and a few emails. All you are doing with them is adding one more person in the mix with there hand out.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    True, but it is a very fast and easy way to get a starting point idea. I never use them, but do go to their site for a fast reference.
  • I requested a quote from Car Direct .com for Acura TL 2011. And they gave me a quote $2000 more than local Acura Dealership gave me. Honestly, I just don’t understand how it should help people.
  • Though I had been using CarsDirect and Edmunds to research car prices, it wasn't after I'd already been in to the dealer and had tried to negotiate a price did I ever realize CarsDirect was a broker site. I ended up logging in and using the site the night I got back from the dealer.

    I bought a new car thru CarsDirect last October. After having done all my research, I definitely saw that the CarsDirect price that came up for the make and features I wanted was at exactly the price my research had found was a "fair" price for the car. The dealer gave me the reasons they couldn't match the prices I had seen online, which I respected and understood.

    Though I was apprehensive about going thru CarsDirect, the process was as smooth and painless as I could ask for. The CarsDirect rep found my car 20 minutes after I talked to him! There were no fees requested whatsoever throughout the whole process. I did agree to use their financing -- they found a loan at exactly the same rate I had already been pre-approved for -- since I figured since they found the car for me, I would give them the business since I know that's one of their revenue streams as well. (I was a little taken aback when he also tried to sell me an extended warranty at the 11th hour, but it was easy to decline -- since it was all by email, no real pressure.) The dealer even drove the car nearly 70 miles to my house, at no fee, and I signed the paperwork in 15 minutes.

    I suspect one's experience depends on the popularity and availability of the car. I would suggest you definitely do your research and make sure that the CarsDirect price matches what you're willing to pay, rather than solely depend on CarsDirect. Even though I say I would use CarsDirect, I would still do the same amount of research and test drive. By the time I went to CarsDirect, I knew exactly the car and featuresI wanted, so it was very straightforward for me.

    My car cost about $20,000 before taxes, which was $4500 below MSRP and $3000 below what the dealer was willing to sell it for.
  • karhill1karhill1 Posts: 108
    OK, one must consider that CarsDirect makes money from any car sale it processes. The question is "who pays that money?" The answer is, obviously, the customer. Therefore, the price of a vehicle purchased via CarsDirect must be inflated to compensate for CarsDirect's income from the sale.

    I suggest a potential buyer use CarsDirect as a source of information and then go to the dealer and negotiate the price of the vehicle at least several hundred dollars less than the price presented by CarsDirect. If one dealer won't deal just go to the next. Perserverence will be worth a few dollars. In the worst case, all one need do is locate the dealer who works with CarsDirect. Without question, that dealer will sell the car for less than the CarsDirect price.

    Really, the only reason a person should even consider using a service like CarsDirect is if one is uncomfortable dealing with a sales person. But really, why bother with CarsDirect as a person can almost always find a relative or friend who can act as a broker. It is always easier to negotiate when the negotiator is not the one paying.
  • ken117ken117 Posts: 194
    The only thing I am certain about CarsDirect is anyone buying a car from CarsDirect will pay too much. Here is a current example, for a 2011 Outback with an MSRP of $29,220 CarsDirect is currently quoting a price of $28,055 in Maryland. Fitzmall, a one-price shop in Maryland, will sell you this same vehicle for about $27,000.
  • rmingrming Posts: 9
    I recently ran across a car buying service called Carwoo. According to the site, you input the specifics about a car that you are looking for (I am looking at purchasing a new car) and they solicit offers from various local dealers. According to the site, the dealer only sees your first name and last name initial and the car that you want to buy, no other contact information. In addition it appears that through the site you can correspond with each dealer to get a better price (ie tell the dealer you already have an offer at $xx,xxx, can they beat that?). If you like the offer, then you commit to the buy. I am not sure if this is by the site providing you the contact information for the dealer or if you commit to buy that the dealer gets your contact information. This part of the service supposedly is free. For an additional fee you can set up what they call a reverse auction with local dealers. I am not sure what that is or how it gets you a better price.

    My questions are these: has anyone used this service?, has anyone bought a car through this service? did you really remain anonymous during the procedure?, did you get the best price using this service?, did you use the reverse auction?, what is the reverse auction?, was the reverse auction worth the fee in the amount that you saved on the car?
  • karhill1karhill1 Posts: 108
    Here is all one need know about Cars Direct. Today, March 30, 2011 for a 2011 Nissan Rogue, AWD SV with an MSRP of $25,300 the Cars Direct Target Price in the DC area is $23,137. For the same vehicle, with the $25,300 MSRP, the True Car price is $21,267. Why would anyone use Cars Direct?
  • I'm not certain if CarsDirect pricing has improved much since the last poster. I'm looking to buy a new Hyundai Sonata and just started shopping for prices. However, I noticed that they have a buying outlook, which seem quite interesting. Thought I'd share this: http://www.carsdirect.com/hyundai/sonata/prices
  • rmingrming Posts: 9
    If you have access I highly recommend using the USAA car buying service. They show you the pricing right on the web site. Just be aware that they do not always show all of the incentives and rebates. So your price could be even lower. The car I bought had an extra $1000 rebate if you financed and the manufacturer also had loyalty rebates and an active duty military rebate if you qualified that USAA did not show. I tried the USAA dealer and he did not get back to me on the car I wanted. It was a 2011 that is in short supply.

    I tried the Costco buying service to see how they compared on price. They were $100 more than USAA and the Costco dealer found the car I wanted. So I bought it from them.
  • Carsdirect is not buying the cars at dealer invoice, they're buying them at the bank invoice price. Most dealerships do not own their cars, they are bank or company owned. That's how they were given such large checks towards down payments, that is part of the difference of the pricing. Dealer and employee invoicing sales are noting special ask for 500 above bank invoice and see what happens, odds are they will laugh at you.
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