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Purchasing Programs (AAA, Costco, BJ's, etc.)

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,822
Have you used one of these programs? How much do you think you saved? Was the program easy to use? Share your experiences here!

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  • john_wjohn_w Posts: 72
    Hi everyone,

    I posted the following on a board for a specific car, and the host there suggested that I post it in Smart Shopper. However, for the time being it appears that there's actually no place to have the discussion, as this board is not about topics, but only about suggesting topics?

    Here's the post:

    In case anyone who belongs to AAA (as I do) isn't already aware of this, AAA can get a bid for you from the car dealers they work with. At least, the people at my local AAA office suggested that I have them do this. There's no charge. Perhaps they can get a lower bid than I could on my own. (We shall see.) They said the bid would be some amount over invoice--take it or leave it.

    Has anyone used this service? What was your experience?


    P.S. Where should I post this, if not here, or besides here?
  • john_wjohn_w Posts: 72
    Hi everyone,

    My question in post #2 above about where to post has obviously been answered by our host moving my question about AAA Vehicle Purchasing Service here.

    AAA gave me two dealers to contact. They usually give you only one, I think. Anyway, the first dealer has made a bid that I currently believe is too high ($385 over Edmunds TMV).

    I'd definitely be interested in hearing about other people's experiences with the AAA program.

    Thanks, Kristie H.

  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    and Sam's Club deals, and in my area, and in Oregon where I used to live, they had several dealers hooked up using a certain percentage over invoice.

    In my experience, the service didn't do much good considering paying $700 over invoice for a Cavalier or Focus doesn't make much sense. Also, there's no program or incentive for your trade.

    In my opinion, a consumer can do better on their own than to get locked into a "savings club" program and set pricing.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,154
    I used BJs about 9 years ago, and it worked well. I got a new design that was still somewhat hard to find for a better price than I was going to shoot for on my own (about $1500 off sticker on a 22K car). Best feature was the simplicity. Asked for the program guy, he looked up the price in the book (and showed me), and that was what I paid.

    IMO, these services are great for people that won't or can't negotiate (or are just afraid of the car dealer). Many people can grind down to a lower price (in many cases) if the want to go into the negotiating trenchs, or at least do some serious homework and legwork.

    So, you might get the "best" price, but you should get a "fair" price, and save some mental anquish.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • Most dealerships have an "internet sales" request on their web site. Contacting them via the email listed on their web site, asking for a quote, usually provides a very competitive price. Or just call and ask to speak with someone from their internet sales. I've gotten very fair pricing in the past. The last time I used this mehtod was with an Acura dealer.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,154
    Actually, the internet and buying service person is usually the same, and in many cases so is the up-front pricing.

    I have used the internet departments in a few dealers very successfully, but it isn't true that you will always get the lowest price that way. Sometimes face to face works best, if you are in the rigth place at the right time.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • john_wjohn_w Posts: 72
    “. . . if you are in the right place at the right time.” --stickguy

    I live midway between southern California and northern Nevada. The AAA office where I live deals only with dealerships in southern California, but the TMV for the car I’m looking for is almost $200 less in northern Nevada. I won’t be surprised if I find a better deal on my own.

  • I have read alot of msgs. regarding money saved by going through the Costco program or Sam's club buying program. Can people tell me how much money I can save by doing this? I have read some people have only paid $500 over invoice. I am currently looking at the Audi A4, Vovlo S60, Saab 9-3 Arc, and Acura TL.


    Any insight would be great!! Can I expect to pay 2% over invoice, 5%, etc.?


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    2% over invoice isn't going to work on a hot seller in high demand.


    I've never seen a "club" price that I couldn't beat. the "club" price is supposted to make car buying an easy process. The customer is given a firm, discounted price.


    Trouble is, they take that price, smile..." I'll be back".


    Then they shop it all over town.
  • Hot sellers aside - They are a special class.


    When I looked into this issue several years ago, the club buying programs for readily available cars were $500 over invoice less any available incentives.


    So if you are looking for a readily available car, the very most you should pay is $500 over invoice. The one exception is expensive (luxury and other) cars. They may have a greater markup than $500.


    You can probably beat this deal by several hundreds of dollars. However you'll have to bargain hard for it and hold your ground.


    Good Luck
  • Thanks for the information jasmith52. Unfortunately the cars I am looking at are entry luxury. I had an Acura dealer give me a price for a 2005 Acura TL of $31,250. I thought this was pretty was about $1200 over invoice.Other cars are Audi A4, Volvo S60, Saab 9-3 that I am checking out.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,154
    Not sure about the Audi, but the Volvo and SAAB are being readily and heavily discounted normally.


    I agree that the value of the club is getting a good price, without having to negotiate or play games. You can often beat that price if you want to work at it, but many people don't (or can't) negotiate like that.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • jvp25jvp25 Posts: 7
    Folks in the D.C. metro area- ever hear of or deal with UBS?
    Or can anyone tell me if these programs through credit unions and other institutions that link you with specific dealers in a given area are worthwhile in purchasing a new/used car at a better rate than average negotiating (which is about all I'm probably capable of) at a dealership of your choice?
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    I used UBS to purchase a new Pontiac about 12 years ago. It was an easy $100 over invoice with no junk fees deal, but you still have to watch your back because everyone in the store was trying to pull something. In addition, I ended up purchasing from a dealer 25 miles away. It was extremely incontinent to take the car for warranty service in DC traffic. Also, at the time, their deals on Japanese cars were not that good.

    My advice to you would to use them to get a number for the car you want, and then have your local dealer match that price. Remember, with UBS there are no junk fees (i.e. processing fees, doc fees, advertising etc.). Also, when you call UBS for a certificate, make sure you ask them about customer rebates and also manufacturer to dealer incentives. Their deals are supposed to pass both of them on to you.
  • jvp25jvp25 Posts: 7
    thanks- i'll take your advice!
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    We used UBS to buy a Ford Taurus in 1987 and the deal went very smoothly.

    Since that time, we have bought Hondas by going to the dealer and offering a take-it-or-shove-it OTD price and that method also works well. The only problem is that you would have to do a good deal of research first to determine a reasonable OTD price.

    If you want to get a decent price with no hassle, UBS is probably OK. However, you may pay too much.

    For example, we usually paid about $150 over invoice for Hondas in the 1990's. Before we bought an Accord in March 2005, I did some research on Edmunds and found others were getting their Accords for about $500 under invoice. I found that hard to believe, but we went to Fairfax Honda and offered that price and they accepted. In short, the info I got from Edmunds saved us about $650.
  • Was looking for a Chrysler 300C about a year ago and had Costco refer me to a local dealer. The dealer manipulated me around in every direction and than offered me the car for about $ 300 dollars under MSRP. I said no thanks and left. Started to get phone calls, just so much more manipulation.
    After about the fourth call I said either sell at invoice or find another customer. To my surprise they said yes but at that point their credibility was gone so I kept the car I own, a recent model Cadillac Deville. Bottom line Costco program would have resulted in my paying a much higher price than haggling on my own. Costcos response was something like we are sorry our program didn't work out for you. We will note your experience on our records.
  • Try Costco. I bought mine tonight -- XLE V6 everything except navigation and traction control & butt warmers. MSRP 28,665 --- walked in and was quoted 26,050. Decent deal with no hassle -- dealer gave full blue book on the trade in as well. First ever "no haggle" buying service and definitely will do again. Sure others might get a lower deal -- but I was completely satisfied for how easy it was. Good luck in your search!
  • kcrnmalekcrnmale Posts: 47
    The bottom line: Buying a 300C at the time you were looking was automatically MSRP. This was a super hot car and you paid sticker....Costco or no Costco. Please don't try to claim you know somebody that got it for invoice. There are exceptions, but dealers weren't dealing on this car. Some people were lucky enough to work for Chrysler and receive a substantial discount. It's not really fair to blame Costco in this example.
This discussion has been closed.