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Carmax - What's Your Experience?



  • basscadetbasscadet Posts: 146
    First of all, your salesperson did not follow the carmax process. After you agree to purchase the car but before you sign paperwork you were to go back out to the car to make sure all the buttons and switches work. Did your salesperson not do this with you?

    It is also the Carmax "way" to have a salesperson send a thank you card as well as give you a business card in case you have any questions about your purchase. But the saleperson is not forced by carmax or Toyota to make a "check-up" call. Personally, I never made these phone calls myself. After my customer had bought a car I told them to simply call me on my cell phone if there were any issues. When they did call me (rarely) I would just switch them over to Service.

    Finally, what do I think happened? Do you want my honest answer? I don't think anything happened that was too terrible. I think that perhaps you are a demanding customer who wants Premium A+ service and you might not be the kind of customer Carmax is designed for. The business model employed by Carmax is selling good cars for a good's volume sales. You don't walk into WalMart and get upset when the guy who sold you your Sony 32" TV didn't show you how to work all the menus, do you? It's no different from Carmax.

    You received a poor salesperson but I have the idea that you might not still be happy with your service even if he had followed the correct procedures.
  • basscadetbasscadet Posts: 146
    Why did you take your car in to get an appraisal last time and not accept their offer, especially if you seem happy with it?

    You took up 30-45 minutes of a salesperson's time and he got nothing for it. If you do go back, at least ask for the same salesperson if you are seriously considering selling it this time. And I can promise you that you will most definitely see a drop in the offer this time.
  • horkycajhorkycaj Posts: 3
    I think I want to clarify a bit . I have sold 2 cars in the past at Car Max prior too the one I had appraised last summer. (Actually a co worker ended up buying a car I sold to Car Max. So strange to pull into the parking lot and see my old car!) I have used the same salesperson each time I have been there. She has always been straight forward and honest. I love the no pressure sales.

    When I got our car appraised last summer we were planning on trading it in for a van we liked. We had just purchased a 05 Focus (used) about 3 months prior. I was prego and found a van on the lot we liked. We thought a van would be more practical after trying to squeeze a rear facing car seat in our Focus . We had our car appraised to see what we would get on a trade to figure out how much we would be spending. The value for our trade was exactly what we paid for the car. After mulling it over we decided to wait. Believe it or not our saleswoman said that we should probably wait too. She said our needs might be different after the baby came and we might want different features in a van. Even though we really wanted the van we decided to wait to see what our $$$ situation was like after the baby came. In retrospect I am glad that I didn't buy last summer beacuse our needs did change as well as our price range (up by $10,000). I realize now how handy the auto doors are and fold in floor seats are. I also realize that we need a van that will seat 8 not 7. Now that our little one is over 6 months old now and has out grown his infant carrier car seat we need a van that we can get him in and out of much easier. That is why we are in the market for a van now.

    I have every intention of selling my car at Car Max if the dealer won't come close to what they are offering. In NV you get a Trade in Sales tax credit if you trade in a car and buy one at the same time (I believe it works out to 5.5%). I could save around $400-$500 in taxes if the dealer takes the trade at the same time I buy. I look at it it this way. If the dealer offers me the same price as Car Max I am ahead the sales tax credit and trade it in to the dealer. If a dealer offers me $500 less for my trade Car Max and the dealer are even. If the dealer offers me a low ball price and won't budge guess who I sell the car to ---Car max.

    Most people on these boards would never buy a car without doing research and contacting a few dealerships to see what the lowest price available is. I just think of this as reverse car shopping. I have used KBB and Edmunds to calculate trade in value (the two differ by almost $1000). Car Max makes me an offer on my car based on the market and condition. I have read many times on these boards that KBB is just a book and isn’t buying your car. With Car Max I have a written offer to buy my car for X dollars regardless if I buy a car from them. In the end I will take my car where I will get the most for it just like I will buy a new van where I can get the best price.

    I have sold previous cars at Car Max so I don't have to hassle with selling our car. I don't believe I am wasting their time. Car Max offers the service and gives you time (7 days or 300 miles) to decide to sell (with no pressure!). As far as the value of my car... I also expect to see a drop in the price over time. I just think it will be interesting to see how much it has depreciated since July.
  • johninmdjohninmd Posts: 2
    I am a Carmax sales consultant, and on behalf of all the good consultants in our company, I apologize for your treatment. We have a delivery checklist in place that the consultant is to follow which covers all the controls in the car. Toyota also holds us to their certification and delivery standards. Your sales consultant did about everything wrong by our standards. He should have called within 72 hours, and sent out a followup letter on day 4. He also should have called and sent a second letter out about 28-30 days after the sale (whether a used or new car). I can't speak for the Kenosha store, but our Toyota dealership in Laurel, Md. is the 2nd to 3rd largest selling Toyota dealership in the U.S. and has received numerous recognitions from Toyota. Again, I apologize, and assure you this is not the typical CarMax service.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ... >>> **After mulling it over we decided to wait. Believe it or not our saleswoman said that we should probably wait too. She said our needs might be different after the baby came and we might want different features in a van. Even though we really wanted the van we decided to wait to see what our $$$ situation was like after the baby came. In retrospect I am glad that I didn't buy last summer because our needs did change as well ....**

    That was "excellent" advise from your salesperson ... most would have gone to the next dealership and bought anyway .... you have no idea how many people do, then are back in the stores 10/12 months later trying to get that "right" vehicle ..... too late.!

  • drh100drh100 Posts: 2
    After having moved to a new area and taking a job I hate I find myself considering a career at Carmax. What are your thoughts on working there? I've been in the car business all my life and am interested in what you think of Carmax compared to traditional dealerships.

    Thanks for your input.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    Try selling at a real dealership. Carmax is just volume and selling a payment, there is no real selling there besides add-ons.

    Put on a suit, go interview at a Honda or Toyota dealership (The only makes that are worth their name anymore) and choose the one that you feel the best and fits your personality.

    Be a real salesperson. Why sell 20 minis a month just to make 2-3 grand?? Why not sell 20 cars and make 10-15 grand!!!!
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    If you wanna go for the volume then I would go for honda/toyota but if you are more comfortable spending more quality time with people go highline.

    The volume is not there so you will have less sales but the gross per sale is much more. You meet some really interesting people too.
  • basscadetbasscadet Posts: 146
    I would guess that most highline dealerships would not hire an inexperienced auto salesperson whereas Carmax and some Toyota/Honda dealers would.

    I have no doubt that if you're going to be in car sales as a career, highline is the place to be.

    When I was with Toyota, our F&I guy told us he once sold a Porsche Carerra GT (very expensive and rare car) to a local sports celebrity. Porsche also gave the lucky sales person who sold the car this fancy wooden commermative box that had the car's serial # etched into it with real gold lining. He showed all of us the box. He sold it to Johnny Damon. He wouldn't tell us exactly what his commission was for the sale but he said it was several thousand dollars. For one car!
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .. **I've been in the car business all my life and am interested in what you think of Carmax compared to traditional dealerships....**

    If you've been in the business all your life and had success .. then you'd know that Carmax would be quite a cut in pay .... I would look elsewhere ..

  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    I have sinned against you *sob*

    Yes, I am a carmax abuser. I put the same research into my trade-in as I do my purchase.

    I always review the auto sale websites and try and find my exact car and mileage and see what "people" are asking, I used edmunds TMV, then I will get a quote from the great and honorable Terry over at the RWTIV board.

    With this I will hit at least two shops which advertise they buy cars. Carmax is always one of them. My experience is Carmax will not give you the highest price but their price is not ridicously low either. I really thinks it is a "fair" price for people who do not want to sell a car on their own.

    In Chicago you can pay sales tax anywhere from 7.75% to 9.00% and we are only one of two states that taxes the SALES price of a leased vehicle.

    So we are talking serious sales tax dollars savings on a trade in. The way I look at it, Carmax advertises this service so I don't feel guilty waisting a salemans time. But I usually go to Carmax late on a dead weaknight, just so I am not undercutting someone either.

    When I traded in my 2000 Odyssey, for a 2003 Odyssey the Honda dealer was ridicously low. I mean $2,000 less than were carmax was.

    We argued and argued i even pulled out CarMax's valid offer and another shop who was in the middle but closer to CarMax. Well, the salesmanager says just go to Carmax then, rather smugly.

    So I said fine, but I can't guarantee I will be back, since I am here alone and I have no idea if wife can get a sitter to bring me back. SM offered to send greenpea to pick me up. So, I said don't bother I am gonna call so-so Honda which is about 2 miles from Carmax and see if I can work out a deal with them while I wait for carmax to do the paper work. If it doesnt work out Ill call you.

    Well, that the magic words and we eventaully agreed we would equalize the sales tax and I would get about $100 more. I would have just left, but fact was my lease was already up on the 2000 Ody, and back then the '03 Ody's were hard to find.

    Then last month, when I was doing this for other Car, met a nice oldtimer and we chatted and I was literraly the ONLY customer in the place. We had fun driving cars while we waited, In fact it was the first time I got behind the wheel of a Range Rover and I even pulled over to let the guy drive it for awhile, since he never had a chance to either.

    So carmax offers me $6,500 for my olds with 70K miles on it and it was tired. It was actually on the high end of RWTIV amount. So, when I was at the dealer for my new car (Honda Pilot) I offered to trade it, but said CarMax was giving me $7,500 and I have the paperwork here (ok- so I embellished) so dont come back with anything less.

    Well, they came back and said $7,500 - note to self never offer your price first - I am sure I left money on the table..but hey, I just made $1,000 plus another $581 on the trade in credit.

    Bottom line, did I use CarMax. No, had I not been able to get a comprable amount from the new car dealer I would have went back and sold the car for them. The carmax prices is good for 7 days 300miles. This is not "noodle-it" time. This is Carmax saying, shop it and if you can do better- god bless you.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Actually our dealership prefers to hire people with little if any auto sales experience since they probably don't have any bad habits yet. Our store does not opperate like most other dealerships so someone with a lot of experience at say a volume store just would be lost here. And bored oh yes very bored.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    How does Carmax compare with Saturn? Both are built on the same sales model correct?
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    "So carmax offers me $6,500 for my olds with 70K miles on it and it was tired. It was actually on the high end of RWTIV amount. So, when I was at the dealer for my new car (Honda Pilot) I offered to trade it, but said CarMax was giving me $7,500 and I have the paperwork here (ok- so I embellished) so dont come back with anything less."

    Another liar.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714

    1. The the saleman whips out his book and tells me that his cost in the mudguards and wheel locks are $300, why won't I let him make a profit and buy them for $350.

    We don't need to get into what they really cost.

    2. When they tell me that the absolute best money factor is 0.002 (approx 5%) and act surprised that Honda has a 0.00094 (approx 2.256%) support on Pilots - then counter with they think this is only an East Coast thing.

    Say, what you want thebill - but people who jump to conclusions often find there is no firm ground to land on.

    I don't fault any dealership for maximizing their profits, but knowledge is power, and if they wanted to play the lets lie game, then don't point fingers at me for trying to maximize my profits under the same tactics they are using.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    That is an unfair example.

    All you had to do was show the Carmax offer and tell them to match it to earn your business. Instead you lied and told them something else.

    I could say that if I were at a department store and had jeans on sale for 75% off but I raised the price before the sale to lessen the blow.

    Just robbing peter to pay paul.

    The point is, you intentionaly lied.

    I have NEVER played with a money factor. The system that we use will not allow it, the payments are what they are. I dont know what system they used, however, I couldnt trust you even if you told me.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    ok thebill, so what you are saying it is ok for the dealer to stretch the truth and tell me somthing that is not accurate to make money.

    But if the buyer does the same, we are liars and no good? We are evil.

    Bottom line here is thebill they tried to get more and couldnt and eventually offered me the terms I wanted based on my research.

    Second, I will bet dollars to donuts if they didn't think the car was worth that they wouldn't have done me any favors.

    But I guess according you thebill, next time I should let the dealer stretch the truth and maximize thier profits and sit there with my jesus hat on *eyeroll*

    Godspeed buddy.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    I didnt say that they were not in the wrong. What I meant was you were just perpetuating the cycle of deceit by lying. Why should they shoot you straight if you didnt?

    I actually have a friend that works at a Carmax in the used car buying department and he knows every quote given. I have actually called him to verify quotes and he can fax me a copy. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY LIES I CATCH?!

    Our reputation for good has been earned.

    Again, I wasnt justifying what they did, however, most times the money factor can not be changed, but if they had you caught, why not try???
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    I would go along with you thebill. But let me clarify who did what first.

    But the trade-in was not even brought up until the deal was done and I was waiting for the car to be prep'd. I was going to mention it earlier but we got into the wheellock thing pretty deep and then I was hit with the whole money factor thing.

    In fact, to show that I am not the brightest I didn't want to put any money down on the lease, and did not want to complicate the deal with a trade in.

    I even brought a friend to drive my car over to carmax after the deal. But since I had nothing but time to kill, I said are you interested in my old car?

    And after ALL i went through, I played my own game. I can accept the add-ons game, but the leasing stuff, was just bush league. As far as price, Carmax was just an offer anyway, and I thought adding $1,000 was so outlandish they would say no. The fact they took it either tells me, they didnt check like you said, or found the car worth it.

    To be honest, I regret this part, because I should have seen what they came back with first. *shrugs*

    I will agree 110% with you thebill - had I thrown this "tactic" out in the beginning, I deserved everything I got.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    I wasnt there so I can not definitely say what was what, however, it resembles "parachuteing" a trade in. It means a customer convienently drops in a trade after everything else was agreed to.

    If it were my deal, I wouldve known early on if there were a trade in. And if someone "parachutes" a trade on me, I actually tell them to take it to Carmax or sell it themselves if they dont like our appraisal.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    It means a customer convienently drops in a trade after everything else was agreed to.

    This did not happen in my case, but I would like you to elaborate?

    You are obviously upset about this? Is this because, now you lost a negotiation edge? Do you like to confuse the buyer with overvalueing the trade to make them happy and then get it back on the purchase?

    I am just curious, why does it matter when the trade was introduced? To me, you can tell the buyer "at any point" to take his car elsewhere, why is this some unethical tactic to "parachute" as you say at the end of the deal?
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    Not really unethical. I dont really get upset either.

    When a trade is involved in the deal, it doesnt really matter how you juggle the price of the vehicle and the trade in, the difference between the two is what really matters.

    10,000 9,000
    - 2,000 -1,000
    ________ _______
    8,000 8,000

    No matter how you juggle, the difference is the key.

    If we agree to a 8,000 difference plus TTL, then thats all there is and the payments fall where they may.

    If we just talk about price and agree on 9,000 and then a customer floats in a trade and wants 2,000 for a 1,000 car, then the difference and get screwed up. If the car is only worth 1,000 and you want 2,000, then that grand could come from the profits (hence, over-allowance). I could "show" 2,000 for a 1,000 car if I had a 1,000 dollars profit. However, if we whittle down to no profit on the car and then float in a trade, I can not over-allow anymore money for it. Thats why I suggest them taking the vehicle to Carmax or selling it themselves, so I can keep my profit, if any.

    I always explain the "difference" principal whenever I work a deal. I do this b/c I always find out if a trade is involved early on. I never try to confuse the customer, if I do that, then I risk a greater chance for buyers remorse and a poor Customer Service Survey and no referrals or repeat business.

    I have had customers try to keep is a secret, but i dont do business like that. Those customers are usually just trying to keep their local dealer honest anyway.

    In summary, I deal in fact, so why shouldnt the customer? Buying a car isnt personal, its just business. If we dont agree on figures, then we will just shake hands and part as friends, just as we met.
  • jiazzijiazzi Posts: 3
    I'm just curious if anyone has actually bought their car online through Fitzmall and if so, what was your experience like?

    Good? Bad? Ugly?
  • basscadetbasscadet Posts: 146
    I'd rather sell carpet than Saturns. The carpet will last longer.
  • kapbotkapbot Posts: 113
    **I'd rather sell carpet than Saturns. The carpet will last longer.**

    My mother has a '94 Saturn SL1. 95K miles, almost all trips of less than 3 miles. So far, 8 tires, 3 batteries, an alternator and a brake job on top of normal maintenance. I hate the car, but it just wont die...that said, she definitely has carpet older than that!
    As for Carmax, I'll gladly "waste" a salesperson's time & get a quote before I trade my truck in.
    My 2 pennies. (I just noticed there's no "cent" on my keyboard)
  • Not sure about other Carmax locations but I would urge anyone looking to buy from the one in White Marsh Maryland to pass. My co-worker and I have been having an ongoing discussion (continued today) about his horrible experience with Carmax. One issue was the fact that his car had to be sent to the dealer for repair and then it taking three weeks (after the repair work) just to get a status of the work, which by the way he ended up calling the dealer himself and in 5 minutes found out what the hold up was (Carmax and the dealer fighting over who was going to pay for the defect). Carmax kept telling him they were waiting to hear from the dealer for three weeks.

    When he finally got his car back after almost two months, it was filthy (dirt, bird poop), three of the four things he took it in to get repaired never got repaired after he was told they would fix it (it was clearly listed on the repair list). The rental Carmax gave him had faulty brakes which almost resulted in him having an accident.

    A previous issue that he took his car in to get reapired took them twice to do it right. He had a piece of trim that kept coming off, you could snap it back on but it would fall off again in days. He told them about the issue and how it wouldn't stay on for more than a few days at a time and all they did the first time he took it in for repair was snap it back on as he had been doing. So needless to say he had to take it back again and insist they fix it right. This time they did.

    They have a general lackluster attitude towards the customer, no real concern is shown for the customer or any issues they have with the company. It has gotten to the point that he is typing up a complaint letter and mailing it to Carmax's corporate offices, not sure how much good it will do.

    I urged him to go to and file a report of which there are numerous already filed against this particular Carmax location.

    So, as I stated, not sure about other Carmax locations but I would avoid this particular one. I in fact will never deal with carmax based on this, nor would I recommend them to anyone else. Neither will this person. If there is one bad location I got to believe there are more.
    :lemon: :lemon:
  • herc76herc76 Posts: 52
    Actgually I got a thousand more quoted on my 02 Acura TL at the dealership. Carmax-1100 Dealership-1200
    Carmax is still a good place to by your car.
  • syzygy00syzygy00 Posts: 11
    Hi all,

    If it helps, just wanted to share my experience buying a car at carmax -- I found this web site incredibly helpful, so just wanted to contribute.

    I bought a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta stationwagon at the carmax in Raleigh North Carolina on March 29, 2006. I think for every dealership/brand, etc., my experience is it all depends on the particular dealership and the particular person you deal with.

    So for this particular place in Raleigh, I started with one salesperson, who just didn't seem to be straightforward, so I came back to talk to someone else. He was great and I stuck with him through the rest of my experiences at the carmax. Basically, he wasn't pushing or asking questions, just patiently answered all of mine. I only saw him on three different occasions (including the day I bought the car), but I got the sense that I could have come back several times, that he wasn't in a hurry to sell me the car. I think that strategy seem to work well for him.

    I was concerned that carmax seems to sell so many cars with very little mileage. Mine had only 12,600 miles and I'd heard that Volkswagens could be great or could come with lots of problems, so I was very suspicious. So I used the VIN number and called the two local Volkswagen dealerships and talked to their service departments (after several attempts at calling them) and they pulled up the Vin numbers to give me the history of the car -- the previous owner was a female, and there had been no major repairs or problems. One of them was able to tell me the date the car was bought and that it was bought at that dealership. Still not a guarantee, but it made me feel better. I also learned by reading the great forums here that Volkswagen has been manufacturing its cars in Mexico and also having lots of mechanical issues for its recent models, but that the station wagons were still made in Germany.

    Price -- I also heard that carmax tends to sell cars at a higher price compared to other parties. I don't know if it was the time of year (last week of financial quarter and end of the month) but I got a really good deal -- around $1600 below Kelley blue book.

    Carmax has a five-day no questions asked return policy, so within that time frame, I took the car to get a checkup with a mechanic that works on Volkswagens.

    THE DISAPPOINTMENT -- but not surprising, don't trust their warranties. They have a 30-day warranty and my experience taking the car in for a minor problem (which I knew about when I was buying the car) was that first they said it wasn't covered, then they agreed to take care of it, then they told me the car was ready, then I went to pick it up, then I very clearly obviously (any idiot could see it) saw that they hadn't done any work on the car, then they told me they would fix it (again) so then I came back the next day and saw that they had mostly fixed it, but not completely, but I was tired of dealing with them. So I just took the car and left.

    BIGGER DISAPPOINTMENT -- they drill holes (!) (FOUR OF THEM) in the bumper of the car to attach their stupid carmax advertising plate. It just seems like an idiotic thing to do to a car but I guess their reasoning is, it's not always going to be their car.

    Overall, I'm satisfied with the experience buying the car at carmax (taking the realistic view that it's never going to be a problem-free experience) -- it's a really beautiful car and at least for now, looks to be in good mechanical order.

    Best of luck to you all!
  • slightboslightbo Posts: 15
    Had our first experience with Carmax, and we were NOT impressed. Trying to sell our 04 Saab 9-3 Convertible with super low miles, 16K and in excellent condition, no body damage, mechanical, interior is perfect, etc.

    Kelly Blue book (which their site told us to look at) "Good" was $27,500 and excellent was $29,000. Carmax's sales associate that was assigned to us told us in the beginning that it would be between good and excellent, but when the appraisal came back (after two hours of waiting in the Walmart/Ikea type atmosphere) they offered us $26,000!! They have three other similar cars they are selling for 31K (2) and 32K (1), meaning they would make a huge profit on our car. I wouldn't call this offer fair, fair would have been "Good" Kelly Blue Book, $27,500. Oh well! Just thought I would share, I suppose it is a good deal if you are in a real pinch and don't mind eating thousands of dollars.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Considering that Saabs depreciate almost as well as Kias and are generally unreliable (both the Saabs in my fleet are heading off to the auction this summer), I do not think that the offer is all that unreasonable. BTW, is the model an ARC or an AERO? If it the former, their purchase price is pretty close to the Black Book.

    Carmax pretty consistently buys cars at the Black Book wholesale AVERAGE price and sells it at retail ... pretty much like ANY dealership.

    I have never recommended that anyone BUY at Carmax. On MOST cars, they are about $1000-1500 higher than at a traditional dealership. However, people are convinced that they get a better deal at a "no haggle" price.
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