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Contributor

I want to be clear, my issue was not with the car buying service, which was wonderful and so easy to use.

 

I printed my certified price and drove over an hour away to Central Auto Group in Plainfield CT to see the car. Once there the sales guy and his manager acted outraged at the price that I had. They told me they don't honor USAA prices and that the car was listed at thosands of dollars higher. After about an hour of them trying to force me to pay over a $1,000 more than my certified price, they agreed to the price i originally showed them, but they told me they absolutely wouldn't add the extra $150 off that was listed on the print out, because it was just ridiculous.

 

Part of me wanted to just walk away, but it was such a great deal for the car I gave them a deposit and signed the initial paperwork. Then they came back and told me they don't have the title and I'll have to wait untill that comes in, about seven to ten days. I'm just hoping they're not purposfully dragging their feet because of how unhappy they were with the agreed upon price. Ultimately, once I have the car i will be thrilled with how it turned out, but I was surprised at the reaction of the dealership. They told me they had nothing to do with USAA and that the prices they listed were just randomly made up, which seems a little absurd to me.

 

I just wanted anyone else planning on buying at Central be prepared for an argument, becuase I certainly wasn't!

 

 

3 REPLIES

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Ditto on being underwhelmed by my latest car buying effort.
I bought my first car with usaa buying service in 1985 - it worked as advertised. They negotiated a good price and connected me with a dealer who would honor it. When I bought my Prius last May, it was a totally different story. 3 dealers started emailing and calling me, but I had to haggle for 3 weeks before any of them would sell me the car at the agreed-on price. I wince when I hear the USAA commercials about this service. Why is USAA wasting money advertising anyway? And why did they discontinue a good service? I thought it was not-for-profit but focused on good product and good service for members. :( I hope Tesla overturns the modern robber baron monopoly that dealers now have so that I never have to buy from them again. I believe the only reason cars come with "free maintenance" for the first few years is because dealers couldn't make enough money on those who voluntarily chose them for service. Now we all have to pay for it up front (bundled in price of the car) argh!
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We bought 2 used cars this weekend via USAA car buying service.

Last year I bought one new car via the service.

The difference between the purchases was astounding.

With the new car last year, we took our USAA paperwork, arrived at the dealer.

Another dealer agreed to match USAA's deal, so our dealership dropped the price again.

We felt we got a great deal.

A friend in the business had reminded me that dealerships have changed the pricing.  Invoice is 

not the true price of the car for the dealer.  They get paid for each car on the lot, like rent for the parking space 

along with several other fees.  So that invoice price should be your starting point.

That sale went through easily and without a hitch.  The quick check out was truly that.  We were in and out with our check

in 30 mins.

 

Saturday's purchases was for used cars, and it was a miserable experience.

Quick check out was promised.  Did not happen.

The negotiation was easy, we even bought it for less than the USAA price.

I just had to be patient.

It was the actual purchase. The dealership was a USAA preferred dealer.

Yet they stated they could not take the USAA wire transfer.  Told us we'd have to get a loan through

their preferred lender.  "It will only cost you $200 more"  "It's easier for us"  and then "no we really can't take this, it's just something you printed up at home"  ... the kicker "we don't work with USAA at all.

So later today after I finish up work I'll call USAA directly.

We told them we'd walk, it's just a commuter car. Then suddenly they could get approval to do it our way.

10 mins later we were out the door.

My son's car was the same situation just at another dealer.  Wouldn't take the loan, wanted him to get one from their dealer at .25% more.

It took him saying he was going to walk, starting to leave the dealership for them to agree to do it via USAA. Again then suddenly figuring out how to do it in 10 mins. Felt like high pressure to use their preferred lender. 

 

i wonder if it were because they were used cars, or low value cars.  We spent less than $20,000 on both.  But to have identical arguments in the dealerships was unsettling.  I asked their business manager why they would advertise their cars on USAA's site and allow themselves to be designated a "certified dealer" and yet refuse to use the wire draft.

The Honda business manager stated they NEVER take wire drafts.

 My call to USAA will happen. There is no point in advertising they are a certified dealer if they are going to give USAA members over 70 mins of grief trying to get the car purchased.   If it were not just the right used car, we'd have left.  

 

And if this were our only experience with the buying service I'd say it's not worth using.  No point other than to find a price from which to barter.   But our experience with a Toyota dealer on a new car far exceeded our expectations. So much so that  with this purchase I only looked at cars featured on USAA from certified dealers.  

 

If I have this much grief buying a car via USAA's loan process- not via them but through the dealers I might have to use someone local.  It was just too dang stressful.  

 

And like you, my issue wasn't with USAA but with each individual dealer, and both happened to be Honda Dealerships.

 

 

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After having read your experiance, I must say I was underwhelmed with my experiance at a Honda Dealership here in Colorado as well.

 

I've used USAA services for a long time, and have no issue with how they handled my needs.  I do have an issue with the underwhelming experiance with the dealership.

 

The only thing I did was question the "USAA Perferd Status".  As a member for quite a while (17 years or so), I've come to the reasnable expectation that individuals that use USAA's name and are associated with them have a higher business standard than any old car dealership.