I have attempted to use the Car Buying service a couple different times now, and it doesn't work for me. Today I went to a dealership with their prepared quote in hand for the car that I created using the tools on USAA website. However, when I got there, the dealership said that the quote was wrong and the vehicle on their lot was a FWD (when I was looking for an AWD-which was stated on the quote). Ends up they didn't have an AWD and were going to have to get one shipped to them. In the end, they gave me another discount off the AWD model but never met the initial quote that was prepared.
Also, I was attempting to trade a vehicle in as well, and they would only give me "fair" value for my trade in and would not meet the car's value according to the My Car estimate on USAA. When reading the "fair" definition: Significant interior or exterior wear, and limited serviceable life. My car is a 2011 with 89,000 miles. It is a used car with normal wear and tear...not demolished.
So a warning for those who have to trade a car in: Due to the low prices from True Car, dealers don't want to deal with the trade ins and don't want to give you the actual fair trade in value. The car buying service sounds wonderful, but I still have had to haggle over prices. The dealers agree to participate and accept these prices, but do not want to uphold their end of the bargain when it comes time to sign the deal. Please someone tell me that this is an isolated instance and not the norm!
I hear you. I went through a similiar situation. Dealer tried the bait and switch on me too. You have to be willing to walk away from them otherwise they will screw you. Also, I would recommend that they are TrueCar dealer and rep. They usually do a good job of matching your certificate.
Remember they want your money and they will say things like, "Well you certificate is more of an estimate" to get it. Personal experience there. That's when you tell them well I guess your not what I'm looking for. If they want your business they will haggle. Just remeber: they do it on a daily basis. We only do it every few years or so.