Car buying service = "contact dealer for price"

30yrs-and-fooled
Contributor

USAA, 

 

  I just spent 2 hours trying to price a new Subaru from your car buying service.  When I used it last in 2010, it was fabulous but tonight, not so much.  My first attempt connected me to a "certified buyer" in my area but instead of a certified price, it said "contact us for your price".  So I tried loading the zip code for a bigger city about 2 hours away; the results were even worse--it sent my info to two dealers over 4 hours away and both indicated "contact us for your price."  I must be slow because I tried a third time with another major city in a different direction; this time it sent my info to a dealer two STATES away with the same "contact us..." 

 

  You guessed it; I'm already getting multiple e-mails at 2300 from all these dealers telling me they'll be calling me at 0830 tomorrow.  What do I have to show for it?  A bunch of empty promises from USAA about "certified price" and not a single number.  Only then did the clue bird land that I was being conned....by my own USAA.  I can't wait until 0830, but am certain I'll be thinking of USAA every time my phone rings.

 

  I simply don't know what to think!  I have trusted USAA for three decades and have blindly convinced my adult kids that USAA takes care of you.  When I used USAA for my mortgage, you totally abandoned me when I wanted to refinance.  When I called to get home owners insurance on my new house (which I wisely financed through a local bank), USAA quoted a figure 3X what the local agency gave me.  Now this wonderful experience.

 

  One of my close friends just bailed from USAA after getting hassled during an auto claim and now is saving over $1,000 every year with better coverage from another company.  I am dangerously, or perhaps thankfully, close to following them and conceding that USAA no longer really cares about its loyal members.  What the he!! happened!?!

 

  If you want to post about how USAA is disappointed to hear of my experience and that your team wants to help me, feel free, but if you aren't going to start the discussion with a certified price on my new Subaru, then save us both the trouble...I have a bad feeling my phone and e-mail will already be tied up anyway. 

4 REPLIES

@30yrs-and-fooled - I am disappointed to hear of your experience, and have requested a Subject Matter Expert review the situation for you. This isn't the experience we want you to have. Please allow sufficient time for the research to be completed. - Cathleen

Cathleen,

  Alright, you've done your part in having someone from the CEO's damage control office call me the next day.  In essence, he told me how I failed to understand how the truecar process worked.  OK, I'll concede your new truecar process is radically different than the exceptional old USAA car buying service.  What you need to do next is call 4 of the 5 truecar dealers, because they don't know either how this great service is supposed to work. 

 

  Of the 5 dealers you gave my contact info to, only 1, ironically the one from 2 states away, sent me certificate.  Another dealer told me that truecar would send me the certificate in several days.  A third ignored the car configuration I loaded and pointed me to their online inventory.  So, back to the one certificate I did receive.  It offered me a certified savings of $2,013.  This seemed pretty good, except their website showed I could buy that exact car directly from their website without any negotiation at all at a savings of $2,100.  So, in short, using your service on that car would have cost me $97 and a 10-hour round trip drive.  Great service!  

 

  No matter what you tell me about what is supposed to happen, I am giving you direct feedback that this service absolutely did not work for me.  

 

  In the military, we teach our folks to study and learn from failures.  A great general told me once, "I don't need your apologies for failures; I need you to learn from and then prevent future failures!"  This was one of the most effective lessons ever given to me.  As a long-time USAA member, I implore you to actually do this and not just spend damage control time on what appears to be legions of members dissatisfied with this remnant of what used to be a great program.

 

  Sadly, I predict USAA will do nothing to improve this program.  If the rumors are accurate that USAA is a stakeholder in truecar, I fear you will put company profits ahead of customer service.

 

  To finish, please consider how I closed this sad situation.  Using good old competition, I phoned 7 Subaru dealers on my own--excluding all the ones you connected me with--and asked each to e-mail me their best quote on the car I wanted.  I forewarned them that I would contact them after receiving all their bids and give them one chance to beat the best bid.  Four chose to improve their bids.  Today I signed a purchase order on the same car your truecar service wanted to save me $2,013, but for an actual savings of $3,361.  My process took just 11 phone calls, 15 e-mails, and less than 1 hour at the dealer.  Referencing the truecar TV commercials, it turns out the only hassle I experienced in the car buying process was attempting to use your truecar service.

 

  In case you are wondering, I have decided to stick with my USAA auto insurance, but only because I believe USAA hasn't yet outsourced that too.  I can't shake the feeling though that in the not-too-distant future, I'll get an e-mail from the USAA auto insurance division telling me they've found a way for me to "save 15% or more on my car insurance in just 15 minutes."

 

  My wife says I am being snarky, but in reality, I am just terribly disappointed in how "my USAA" continues to transform itself.  No need to call me with another apology...just re-read the comment four paragraphs above.  Thanks.

I have been frustrated by this car buying "sevice" as well. Fortunately I didn't get in quite so deep. I also used the service two years ago, and it was transparent, straightforward, and easy. Now its a time waster and gives me the sense that I'm going in blind to the dealership which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. VERY DISAPPOINTING. I aslo in the past felt USAA has done a nice job taking care, but now it seems they are feeling like every other company out there. 

@chickaDD, we are sorry to hear of your experience. It is never how we want our members to feel. I have sent your feedback for further review.  A follow up may be conducted regarding this matter.   Thank you.