lynxgolfer
Contributor

I'd like to share my recent experience in using USAA Car Buying Service.  I have been a USAA member since the mid-1970s - back when it was for commissioned officers.  USAA is like many business that were really special when they were "small" but progessively decline the larger they get.  I first heard about "USAA car pricing" in 1992 - not from USAA but from a Jeep dealer when I bought my first Jeep.  I was negotiating with the dealer and when I mentioned being a USAA member he said, "we can do USAA pricing."  Back then USAA pricing was worth $3-4K and there were no forms -- nothing.  It was wonderful and time and again for the next 20 years or so, I used "USAA pricing" to buy several vehicles.  Within the last 10 years or so, the dealer had asked for a form which I printed off through USAA.  So when I was in the market for a new Jeep last month, I went to USAA pricing and after I "built" the Jeep I wanted, my personal information was blasted off to several dealers -- NONE of which had the vehicle I wanted.  I probably got 20 calls and e-mails, knowing all the time that the Overland I wanted was not on their lot.  In concert with searching for "my" Jeep, I applied for a loan with USAA and was quoted a reduction of .25 percent for using autopay and another .50 percent for using USAA car buying service .  USAA quoted a 3.49 interest rate (before discounts) which is decent but far from what I expected with an 812 credit score and never being late on a payment in over 30 years (as far as the credit report goes back).  So I called and I was pretty much told "it is what it is" - 3.49 (my previous loan was 1.5 percent, so that's quite a jump).  I finally found the car I wanted about 50 miles away.  I told the sales manager that I had to use USAA service to get the .50 off the interest rate.  So I print a lot of info off for the sales manager including a code for a discount -- which is thrown in and made me think I was using the USAA service.  A few days after I bought the car, the transaction hit my account and showed the 3.49 interest rate.  I called USAA and was told to give it a few days for the correct interest rate to show.  Several days later, I called again was basically told I wasn't getting the discount because I hadn't used USAA car buying service.  Apparently the dealership was not on USAA car buying service or the dealer wasn't enrolled.  Frankly, I got the car and price I wanted, just not the interest rate.  Obviously I have no respect for the crooked dealer who failed to tell me they didn't use USAA pricing.  USAA has generally been very good over the years, but I continue to see declines in service.  As a member for going on 44 years, and has had 45 cars insured with USAA and many of them financed with USAA, I'll just say I'm disappointed, although not surprised with USAA in this instance.  I would think a member in my standing would get their best rates.  Their best rate has dropped from 3.49 to 3.09 since I bought my car.  I'm sure USAA had better rates than their "lowest" that's advertised on the site.  I don't know what I'd have to do to gain a lower rate, but I've talked to USAA three times and frankly two out of three calls were "don't care" and nothing done to rectify this issue.  I find myself slowly disengaging myself from USAA.  I will never use their car service again and will not finance another car with USAA.  I'm going to wait a few months and when an offer like the current one at the CDC Credit Union which is offering 2.55 interest rate and refinance my Jeep.  USAA has dropped a long way -- going from days like in 1993 when I busted up my Rolex and USAA sent me a check to cover the repair before they even received a hard copy estimate of repair.  USAA should take their advertising account money and use it to better provide for its members.  USAA's best advertising has always been by "word of mouth" and not multiple ads.  I truly feel that advertising budgets are responsibe for increasing rates, low balling diminished value claims, and overall failure to make things right.  Why did I join USAA back in early 1975?  Because when I was preparing to attend OCS, several officers in my chain of command highly recommended going to USAA for lower insurance rates.  I could give a laundry list of instances where I've been disappointed with USAA over the last 20 years, but this case just re-enforces that it's best to shop for services elsewhere.

2 REPLIES

I'm sorry to hear of the difficulties you've encountered, @lynxgolfer, as we never like to disappoint a member. I've asked a Subject Matter Expert to review this situation for you. Please allow sufficient time for the research to be completed and reviewed. - Cathleen

The member is absolutely correct - USAA has forgotten the principles that made the company successful.