After submitting my  car buying request, some of the dealers in the Washington DC area called me and had no idea what I wanted - basically admitted car buying service is a way to get potential buyers to the showroom so they can do their thing to sell as high as possible and we customers can try to negotiate lower than car buying service price. 


I spent a lot of time negotiating with one dealership on an agreed guaranteed no surprises out the door (OTD) price only to find out that as I was going to the dealership to close the deal that, SURPRISE, the quote was contingent on financing through Honda.  Never came up before. Earlier, in my opinion, it was like pulling teeth to get a line-by-line official quote from them; they also responded to my initial requests for a no surprises OTD price by quoting me an "OTD register" price.  Luckily I asked what that was, and found out they were not including my requested options in that price.  The sales mgr would quote me one thing, the client rep would confirm the quote and then, somewhere along the line, the client rep would say she didn’t realize the sales rep quote included the accessories, so please excuse the mistake, etc. When I pointed out the email trail, they would accept it.  And then the surprise kicker re tying all to financing (I found out about this by happenstance before I drove out to the showroom. Seems as if they were probably going to spring that on me when I got there).  I found that way of doing business disturbing.   I just stopped dealing with them.  Wish there was a way to get TrueCar & USAA to stop certifying them.


I don’t recommend dealing with Carlos at Bill Page Honda in Fairfax, Virginia.


I am working with other car buyer service internet sales people now.  If can find a reputable dealershhip, stick with them.


Car buyer services’ would be better if:

1) we had a way to add options e.g. hitches, moon roofs, running boards etc. so dealers can respond closer to what we actually want.

2) they included a line by line checklist so we and the dealership can fill in the:

* description of vehicle, year, model, exterior & interior color, Vin #, mileage

* base price,

* destination charge,

* buyer requested options including installation (parts & labor),

* dealer installed options (if not requested – dealer might include at no charge, at least you will should upfront)

* all fees (break down to include destination, marketing, delivery, document, processing, other, fees - hopefully dealers will not be charging such fees, or, if they are, that you can negotiate these fees to be 0;  but at least having on the checklist will force the dealers to be transparent upfront)

* after market items and service ("no cost" wheel locks, oil changes, state inspection/emission for life etc),

* State taxes, State 1 yr registration/tag

* Total for the “no surprise, true Out the Door Price”

Add to the checklist:

* whether quote is tied to financing: yes ____  no ______

* whether quote/purchase order has been authorized by general sales mgr or whoever authorized to approve: yes________ no ________  (name) ____________________

* add space for Comments:

* note that : customer has right to test drive and inspect vehicle prior to purchase

* Summarize:  Total "No Surprises" Out the Door Price


Also would help if

3) Customers had a way to rate and comment on experiences with dealerships.  We need to avoid bad ones and work with good ones.  Good way to encourage better practices. 




Thank you for sharing your car buying experience and for your ideas to improve the bar buying service. You have provided some very valuable feedback and some excellent ideas that I have passed along to the Auto Circle team. We are always looking to improve. Again, thank you for taking the time to provide some truly great feedback.