If I get an Internet car quote, do I have to buy online?

by Car Negotiation Coach

Many people have asked us this question.  The answer is simple, absolutely not!!!  Now if you want to buy a car online, there are some perfectly safe sites like CarsDirect, and they will give you a low price guarantee.  However, it’s certainly understandable that you may not feel comfortable dropping 10-30 grand into an online shopping cart.  We are strong advocates of negotiating online, and that almost always leads to a physical purchase at the car dealership.

The reason it’s in your best interest to negotiate online is that you can make multiple car dealerships compete with each other to offer you the best price on a new car.  If you were physically at a single dealership, there’s no competition and the salesman has far less of an incentive to give you a competitive price.  On the other hand, if you get Internet car quotes, each dealership knows they must give you a competitive offer.

Your best bet is to go to a dealership, take a few test drives, and then go home!  Get on your computer and negotiate over email with multiple dealerships.  Once you’ve settled on a specific car and price, THEN go back to the dealership to finalize the sale.  You’ll still have a chance to kick the tires and examine the merchandise before you sign on the dotted line.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

david daum

A car deal just canceled a quote he gave me on the internet by e-mail. He said he made a mistake. I hade already put a hold on the vehicle with a $500 credit card charge. Can he do that??

Car Negotiation Coach

Hi David, sounds shady! Sorry to hear that, but if it’s a comfort it happens a lot. It’s a ploy to get you on the lot ready to buy a more expensive vehicle. Did you happen to get the VIN# of the car in an email before the credit card payment?

I’m not a lawyer, but if you didn’t sign the papers yet, there’s probably not much you can do but move on to the next car dealership. However, they should definitely return that money to you if they don’t have the car they promised. Don’t let them convince you that you have to use it on another car on their lot. If you still have trouble, sometimes a nicely written letter/email to the owner of the dealership will go along way. (keep to the facts, don’t sling any dirt, consider copying a lawyer or mention you’ll be posting the experience with their dealership on line). They might offer you some other discount on another car instead. But my suggestion is to request your money back as quickly as possible and move on to the next dealership.

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