Buying car from Fixed Price Dealer

Hi,
I am in Connecticut and am looking to buy a good condition certified used car (year 2000 and later, mostly Camry). I visited A1-Toyota a dealer that
does not negotiate the price. Personally, I really liked that, as I am always concerned about paying too much as I really would not know how much actually a used car will be worth.
Q. Please give opinion on fixed price dealers like this. Are they usually more expensive than others? Pros and Cons?
Thanks, Jay.
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Jay wrote:

I feel they are usually more expensive than the price you could negotiate at a conventional dealer, if you are a good negotiator and you don't mind the hassle. My credit Union has a car buying service. When I checked in the past, they had no trouble beating the new car prices offered by the local "no negotiation" Chevy dealer. I'd suggest checking with a credit union if you belong to one, and doing some internet shopping before just taking the "no negotiation" price. I don't see the advantage of buying a "certified" used car unless it also includes a warranty. And if it does include a warranty, you can bet the cost of the warranty is baked into the price you will be paying. Around hear we have a Hertz car lot and a Car Max lot that sell used cars using the "no negotiation" tactic. Their prices are generally lower than the KBB or NADA Retail price, but higher than I'd expect to pay for the same car in a private purchase arrangement. The Car Max peple are very nice, but I don't think their service is worth what it costs. However, it is hassle free compared to dealing with private party sellers who always seem to have an inflated opinion of what their car is worth.
Ed
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Jay
Having long been a consumer journalist -- in Connecticut, specializing in autos... I offer this:
Don't necessarily go for certified or fixed price.You'll probably pay more at a fixed price place. Find a late model car - Camry is a spectacular choice - at a new car dealer who sells that model, exactly as you are doing. Ask where the vehicle came from. Tell him you are looking for a vehicle traded in by someone local whom you can call, preferably one sold and taken care of by that dealership. (You can ask him for the repair records. You also can ask him to run the vehicle through the Toyota computer system to see if there are any outstanding technical service bulletins or recalls). This is the key for getting a great late model car. You WILL want to see the paperwork on the vehicle, the title (if he has it. It still may be in the hands of the former owner's finance company - which means the dealer may not have paid it off - some danger here) or any other paperwork, including the power of attorney document for the odometer (if there is no title).
The dealer may balk at showing you the paperwork, citing privacy laws, etc. Insist. (You also may find the former owner's name on bills or other paperwork in the glove box. Dealers usually look for this stuff before you do.) If the dealer won't give you the name, assume the car is a former rental, salvage, junk, flood, stolen, etc. If it is a former lease that he got through an auction, the dealer won't know the name of the former owner, and the paperwork probably won't show it. For best results, skip any car like this.
Before you call the owner, you might as well negotiate the price. That means you probably want to get the dealer's "best price" and then go home and check some of the automotive pricing web sites to see how ridiculous it. Then go back. When negotiating, make sure you find out all the add-on charges at that dealership... conveyance fees, door knob shining fee, mirror alignment fee, putting up with all your questions fee :o) etc. If you are happy with the price, call the owner and politely find out everything you can - the good, the bad, the ugly. You can order a history report from Carfax or Experian. But don't rely on the reports if they show nothing. You have to talk to the former owner. Try for a car with only one former owner.
The last thing you should do is have a good mechanic look at the vehicle - completely. He should be able to give you a written report for about $100
During the sale, do not get extended warranties (well, you can if it is from Toyota, but it really should not be necessary if you followed these steps). Don't get car wax, under-coating, windshield tinting, gas pedal buffing, dip stick glazing or tire pressure assurance plan :o)
If the dealer promises to fix anything but has to order parts, get the promise IN WRITING!!!
Be careful if you are financing. Look at rates elsewhere. Better yet, pay cash. Oh..............if you are leaving a deposit, put it on a CREDIT CARD. DO NOT write a check. Leave as little as possible. Don't sign any contracts until you are certain and have read everything.
These steps aren't as difficult as they same and will assure you of a fantastic used car. When I help people buy cars, these are exactly the steps we follow!!
Write back and let us know how you did.
Good luck.
--
Regards,
Anthony Giorgianni
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