Mark Paterson — Houston, TX
When I came to Car Pal Car Buying Service, I’d already spent two months researching which car I wanted and how much I should need to pay. The problem was that the car I wanted, a Hyundai Azera, is not that common, and I couldn’t find anything I liked nearby within a couple of thousand dollars of the “true market value.” This left me looking at potentially driving hundreds of miles to check out vehicles on the off-chance they might pan out, or paying to have a vehicle transferred, with still no guarantee of quality.
In either case, there’s an issue of trust. When a vehicle is described as “perfect condition,” or “like new,” is it really? In my research, I found (via CarFax reports I had to pay for myself) dealers happy to sell cars that were wrecked, and even one offering a lemon, all without any notification to the buyer. The last thing I wanted to do was spend hours haggling with a professionally-trained extortion team for a car that might not be any good in the first place. The only option seemed to be to pay a premium.
It was quite by accident that I discovered Car Pal, and Lindsay, the car buyer’s agent, looking up negotiating tips one night. It appeared to be just what I was looking for — someone with experience to cut through the BS and bargain on my behalf; the potential price benefits of the negotiation model combined with a “no hassle, sign and done” approach. I’d already paid one of the big, overpriced, no-haggle conglomerates to transfer a car from Florida, since at least they gave a (very short) warranty on what they sold, and I’d had a good experience with them in the past. The car was not too badly overpriced, and with Car Pal’s guarantee of results, I felt I could fall back to the transfer car if Lindsay could not find me a better deal.
The fall-back strategy was unnecessary. Within a week, I saw the value for my trade-in go up $1000, then $2000, then $3000, and finally $3500 above the original offer, and Lindsay’s experience was paying off in other ways, too. We almost settled on a car in San Antonio, which is about a three-hour drive for me, but I’d told Lindsay initially that I was willing to go that far. Through persistent questioning, Lindsay got the dealer to admit that there was “a small area” of peeling paint. She then had them make a video, and it was obvious that the paint was peeling along the whole length of a roof rail. Finally, the kicker. Lindsay had worked me out a deal on a car $4000 below KBB, but the dealer would only do it if I could get there the same day, since “someone else was interested.” On the way to the dealership, Lindsay found out that the salesperson we were working with had quit that afternoon, and despite the car being promised to us, they were looking at selling the car to someone else. You really, really, really cannot trust a dealership to do what it says. Without Lindsay making sure that every detail was agreed, documented and ready, I would have driven four hours to pick up the car only to find it sold. As it was, I did buy the car, and I’m very pleased with it.
Through the whole process, I found Lindsay easy to deal with, sensitive to my inputs, and honest about the chances for success on any given car. I wondered beforehand, with the payment scheme being a flat fee, whether her incentive would be to find something she could push on me as quickly as possible. Working with her, I never got this impression. If she thought a better deal was possible, but not with the current dealership, she said so. I believe that if I had given her more time, she could have found an even better deal than the one I ended up with, but what I got was more than good enough for me, and I was anxious to get the deal done. The service Lindsay provides was well worth the price for me, and I will certainly be returning the next time we need a car.