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How to Buy A Car

Do you absolutely hate going to the dealership and buying a car? Do you hate the games, the time wasted, the haggling and the long drawn out dance? It’s one of the reasons why CarMax has been so popular (we bought a car from CarMax just last year because they offered the best price and no dance), people just hate this silly game that dealerships make you play just to buy a car. The reality is that your average car buyer, who buys a car only one time every few years (hopefully many years if they’re lucky) is up against someone who sells cars every single day. We’re just not well equipped to battle in this arena, which is why buying a car when you’re a dealership, on their home field, is a mistake.

Here’s how to buy a car on your terms. First, you need to decide what car you want down to the very last detail. You’ll want make, model, year, trim, color, etc. Every single detail you could possibly want because you will want to put this down on paper and fax it to every dealership in your local area that could have that car. You’ll want them to give you their “best price” on this car because you’ll be buying it from a dealership within the next week. Ideally you’ll want to send this to as many dealers as you can because some won’t respond. Some will tell you to come in and you can chat, but avoid this at all costs. You can give them your phone number or your email address (a throwaway gmail so you can avoid spam) if you want but the goal is to get a bunch of prices. The prices should be all inclusive too, don’t let them add in extra fees afterwards. If they do, just walk out and buy from the second one on the list.

I first saw this strategy over ten years ago in The Motley Fool’s Money Guide [3] (published 2001) and they called it the Fax-a-thon method [4]. The same idea as the above except you do it by fax, never talking to anyone and doing nothing more than faxing a few requests. You will need a way to receive faxes with their method (it relies on not including your phone number so you don’t get bothered), but you can always send free faxes [5] using online tools. I next saw it in this video about how to buy a car using this same idea, except over the phone rather than over fax:

Have you tried this with any success?

(Photo: aldenjewell [6])