Continuing our multi-part series on how to buy a new car without the hassle where we talked about CarWoo, a new car buying service focused on getting great deals for consumers, today we focus on Consumers’ Checkbook CarBargains. What is the Checkbook CarBargains service and how does it simplify the car buying process? We take a look.

CarBargains Differences

Consumers’ Checkbook CarBargains has several notable differences from other car shopping sites that promise to streamline the buying process and eliminate hassles. Some of these differences set CarBargains apart, at least from a competitive standpoint. Of course, consumers make the ultimate decision. Here are the CarBargains differences:

  • The service accepts no fees from dealers.
  • CarBargains allows consumers to either include or exclude dealers in their area, at the customers’ choice.
  • Every element of your car’s price you know upfront – right down to the penny. This goes for every dealer competing for your business.
  • CarBargains does not automatically subtract manufacturer to consumer rebates from your bids. You choose whether or not to use the rebate to lower your purchase price or to put the cash in your pocket.
  • This is the only service to provide a free, open and competitive dealer bidding process among at least five dealers closest to you. It’s this competition, says CarBargains, which produces the best price on your car purchase.
  • CarBargains only works for you and is only paid by you. It doesn’t work for or receive payment from dealers or advertisers.
  • CarBargains guarantees your satisfaction – or it will refund your fee. There are some stipulations. If you are able to buy a car at a lower price than the lowest price in your CarBargains report during the same bidding area and time period – and without using CarBargains information as leverage – CarBargains will refund its fee, provided you submit proof of your vehicle purchase at a lower price.

How the service works, what it costs

First, let’s cover the cost. You pay a $200 fee ($175 for Checkbook subscribers) for the CarBargains service. That may seem a bit steep, but CarBargains uses manpower to personally call and verify every detail of each bidding dealer’s quote, and double-checks it via fax.

How the service works is quite simple. You go to the CarBargains website and enter the make, model and year of the car you’re interested in buying. The service gets at least five dealers in your area to bid against each other for your business by committing to a dollar amount above or below factory invoice cost. Note: some dealerships may submit their bids relative to manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP). The current turn-around time on the site says three days, although the FAQs say the five-dealer bid return will be within two weeks.

What you receive includes:

  • Dealer quote sheets – showing each dealership’s bid and dealer contact name.
  • Factory invoice cost – showing what dealers pay for the base car and options.
  • Other useful/relevant information: low-cost financing options, extended service contract pros and cons, how to get a service contract for less than dealer price, the value of your used vehicle (based on description you provide), and more.

Next step after you decide on a dealer bid you like is that you contact the dealer and identify yourself as a CarBargains client. Select the specific car you want. Using the CarBargains information, determine the confirmed bid price on the car you want. Purchase the vehicle at the confirmed bid price. The CarBargains service says it maximizes availability by also confirming bids for cars in dealer inventory, through dealer trade, or by factory order (if applicable).

Is hassle-free car buying worth a $200 fee? Customer comments (from presumably satisfied customers) certainly make it seem so – particularly if they’ve saved hundreds more than the fee.

Bottom line: Consumers’ Checkbook CarBargains service is yet another way you can buy a new car without the hassle.

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