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July 25, 2011

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I used carwoo.com and was quite pleased with the service. There are a few things to note, some of which may not have been obvious in that initial link.

1) it's free to the dealers and has some indicative value that you're a serious buyer (you paid $$ to use the service).
2) The dealers can see each other's bids so they are incentivized to be competitive.
3) They don't know your contact info unless you choose to give it to them, so you don't give it out to dealers who aren't serious about making a good deal. The service acts as a information firewall of sorts. (You can even talk to them on the phone and carwoo will deal with the call forwarding so they don't get your phone #).
4) You actually do put in your ideal make/model/specs/features. The dealers respond with what they have on their lots, and if it's not a good match, you can talk to them (again, thru the site), and let them know that the features don't match up with what you want, so they should respond with a better price or more features.
5)

I use costco and amex to get idea what the cheapest offers are out there, plus was incentives the dealer have. Then I email the dealers to ask for their price, let them go against each other, like you recommend and then when one is left standing compare it to the costco/amex price and take which ever is lower.

I'm considering using the Zag service which is available through a couple of the credit unions with which I do business. The only thing stopping me right now is how to handle a trade. I've tried with no success to sell privately (even though I think I reasonable on price, I only seem to draw tire-kickers), and Carmax (and similar operations) want to low-ball me. For those of you using remote negotiation services, how do you handle your trades?

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