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The only way to buy a car

  • Aug 17, 2009
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 I hate buying cars. HATE it. Seriously. It just plain sucks - you get bamboozled, screwed over, hoodwinked - and a load of other strange verbs that just make auto purchase a scarily miserable experience. Enter Carmax, whom I discovered by accident, and my impression of car purchasing was changed forever.

Check it out:
  • When you enter the store, nobody approaches you. Even to the point of appearing stand-offish for a car showroom, you have to go to their staff when you want someone. REVELATION! Can you imagine standing in a car dealer and not being harassed endlessly? It was an absolute joy.
  • No negotiation! Oh my God, this is as if Dell had bought Toyota. Go to the website, search easily and then see a price that you'll pay. Wow. Even after sales tax is added, the undisclosed charges were tiny ($150). Compare that to a new car dealer where you get delivery charges, finance charges, documentation charges, all followed by a Crippling Final Payment (CFP).
  • An easy transaction: alternative finance is offered, the paperwork is simple - nothing really extraordinary here except that it's straightforward.
So I now own a little 2007 Toyota Yaris with 19,000 miles for $13K including sales tax and all the fees. Compare that to nearly $17K for a brand new Yaris with 'new car charges'. Very happy. Love my Yaris. And this little thing does 39MPG so I'm just running on God's good grace at this point.

As a said before, when I buy my next car - it will be with carmax.

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July 07, 2011
I'm glad that you had a good experience. The best thing to do is to bring a good mechanic with you at the time of the intended purchase. You'll never regret it- even if there is a small charge for the inspection.
July 08, 2011
Good advice! Now of course all I need is one of the guys from Car Talk. :-)
March 10, 2010
There those that do have a good experience even with the bad things ion life, but, when it goes wrong at CarMax, it goes EXTREAMLY WRONG...                                                         Where can I start this nightmare??? First, I had the funds to purchase the vehicle I ALWAYS wanted, BRAND NEW, CASH MONEY... I found the vehicle listed online at CarMax in Huston Tx. After about a dozen calls and three days of dealing with that dealership to get pictures of the described vehicle with no luck, I asked for someone to go out and describe the vehicle to me, I got two hang-ups from them. I guess they were to busy for a $40,000.00 cash sale. I finally asked for the GM and DEMANDED the for him to go out to the vehicle and describe it to me since they were "TO BUSY" to post the pictures. I liked the vehicle so paid the $599.00 to have it transferred to California. I was told it would take 28 days, FIRM. I said that was fine, for the funds for the sale were also 28 days out. It arrived 14 days early and I was treated like I was lying about the funds and was asked for PROOF that the funds were soon to be available. I showed the deposit receipt for almost $94,000.00 and the funds would be available in 5 days. I was asked to give a check and it would be held for the five days and then deposited for the sale of the vehicle. THEY LIED..... The check was deposited the SAME DAY... and it BOUNCED TO THE MOON and completely RUINED my vacations because my account was in a multi-thousand dollar NEGATIVE amount... PLUS the day I did pick the vehicle up it looked like SHIT, I asked for it to be detailed and it was nothing more than rinsed off and not even vacuumed out. I was then apologized to PROFUSLY and PROMISED it would never happen again and CarMax, I was then asked to provide a cashiers check for the amount since the check bounced (CarMax's fault). I went to my bank and acquired the cashiers check as requested. In the infinite wisdom of CarMax, they REDEPOSITED the check when I had ALREADY taken the funds out in a cashiers check... SO, this check has now bounced for a second time... My checking account, for the second time, is now over $50,000.00 over drawn and checks are bouncing all over the place. I spent several hours on the phone and at my banks ATM doing damage repair for what CarMax had done to my account and had to re- deposit the cashiers check to keep other checks from bouncing, namely checks written to my daughter that they, employed by other banks, had any holds waived. Had these checkes bounced they would have lost their jobs due to CarMax's stupidity. CarMax Modesto PROMISES they will reimburse me ALL expenses... BUT what I am saying WHAT ABOUT THE INCONVIENENCE AND THE DEFIMATION OF CHARACTURE AND THE REPEATED TRIPS TO MY BANK AND THE "HOURS" SPENT ON THE PHONE WITH MY BANK AND CARMAX FOR THEIR SCEW-UPS? PLUS, WHAT IF MY DAUGHTEERS HAD LOST THEIR JOBS BECAUSE OF THIS? Total tally: Pictures of the truck... three days Arriving 14 days early and demanding proof of the money... Received the vehicle looking like SHIT... CarMax Deposited a check that was supposed to be HELD for five days.... Demanded a Cashiers Check THEN REDEPOSITED THE ORIGINAL CHECK... Almost causing the termination of my 3 daughters from their jobs as bank tellers... Can I express how angry I am with CarMax?????????????? Their incompetence is not measurable...... CarMax must start some MAJOR damage control RIGHT NOW!!!!
July 08, 2011
Ok... maybe you should write a review.
February 03, 2010
I may try this place, do they sell hybrids? Nice job
February 03, 2010
Thanks! Yes - they pretty much have everything. The great thing is you can check their inventory on carmax.com even before you set foot in the store.
October 27, 2009
Good review. I agree with you 100%. I worked for Carmax in Dallas/Fort Worth and Las Vegas both stores in Vegas and two store in D/FW. I was in business management and sales management, so I can tell you there are no games being played during a purchase. You are completely right about Carmax, there is no hidden commissions.....They do not finance in-house it is all done with major banks and you get to select the bank and payment you want as you see your approvals on the computer. The cars at times are a bit over priced but for the service and the guarantee that comes with the purchase is well worth the extra few dollars. I recommend it to everyone I know who is looking, at least as a gauge versus other dealerships. I left Carmax several years ago but they are always the first website and dealership I visit when looking.
October 27, 2009
Thanks for your comments! I completely agree - buying a car is usually such a nightmare that paying up a little for a predictable and honest experience is worth it.
August 22, 2009
Great review. Buying a vehicle online is really something I have never considered. Will definitely keep your advice on CarMax in mind the next time I am in the market for a vehicle which could be next year.
August 24, 2009
Thanks! I'm glad this was useful.
August 17, 2009
Wow, I've never heard of or seen a CarMax before but this sounds awesome!  I especially like your first and second points.  I read the wiki after I read your review and really liked this part: "On average, a purchased vehicle has 12 hours of work done to it before being put up for sale. Each car gets a 30-day warranty and a five-day free return policy".  What other car dealership has a return policy like that?  Or one at all?  My brother is in the market for a car, so I'll have to let him know about CarMax.

By the way, congratulations on your Yaris!  I'm a Toyota fan as well, and the Yaris is like the smaller, more eco-friendly version of my Camry!
August 17, 2009
Glad I could pass it on! I had previously only had experience of regular dealerships so I was pleasantly surprised. They seem to put serious attention into each car they sell so 12 hrs doesn't surprise me. It was especially good since.... - I could check their inventories online, with complete pricing etc. - I checked against the Bluebook for each vehicle. - They provided a complete history of the car. - I've promised myself to avoid GM/Ford/Chrysler since previous experiences were, well, pretty damned awful. On the Yaris, I was impressed to find both my father and brother (both car fanatics and big-car-happy) really liked it although I was expecting to find otherwise. So bonus points all around. Now my weekly San Fran-LA drive costs $28 in gas instead of $42 each way, so I'm a happy camper. :-) Anyway, check these guys out the next time you buy a car. A revelation, really.
August 18, 2009
Wow, that's great that you can check their inventory online. And my family has had really bad experiences with American cars, so they've pretty much sworn them for now (though my relatives in other countries see them as a badge of honor and keep buying them). I've never calculated how much my drives cost, but if you're saving $14 a week on gas, that makes for huge savings in the long term. Awesome! Thanks for sharing :)
August 18, 2009
Thanks for the feedback! :-)
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James Beswick ()
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CarMax is the United States' largest used-car retailer and a Fortune 500 company. The first CarMax used car auto superstore was opened in September 1993. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2009, more than 350,000 cars were sold; as of March 2009 the company has 100 locations.

The concept for CarMax was developed by Circuit City executives under then-CEO Richard L. Sharp for nearly a year in 1991 using the code name "Project X" and was also known as "Honest Rick's Used Cars" to those intimately involved in the planning. The concept was actually first proposed by a consultant hired by Circuit City to evaluate possible business opportunities beyond the scope of their consumer electronics locations.

While used cars has always been the main business, CarMax purchased the rights to locations from car manufactures such as Chrysler, Jeep, Mitsubishi and Toyota. CarMax also purchased an Auto Mall in Kenosha, Wisconsin that had additional manufacturer franchises, such as Ford, BMW and Volvo.

CarMax initially began with no fees. The concept was abandoned after it was determined that customers were not concerned about paying transaction fees for the purchase of a vehicle.

The typical CarMax store is approximately 59,000 square feet, carries an inventory of 300–400 vehicles, and turns its inventory over eight to ten times a year. On average, a CarMax location employs 40 sales associates.

On average, a purchased vehicle has 12 hours of work done to it ...
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Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia, USA

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