Success Story: Dana

Success Story: Dana

We love hearing about the successful car purchases that our members are able to make. Their stories perfectly illustrate that anyone can use Your Auto Advocate to save time buying a car while also getting a fair deal. Even better, our members often share that they’ve become expert negotiators, thanks to our tips and their hard work!

Today, we’re going to take a look at a recent success story from one of our members, Dana, to see how she used everything that she’s learned to find a great car at a great price.

Background: Research Pays Off

Dana was in the market for a Honda CRV in the Touring trim level. She found a nearby dealership that had a large used inventory with five or six 2020 Touring models that were essentially identical; each of them had less than 1,000 miles and a fair price.

One of the vehicles had more miles and was, therefore, cheaper, so that’s the car that Dana picked. She ran our Market Price Report on the vehicle and discovered that it had been on the lot for over 200 days. Our Market Price Report also showed an excellent negotiation score, along with a recommended offer price that was well within her range.

The dealership provided a free Carfax report that corroborated the information we provided, so she moved forward. Dana visited her credit union — which we always suggest — and obtained pre-approved financing. As a graduate of our Deal School, Dana felt prepared to head to the dealership.

At the Dealership: A False Start

When Dana arrived at the dealership, she was immediately approached by a salesperson. The vehicle she was interested in was found on the dealer’s lot (and was actually buried behind two other vehicles). Much to Dana’s surprise, all three cars had to be jump-started before they were ready to drive.

The test drive proceeded without issue, so it was time to talk numbers. Dana made it clear that she wouldn’t go over a certain price.

The salesperson returned with a quote that shocked Dana. Dana broke down each line for us:

“I did allow him to review each line item with me. The first line was the list price of the vehicle. The second line was $1.00 for a ‘free Lifetime Warranty.’ The third line was $1,299, which was the service inspection and reconditioning for the ‘free Lifetime Warranty.’ The fourth line item was $1,700, which was a package that included dents/dings/paint, roadside assistance, key fob replacement, and sanitization. So before they even added their $995.00 dealer fee, tax, title, and tag, the vehicle was now $3,000 more than listed.“

After they discussed each item in detail, Dana said she would absolutely not be paying that price. The salesperson removed some of the add-ons, but said they couldn’t remove the inspection and reconditioning fee, which was part of the “free” warranty. She refused to pay this fee.

Know what fees you should & shouldn’t pay: Car Dealer Fees: What You Should Never Pay When Buying a Car

The salesperson left and returned with the sales manager. They both talked to Dana, who felt like this was an intimidation tactic.

After discussing the numbers and having the dealer deny how long the car had been on the lot, Dana felt strongly that the salesperson and sales manager were only interested in negotiating up, not down. As such, she threw out an offer that she described as “ridiculous,” just to see what they would say. The sales manager said they couldn’t do that, and Dana left the dealership.

She still wanted a new Honda, so she headed home and kept shopping around. Her story shows that sometimes you have to say “no” and walk away. The best price might not always be at the first dealership you visit.

At the Dealership: Part Two

The day after the false start, Dana found an excellent used vehicle on a dealer’s website that was located two-and-a-half hours away. She reviewed the Carfax report, along with every picture and video available. She decided that it listed for a reasonable price.

Dana contacted the dealership and explained to the sales manager that she lived over two hours away, but that she’d be willing to make the drive. She told him that she already had her own financing and that the sales manager needed to come up with their best out-the-door price.

Fifteen minutes later, Dana had an offer in hand. The offer was actually $500 less than what we suggested in our Market Price Report. It looked great, so Dana headed off to the dealership.

When she arrived, a salesperson had already set the car aside for them, and they began running through the textbook sales tactics. Dana reported that the salesperson used some of the same word tracks she had learned about in Deal School, almost word for word.

Dana and her husband agreed that the car was a great purchase for an ideal price. It was a certified pre-owned Honda CRV EX-L. Even though it was a different year and trim than the Touring she had looked at when she visited the first dealership, she ended up saving $10,000 by leaving the first dealership and deciding on another car.

Dana reports that this car purchase was by far the easiest and least stressful purchase of her life. We love to hear it!

A Successful Purchase

We’re thrilled to hear that Dana had a much better experience at the second dealership. It sounds like it was worth taking a step back, visiting another dealership, and even buying a different car. Dana’s story shows us that it’s worth saying “no” when needed and that being flexible in your car choice can save you money. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Dana!

Success Story: David Lott

Success Story: David Lott


We regularly receive comments and emails from Your Auto Advocate members in which they share how they use our solutions to help secure an excellent car deal. We like to highlight these stories to inspire other members like yourself!

Today, let’s take a look at the experience of our member, Dave Lott. We’ll talk about the deal he received, how he managed to make it happen, and his unique experience in the F&I office.

Background: A Knowledgeable Buyer

Dave’s email shows that he has been thoroughly paying attention to everything that we have to share! He was after a 2021 Honda Pilot EX-L, which isn’t a rare vehicle (even amidst the ongoing chip shortage), so he secured quotes from two competing dealerships.

With both quotes in hand, he began negotiations. Let’s see what happened when he went to the dealership that offered him the best deal.

At the Dealership: A Steep Discount

Once he arrived at the dealership, he wasted no time negotiating. Dave was well aware of the microchip shortage and was concerned that it might impact his ability to get a steep discount.

Thanks to his insider knowledge from Your Auto Advocate, Dave was able to secure a selling price that was 14% below MSRP, with the final out-the-door price 6.5% below MSRP. We’re quite thrilled to hear that Dave was able to secure such an excellent discount especially amidst these market conditions. It’s worth calling out the reason why Dave was able to get this dealer to come down on price as much as they did: he had a second dealer’s quote. We highly recommend (especially for new vehicles) getting two quotes from two dealerships and having them compete for your business. That’s what Dave did.

We’re also impressed that Dave got the dealership to include a complimentary three-year maintenance plan, with four of the oil changes upgraded to fully synthetic oil.

Dave told us that because he got such a great deal, he was worried that once he got to the F&I office, he would be hard-sold. Let’s see what actually ended up happening.

In the F&I Office: Just Say No

When a typical customer gets to the F&I office, it’s simply another round of negotiations and sales attempts from the F&I Manager. For Dave, the F&I Manager pulled out “the menu” filled with add-ons and simply asked, “Do I need to go over any of this with you?” Dave replied with a simple “No,” and they proceeded to the actual financing.

That is a testament to how knowledgeable the dealership staff knew Dave was!

When all is said and done, Dave walked out of the dealership with an out-the-door price that was 6.5% below MSRP with a 0% APR for 60 months financing — well done, Dave! We love to see Your Auto Advocate members getting great deals with the knowledge they’ve learned from our team! Thank you for sharing your story with us, Dave!

Success Story: Misti Hardy

Success Story: Misti Hardy

We love to hear success stories from our members! Recently, we got an email from a subscriber who leveraged the Your Auto Advocate platform to expertly navigate the car buying process to secure a fair price to expertly navigate the sales process and secure a fair price for their brand-new 2021 Mustang GT.

We’re going to take you through Misti’s sales experience and examine the ways that she managed to deal with what seems like an unpleasant dealership.

We’re happy to share the buying experience of Misti Hardy with you today.

Background: Researching While Waiting

Misti visited the dealership in early November with a printout of the exact car that she wanted. She was in and out within 45 minutes, since the dealership had to order the car. She wanted a 2021 Mustang Convertible GT Premium with other specific features.

While she was waiting for the vehicle to arrive, Misti dove into our YouTube channel and learned everything she could about negotiating with car dealerships. During this time, there were several emails and calls with the dealership to check on the status of the car.

In January, she received a call from the dealership that her new Mustang had been delivered. It was time to enact everything that she had learned from Your Auto Advocate.

At the Dealership: A Sale Not Quite Complete

During the test drive, it was clear that the salesperson thought that the sale was in the bag. Misti had other plans.

Once they were inside, Misti told the salesperson about her pre-approved loan offers and asked if the dealership could beat them. At the same time, she asked about any incentives.

The salesperson went to the sales manager to retrieve the information that she asked for. Upon their return, the salesperson said that they could offer a loan and started talking about the monthly payments, which is a common closing tactic. Misti saw this coming and brought up incentives again. The salesperson said that there weren’t any available.

Misti pushed back on the price that she was being offered, which was strictly based on the MSRP. She told us, “I then went on to remind him that I had plenty of time to do research and said, ‘I know that included in the MSRP, there is a floor plan fee and a holdback that goes to the dealer.’ I then pointed out that when we ordered our car, I came to the dealership knowing exactly what I wanted and even had it printed up, which made his job even easier.”

Being a savvy shopper, Misti asked to see the vehicle invoice (an invoice sent by the manufacturer to the dealership). The salesperson acted as if he had no idea what she was talking about. Then, the salesperson said that there was no way the sales manager would let Misti see the invoice.

At this point, she had enough. She said she didn’t feel like she was getting a fair deal, and she would come back next month, when there might be more incentives to give her a fair price. This was a great strategy. After all, you should never make a purchase if you don’t feel you’re getting treated fairly!

Once she threatened to leave, the “nice guy” act disappeared and the salesperson said, “What is it going to take to make this happen today?” Misti said she just wanted a fair deal. She pointed out that when she initially ordered the car, she came in with a printout of the exact car she wanted and all they had to do was order it.

The salesperson responded by offering a price that was $500 over invoice. Misti replied that this sounded fair, as long as she could see the invoice to verify. After talking to the sales manager, the salesperson came back with the invoice and an offer. They ended up giving her a 3.29% discount off of the MSRP, which was a savings of $1,907. It’s great to see someone negotiate their way into some serious savings!

The F&I Office: A Terrible Experience

Now that the sales price was agreed upon, it was time for the final step:  Heading to the F&I office. Immediately, Misti could tell that the person she was dealing with might have been having a bad day. He was rude throughout the negotiation.

Misti had already secured a quote for a vehicle service contract from Your Auto Advocate and she used it to negotiate with the F&I manager. The manager said that since she had ordered her car, she could get a special discount on an extended warranty. Misti replied that she had a quote for a warranty that was $800 less than what the dealership was offering. “It’s from Ford,” was all the F&I manager had to say about the warranty that was offered by the dealership.

The F&I manager was clearly trying to get out of there because he didn’t offer any other kind of warranty or extended protection. In fact, Misti and her husband had to press him to add GAP insurance coverage.

Throughout the negotiations, the manager also made mildly demeaning comments about Misti’s name and other insults that came together to make the whole process a bad experience. However, once Misti was out of the office, the thrill of driving home in her new car overcame the unpleasant experience.

A Deal Well Negotiated

Misti showed up prepared with a vehicle service contract quote from us in hand. With another manager, she might have gone with the dealership warranty, but she was able to definitely save money on her purchase through us. She knew that she could refuse the dealership’s offer and still be covered through another company’s warranty.

On top of that, Misti really took advantage of things she learned from Your Auto Advocate. She didn’t fall for the monthly payment closing strategy and kept pushing back until she received a fair price for her vehicle. We’re glad that Misti was able to enact the things that we teach on our YouTube channel and secure a great deal on her vehicle!

Success Story: John Stubbe

Success Story: John Stubbe

We love to hear about the great deals our members secure using the things they’ve learned from Your Auto Advocate. One of our regular viewers recently reached out to us to share that they got a great deal on a Toyota Venza. They were able to buy the car with a great interest rate and knock several thousand dollars off the asking price using some of the things they learned from us.

Today’s buying experience comes to us from YAA member, John Stubbe. If you have a success story you’d like to share, please share it with us here.

Background:  Preparation Always Pays

John tells us that he first found our YouTube channel in November 2020. From then on, he was hooked. This year, it came time to buy a new car. He started by checking his credit scores to see what kind of financing he would be working with.

Before he went to the dealership, he visited his credit union and got preapproved for a $36,000 loan at 3.49% APR. Not long after, he found the car that he wanted, a 2021 Toyota Venza XLE.  He used our member tools to determine that the car had been sitting on the lot for 54 days, well above the 23-day average. He knew from our videos that it was likely that since it had been sitting on the lot for so long, he could use that knowledge to secure a lower rate.

Our tool also gave the vehicle a negotiation rating of 39 out of 100, showing that there wasn’t going to be much room for negotiation. John likes a challenge, so he proceeded.

With his homework done, he made plans to visit the dealership the next day.

At the Dealership: A Tough Negotiator

John arrived at the dealership in the afternoon and spoke to the sales director, who then handed him off to an assistant. They went to look at the vehicle and did a test drive. Everything seemed to be in good working order with the Venza.

The car was picked out, so John moved on to the next step:  Negotiating the price. He used one of our tried-and-true techniques to ask for the out-the-door (OTD) price and negotiate based on that. While the price on the website was $37,623, the OTD price that they came back with was an alarming $42,562.

It turns out that the car had several add-ons, such as clear coat protection, a clear bra on the front bumper, and other add-ons that John didn’t ask for. John blatantly said, “We’re not paying that price” and kept negotiating.

A half-hour passed before they reached an agreement on the price. The sales manager agreed to drop $2,600 in fees to help make the price more agreeable. With the initial negotiations done, it was time to head back to the F&I office for the final step.

In the F&I Office: Landing a Better Interest Rate

We were extremely interested in what happened at the F&I office, but John didn’t tell us too much. He did tell us that he managed to finance the Venza at a better rate than the one offered by his credit union – 2.94%.

When everything was said and done, John purchased the Venza for $35,354. That’s approximately $2,000 lower than the price advertised on the dealership’s website. We love to see success stories like these!

A Thorough Negotiation

We love that John was able to use the knowledge that he gained through our website to buy his new car for a great price. It’s stories like these that keep our team motivated to provide amazing tools to customers just like John.

We’ll end this case study with a short story that John shared at the end of his email:

“I had to go back the next day because they didn’t fill the gas tank up. The salesman filled the tank up, and as he handed my keys back, he looked me in the eye and asked, ‘You ever sold cars?’ I said, ‘Nope,’ and he then said, ‘Well, you should. You sure know your stuff, buddy,’ We laughed and laughed. I turned and I just grinned from ear to ear and walked away.”

If you’ve had a great experience buying a car because of our tools, let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

Success Story: Rebecca Silva

Success Story: Rebecca Silva

We love to hear stories from our community members when they’ve used Your Auto Advocate to score a great deal on their dream car. We recently received an email from one of our members who shared the recent experience she had when using our strategies to buy a new Toyota RAV4. 

Today’s buying story comes to us courtesy of Rebecca Silva.

Background: An Inexperienced Car Buyer Focused on Finding the Right Price

Rebecca started off her email to us with a bit of background information about herself. She openly admits that she is oftentimes too trusting, had never bought a car before, and was terrified of going to the dealership alone. At the same time, she had been following the content provided by Your Auto Advocate and felt empowered by what she had learned.

With a specific car in mind — a 2019 Toyota RAV4 with a weather package — she carefully followed the price of the vehicle. Using the Suggested Offer in the Market Price Report, she was able to determine that any price below $30,000 would be a fair price to pay for the car she had picked out.

One day, she received an email about a car that fit all of her specifications. Armed with information, she headed to the dealership. Rebecca even brought her laptop, snacks, and a drink so that she would be well-prepared for the long car buying process.

At the Dealership: A Tough Negotiator

Before she left for the dealership, Rebecca had two things in mind:

  1. Collaborative information sharing
  2. A fair price

Rebecca made up her mind that if the first condition wasn’t met, she wasn’t going to stick around to find out about the second one. This is one of the tips that we share often, and it’s great to see that she had the right mindset going in for her time at the dealership.

We’ll let Rebecca tell you the next part:

“After the test drive, I was asked the requisite question, ‘Did you love it? Could you see yourself in it? Wouldn’t you like to drive it home?’ I shrugged it off and said that the car was decent. The sales rep didn’t try to use any other emotional manipulation tactics on me after that. Thank you, Ray! I was well trained for that one!”

Not only did she nail that part of the sales process, but as financing was brought up, Rebecca expertly redirected the conversation to the topic that she wanted to focus on first.

Once she was ready, she asked for the service records and reconditioning report, based on another tip she had learned from Your Auto Advocate. Fortunately, the sales rep that she was working with was happy to provide this information, satisfying her first criteria for making a purchase.

At one point during the early negotiations, Rebecca noticed that she had been taken in by the “I’m your friend” routine. Thanks to her self-awareness, she was able to keep her head in the game and focus on getting the best deal possible.

Once she was ready to talk pricing, Rebecca asked for the out-the-door (OTD) price breakdown with an itemized list. She quickly noticed that there were several fees lumped together, so she sat down with the sales rep to break down exactly how they had reached the target number.

As a prepared shopper, Rebecca opened her laptop and compared the DMV title and registration fees with what she was being charged. She even took it a step further and showed the sales rep the Black Book breakdown and the Your Auto Advocate Market Analysis tool. They looked up the Kelly Blue Book price together.

Rebecca was told by the sales rep that they’ve never come across a shopper like her before…she told us that they said that three times during the course of their three-and-a-half hours together. We love to see our readers make a strong impression!

In the F&I Office:  Having the Freedom to Say “No”

Once it was time to move to the F&I office, Rebecca had a thoroughly broken down OTD price in hand and was ready for the final step of the car buying process.

Rebecca was in a position to buy the entire car outright with cash. However, she learned from Your Auto Advocate that it’s better to finance the car and pay the loan off a few weeks or months later. This is due to the fact that many dealerships have different prices for cash purchases and financed purchases, since they also make money from financing.

She proceeded to go through the financing process. Instead of negotiating over every item on the breakdown, she asked for a lump sum discount that would encompass some of the fees she didn’t agree with.

Thanks to all of her preparation and her use of tools to determine the right price, Rebecca knew to ask for $500 off of the final price. The doc fee of $115 and the VIN etching fee of $50.45 were both encapsulated in this discount request.

The dealership agreed to her $500 discount. Then, it was time for the F&I manager to make his pitches. Rebecca said “no” to every offer. It’s great to hear that she was confident and calm enough to reject every sales tactic. It took about 45 minutes for the F&I manager to realize he wasn’t making any further sales.

Did Rebecca Get a Good Deal?

We’ve often said that the best indicator of a good deal is how you feel about your purchase after you drive off of the lot. Rebecca felt like she got a great deal, which means that she did.

Rebecca used all of the tools available to her to research the car she had in mind. She kept an eye on market fluctuations and was prepared to pounce when a good deal appeared, which she did. Much of the knowledge that we’ve imparted through our videos and blog posts were able to be put into action, and Rebecca walked away with a great deal on a car she loved and none of the extras that she didn’t care about.

Overall, we’d say Rebecca got an excellent deal on her 2019 Toyota RAV4! If you’ve had a great car buying experience using the resources at Your Auto Advocate, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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