Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 13:32:46 -0500
From: Jim Causey <>
Subject: Re: AutoByTel: Waste of time

I agree wholeheartedly. In my case, I was planning on buying a 1999 VW Jetta GLS. My local dealer came down a bit, but wouldn't come down far, because the car was new and demand strongly exceeded supply. I probably could have negotiated better if I could afford to wait, but I couldn't. I registered a bid request with AutoByTel, and another with Microsoft CarPoint, both of which claimed that I would notified within 24 hours. Neither dealer called within 24 hours. The first (AutoByTel) called within 48, and offered me a price that wasn't even as good as the one I'd negotiated locally. He wouldn't come down at all. The second (CarPoint) only called over a week later, after I'd already purchased the car, and after I'd registered a complaint with CarPoint over how I had not been called. His price was also non-competitive. When I complained to AutoByTel about how the pricing was, essentially, worthless, I recieved no response. CarPoint did respond about me not being contacted, and eventually got their dealer to contact me -- but too little, too late. I suppose these services are good if you're trying to buy a car which isn't popular, constrained, or expensive, and you just can't negotiate prices yourself (I mean, SOMEONE must have had good luck with these services -- either that, or they just don't know their pricing information). Otherwise, though, I don't think they do much good. Lots of hype with litte value, IMHO. J.

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