Costco Auto Buying Program: Scam or Good Deal?


I’m paranoid about getting scammed.

It’s almost to the point where I don’t even want to answer the phone out of fear I’ll accidentally blurt out my social security number to someone claiming to work at my bank.

When it comes to car buying, my guard goes up like I’m a schizophrenic at a CIA interrogation.

That’s why I was intrigued when I discovered an auto buying program at Costco. The company’s website claims Costco saves members a lot of hassle and an average of $1,000 off a typical transaction price. It works like this:

Members choose the make and model they’re interested in, then Costco refers them to a local dealer who shows the customer the vehicle’s invoice price, the MSRP, and the Costco no-haggle price.

A no-haggle price with built-in savings sounds pretty good on the surface, but still my paranoia wasn’t eased by browsing Costco’s website. Digging a little deeper online, I found a lawsuit filed in January by a New Jersey woman who says the program is deceptive.

Her main accusation, according the paperwork, is:

The Costco auto program is misleading and deceptive because its “members only” price is exclusively defined in reference to the “invoice price” of authorized dealers. The Costco auto program does not control the underlying invoice price, and its participating dealers can and do manipulate that price in any number of ways.

A-ha! I knew there had to be something. Everyone knows dealers try to squeeze every ounce of cash they can out of people, so if there’s a price they’ll immediately accept, they must have a good amount of profit built in. Still, I trust Costco….

So I decided to put its auto buying program to the test.

While I was shopping to replace my wife’s car a few weeks back, we looked at getting a 2009 Honda CR-V EX AWD. It was black with a window sticker price of $25,635. We got pretty far into the negotiations before they broke down over the value of our trade-in. The purchase price we arrived at: $23,600.

With this in mind, I contacted the Costco Auto Program with no intent of buying, but to research this story. I wanted to see how close their offer was to the price I negotiated myself. I filled out the online form and waited 24 hours. They never called. So I called the “specially trained” Costco-approved salesman I was referred to and asked what my price would be.

He asked me to come in and see the car. I told him I’d seen it already and just wanted to know the Costco price. I eventually convinced him I wouldn’t come in unless I knew the price was acceptable.

Then he told me: $23,900.

I admit, I was impressed. I came to the conclusion that programs like Costco’s just might be worth it if you’re the kind of person who cowers at confrontation and despises negotiation. The deal, at least in this case, wasn’t too bad!

If you’re a negotiation pit bull, though, go after ‘em, and take every hundred you can get!

Would you consider, or have you used, something like Costco’s auto buying program?


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  1. My experience through the program was terrible. I had multiple quotes from non-Coscto participating dealerships for a new 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, and had to haggle hard with the participating dealership (Larry H Miller) to get them to even get there price down to the other dealerships. Then at the end they tried to tack back on $1000 with needles services that I had to demand not to get. Then afterwards when Costco wanted to hear about my bad experience after replying to their survey, I couldn’t get any response from Costco and they are the ones that asked to me to contact them. I called the Costco Rep twice and sent an email with no response.

    I have hated dealing with the the Costco Auto Program and their “Certified” dealers. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone and would just suggesting shopping around and getting your own deal.

  2. I went to an Audi dealer one hour away. Asked for the dealer price and they said they already had the cars discounted. They were not going to budge on the price. I did not buy anything. I had planned on put a large amount down and finance the rest. The salesman asked what I wanted my payment to be. I said, I want to know what the price of the car is. I don’t want to talk finance until I know the price of the car. He would not give me that figure. Put it this way you don’t buy a house without knowing the price. Why should it be any different with a car.

  3. This article is 10 years old. Things change and improve!
    I called and received the participating dealer information which was 3 hours away. The nearest dealer is 1 hour away and we already test drove a 2018 RAV4 and received pricing from them. Costco gave me my pricing, $1000 under dealer invoice!
    Plus this dealer 3 hours away offered an exclusive limited lifetime power train warranty. Limited is to original purchaser. $0 deductible at this dealer, $100 deductible at any ASE certified shop. Only caveat is you have to have them inspect at 5 years (60 day window)
    So I contacted the dealer 1 hour away and asked if they could beat Costco pricing? They said best they would do was $611 below dealer invoice. So we drove 3 hours and purchased the RAV4. Wife is a happy camper. Happy wife, happy life!

  4. Thanks for the sharing this nice post… really it’s great post

  5. This is a SCAM. The dealerships PAY Costco between $250 to $300 a fee for customer referrals. I had to deal with this scam myself recently. What a scam!

    • I tried to buy a new Toyota Camry and they referred me to a dealership 65 miles away. I live on Long Island and there are 5 Toyota dealerships within 12 miles of my home. VERY, VERY DISAPPOINTED!!! Dr Gary

      • Have you noticed that Costco warehouses are limited? I am sure there are at least five other grocery/clothing/retail stores closer to your house than the Costco warehouse. And yet you go to Costco. Think about it.

  6. Costco wanted me to drive 95 miles to get to their “authorized dealer with costco representative” out of state while 20 plus dealers were found within the 50 mile radius. I told the dealer that i checked their inventory and the car that i wanted was not even on their lot. I called up costco and they wanted me to still go ahead and transact with that same dealer. What a joke.

  7. I feel like one of the best ways to get the best price on a vehicle is to email different dealers (in my case I emailed 8 different ones) and ask them for their best out the door price possible and compare prices and see if they can price match if the you feel that you need to go to a certain dealership. I also recommend using jelly blue book, Edmunds, auto trader, and truecar yo do your research. But do not submit your personal info as you will have countless phone calls and emails from some of those dealerships who retrieve your info. This has worked for me and hope someone can find this info of some use.

  8. We got a Costco price that was $6000 HIGHER than a price 10 miles away from another dealership not with Cosco . it certainly is a no haggle price because we’re not buying from them and we will never do a Costco deal . I called Costco and they said “oh “ I explained that I thought maybe there was something wrong and they said no , was there anything else they can do to help me ?

  9. I’m a car salesman that is Costco certified. The program is fair to the consumer and is designed to give you a “no haggle” price on the vehicle. If you want to spend hours of your time going from dealer to dealer to get a little bit better of a price each time? Go for it, please do not inquire through Costco and waste my time. Costco beats the other pricing services for it’s members as a benefit to them. The authorized dealer pays a monthly fee to Costco not a per car sold fee. The two most expensive things you buy in life is your home and cars. When you look at houses do you go to the owner and say “sell it to me at the lowest price”? No you make an offer. That is after you research house prices in that area and do your due diligence. Just like any other business a dealership is in business to make a profit.

    • Don’t waste your time!? Lol. Sounds like a typical salesman I dealt with using this program. I found the Costco salesman ignorant and acting like no one could match his price so I shouldn’t bother looking elsewhere. He didn’t bother getting back to me regarding questions. I ended up going to a different dealer and getting same car for about 1200 dollars cheaper with normal negotiating.

    • Buying a house is in no way like buying a car. In the home buying process there is transparency of similar homes sold and appraisals. The car buying industry has little to no transparency. Many car sale persons have absolutely no clue of how much a dealer makes on a car. Majority of dealerships start out trying to sell a car at MSRP instead of a reseasonable price. For this reason the industry will always be viewed upon poorly.

    • Sorry Gene but nobody feels sorry for you. People selling their home don’t make thousands of dollars from you for years down the road in the service department do they? No they don’t. I do my very best to make sure a dealership loses a LOT when they sell me a car and I tell them so “up front” so I don’t waste their time or mine and it seems to work “haggle free”. I’m going to service my car in their service department. That is where the real money is. Besides, too many other suckers fall for the “haggle free” garbage and the “nice experience” bull. The internet makes it too easy to get 10 dealerships to sell the ranch within 3 hours at the end of the month. Did I mention nobody feels sorry for you? Most people would realize you really aren’t saving them money if they spend the same amount of time doing research as they spend on facebook in a day. Good luck Gene.

      • Ha, that’s funny. You’re the guy who ends up buying the mis-ordered purple car with polka dot interior and wrong gears/options that nobody else wants. Thanks for cleaning up the aged inventory. loss leader.

        • Why did you have to go so low with comment. You lost argument and had to low blow to save any grace.

    • Cars depreciate immediately. A home, if owned long enough, will appreciate to one of
      your largest assets. Totally different. Plus, as noted above, there is printed proof of similar house (sq footage, style, lot size) sales in the area and the exact price paid. And most cars are a commodity, most homes, even cookie cutter on outside, are unique on inside with various upgrades. And yes, when it’s a buyers market, I have purchased homes by offering way under asking and eventually (through a broker) saying “what’s the best price?”. With the exception of a few models, it’s always a buyers market in the auto industry. And then most dealers add on this BS Dealer Doc fee! Like it’s my responsibility for you to pay the overhead in your business. That should be figured out in sales price, for that sleazy reason I try to pay 3% under invoice. And usually buy the typical 120k/8 year warranty that is offered for $2,800 at $800-$900.

    • Im a real estate agent everything is negotiable. Cars should be the same. I want the best deal as a homeowner wants the best deal they can get. As an agent I inform my buyers with Comparable properties so they can make a good decision when buying the home. In my opinion, it should be the same for cars. So I understand why we as buyers must do our own homework on Cars as the dealers are trying to sell their inventory they have. I also don’t want a car sales person to asking what payment I want. I want to know the price first so I can negotiate with my lender the best price on financing.

    • And just like any other buyer, a consumer is going to want the best deal they can get. Sales people are the reason consumer have to spend hours and hours. Consumers don’t have to do that with houses, they make an offer and then go about their day or week. Dealers try all kinds of tactics that waste consumers time, like holding keys and complaining about profit. If you want more profit, work a job that pays better. Notice how the tone of my response matches your tone. If i walked into a car dealership and had you as a salesperson, i would ask for someone else to sell me a car.

  10. I made my deal with the dealership and then said I needed a day to make sure I got the best price and shopped around. When I went to Costco that day to purchase groceries I saw a sign to check their auto purchase plans so I called and they listed the car dealer I was planning to use. When I went back to the dealer and agreed on the price I was satisfied and he started with the paper work I mentioned that I also had a Costco Membership and would like the discount on the agreed price. I got it and saved a great deal of money and was satisfied. I felt Costco certainly lived up to their claim and was very helpful in every aspect of my search.

  11. This was a waste of time. I purchased a $43,000 vehicle through the Costco Auto Program, and was disappointed. The actual discount was adequate, but it wasn’t any more than I could have gotten at any dealership. This is new car #11 for me, so I’m not new to the buying process, and pretty much know what to expect. What made it so disappointing is that Costco claims they have only 1 Kia dealership in Ohio, so I had to go quite a distance from my home. I would have never purchased a car so far from home, for the same price that I probably could have gotten it from the dealership that is very close to my home. But the dealership didn’t even show us the price until about 2 hours into the process, and I just wanted to get it over with at that point. Now, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t have the guts to negotiate, then by all means use this program. But I will probably never use it again, unless the dealership is very close to home. And oh by the way, indicates that I should have gotten it for less. That may or may not be true.

  12. I’m enjoying reading all of these posters comments. There are a number of car buying services out there, so there is really no harm in checking each out. Costco is a good service, but read the details, since every car may not qualify for the best discounts. Shop around and compare. I didn’t see anyone mention The Car Pro Show price. No haggling and satisfaction guaranteed, and I don’t work for them.

  13. Invoice, shimvoice!! The invoice you’re shown at the dealership is RARELY the amount they paid for the car. Ever hear of year-end holdbacks? Ever hear of hidden incentives to dealers that they don’t reveal to you? Manufacturers reward high volume dealers with kickbacks. Try this test if you don’t believe it: check internet prices for a few dealers that stock a very few # of units of the car you’re interested in, then check prices for dealers that stock 60-80 units. Most of the latter will be 1000’s less in price.
    A gimmick like the Costco buying service may get you a price near the invoice, but it’s dollars to donuts you can do a lot better than invoice if you try.
    I’ve been checking Chrysler Pacificas. The Touring model has a base MSRP of $31,490; the invoice is $30,660. I can buy it at any of several dealers for a hair over $24,000. A high end Limited with MSRP of $43,490 invoices at $41,820, but can be had for about $34,800.
    So go ahead and congratulate yourself for buying at or a little below invoice. I don’t think you’re getting a great deal.

    • The deal I got was good but I had to work at it I joined consumers reports and was quoted price 10% less than Sticker .
      I used my Costco car buying service found a dealer near my nearest Costco.
      I went to the dealer identified by Costco found the woman identified to me as their Costco sales person took a test Drive then she wrote down their offer to me .
      She gave photo copy’s of what could offer I told them I would work the numbers and get back to them .
      I compared the consumers report 10% off and the Costco saleswomans 5% off and talked to the customer service person at the Wharton nj Costco they told they were not involved but to call the car buying service.
      They were polite and helpful .
      I called the Costco car buying service and explained the situation and that I had told the car dealer .
      The Costco car buying service identified me by my Costco member number . We went over the car I specified Costco car buying service if the car dealer they recommended had given me a copy of the dealers offer and Said yes . Then the Costco car service asked if the car dealer had given me the official Costco buying service document identifying me as a Costco Member with my name priinted on the offer.
      I said the car dealer had given me a copy of a blank piece of paper
      Was Not the official Costco car buying document.
      They told me to stand by and that they the Costco buying Service would talk with the Dealer I then proceeded to walk around the Costco store for 90 minutes until I got a call back .
      The Costco car buying represented that the dealer might have been trying pull a fast one and said I should go back to the dealer for a better price so I did talk to the sales person she explained there was a mix – up and my new price was 13 1/2 % less than the sticker price which I then agreed To .
      Three days later I went to pick up the car I spoke with the sales person that showed me the car I wanted in my color choice and then turned me over to the CLOSER who then tried to get me to pay additional 500 for key insurance Magic gloss coating and a couple of useless addons I refused all offers and got the car at the 13 1/2 off sticker price.
      Never buy a car in one trip to the dealer , consumer reports cost me $20 to get a good ball park on the price and Costco performed in an excellent manner. Buyer beware there sharks out there

    • Thank you for your comment. I knew I wasn’t going crazy. The Costco referred dealerships were trying to get me in there without giving me the price. There are too many dealerships to go thru these types of hassles. I’m going to keep working on getting the best deal.

    • Duane, I just started looking at Pacificas and am NOT experienced at buying new cars. Can you say more about how you found/negotiated such savings off of the invoice? Thanks for any tips.

  14. I have bought 2 cars through the Costco program. 2002 Malibu and 2013 Camry. Both no hassle and at least $1000 below what an individual could negotiate. Called in the morning, drove the new care home mid afternoon. You must understand that the Costco pricing is for cars in stock at that dealer — which is why sometimes it’s far away. Dealers swap inventory nationwide so that is why the dealer or manufacturer website shows a lot larger selection, but it costs $500 to $1500 to get a distant car and you might find that cost as a nasty surprise when signing the papers. . There are good dealers and sleaze dealers. Like AARP, Truecar, Consumer Reports, Sam’s Club — Costco does not sell car, they rely on the dealers in the program to follow the rules. And some dealers don’t follow the rules — lowball your trade in, pad the car with paint sealant, scotchguard, pin stripes, etching the vin # on the glass, high pressure games where the novice salesman gives a too good to be true price, then the mean sales manager finds there was a $2000 error in your favor, threatens to fire the guy right in front of you, etc. All Costco can do is terminate bad guys from the program…I hope all the people with complaints contacted costco. But most of the complainers did not complete the costco deal..they found a better deal on their own. Can an individual person have more price cutting clout than $100 billion a year Costco.? If so, Costco would not even exist. .. All rebates, incentives, special financing come off the Costco price. The lower advertised prices you see always have a disclaimer ALL REBATES TO DEALER. And the rebates that should go to the buyer — and you actually get 100% through costco, go to the dealer instead and the cheaper price is only about 60 to 75 percent of the total rebates. I even see fine print where the advertised bargain price applies only if you finance through the dealer..if paying cash add $1000. Obviously the dealer is padding the finance charges by at least $1000 It’s safe to say almost all the people who think they found better deals actually found worse deals….

  15. Hi all, around 11 years ago I did buy a Toyota SUV via the Costco “program”. I haven’t any idea if I got a good price but I thought it was a good place to start. Yes, they did manage to squeeze every dollar out of me that they could, running after me as I started to drive away in frustration. God it’s awful.
    I think that the dealerships have a way to share info. on potential/active customers, and that may explain why one of the first writers here found that he got the same price with the Costco “program” as he got when he’d gotten to the bottom line price with the first dealer. I think they have a database and they all share the info. to make sure they don’t undersell each other.

  16. I used the Costco car buying program. I was given a dollar amount for the car and trim level I chose on the Costco car buying website. It stated that I would get that price or a better deal from the dealership However, when I went to the BMW dealership, I did not get a price from them. I test drove a vehicle and was not ready to buy because I wanted to look at different vehicles from other manufacturers before I made a decision. So, I never found out what they would sell the car to me and they did not have a car with the specs that I wanted and could not find it in the whole US.

    I did get several emails from Costco asking how my experience went. I would call Costco to let them know what happened if you had a bad experience. The website says they select dealerships who meet strict requirements so Costco should be told about any bad service you received.

  17. As always reading thru many comments is very interesting! AND there are many for and against the plan or item or store. Still it is educational!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Step up and discuss and ask good questions!!!!!!!!
    Best of luck!!

  18. Bought a Chevy Malibu 2017 and didn’t even know about the Costco program even though I’m a member but the GM dealership said I would be getting a Costco gift card and ended up getting the gift card
    The gift card helped but it goes to fast for spending at Costco
    Costco is expensive and half of the time I spend it on gas and tried not to get too expensive food or items
    For the gift card and said to myself what the heck did I spend it on and have nothing to show for.

  19. I agree with your conclusion “I admit, I was impressed. I came to the conclusion that programs like Costco’s just might be worth it if you’re the kind of person who cowers at confrontation and despises negotiation. The deal, at least in this case, wasn’t too bad!”

    Howmany of us have the information, courage and patience to deal with these sales people and their dirty tactics? For common man who wants to save time and not to be stressed out, this is worth trying. You always have an option to walk out if its not in our favor.

  20. Costco is good at selling cheap imported products, which are usually a better deak than going to target, etc…why costco would get involved with car dealers ( traditionally sleezy, liars) makes me believe than costco is in it for the money (kickbacks from the dealers). Costco stands behind their products because they buy bulk but the auto purchase program is a scam because coastco does not run it, the slimy dealers do…BEWARE

  21. Looking at 2017 Mazda CX5 Touring and 2017 Hyundai Tucson. Dealer price when we visited to test drive and Costco price they quoted after I emailed about costco price is as noted below.

    2017CX5 Touring: $25,312 quoted during visit (no negotiation- this is just the upfront price they quoted)(different dealer than the Costco auto partner)
    Costco Program quote: $25,400

    Tucson: $20, 500 quoted during visit (no negotiation- this is just the upfront price they quoted)
    Costco Program quote: $20, 150

    • Was this with any packages? What was the out the door price? I am in the market for the cx5

  22. I started by looking at the
    Honda CRV. I submitted a request and I end d up knowing the dealership. They are known for not liking to haggle. It’s a take or leave it and they feel because it’s a Honda they have the upper hand. I actually had purchased (non Costco program) years ago. When I wanted to trade that vehicle in they didn’t care I was a return customer and the deal was awful. I said we would walk and the rep and sales manager told us “go ahead. We sell Hondas. I ended up going to Nissan and haven’t looked at another Honda since 1991.
    But now I need an amazing deal. I know what Consumer Reports thinks of the vehicles and Honda isn’t at the top.
    What I wasn’t expecting was that by asking about the Costco program that I would be called by 3 different sales rep-8 times in 36 hours. I was home sick with laryngitis and couldn’t talk. So I wrote them and it was the craziest, most off putting experience. These sales reps were climbing all over each other. Then the sales manager starts send me stuff. I asked what the lease price was and was told “I’m not sure I know what you mean” seriously!!! Don’t know about lease price? He had already quoted the total, end price, walk out the door price. So the sales manager was probably iratated that he now had to give a better price since he had already showed his cards.
    Anyway, I haven’t even driven the vehicle yet and I don’t even know if I want to. I hate the stuff they were doing. When this one rep called and asked if I had talked to anyone yet, I said yes. Instead of leaving it, she starts in about have I gotten the price in writing, have I signed anything, and I couldn’t get a word in. And being sick and having such a hard time communicating just made all of this a nightmare.
    I have no idea if Costco knows that this is what’s going on. It left a bad taste in my mouth about Costco and I normally love Costco. I think I’ll try Toyota and not you the Costco program.

    • I know what you mean Elizabeth M. We just purchased a CR-V from a local dealer whose final price including my trade was $4,000 less than what the dealer that Costco was going to refer me to quoted me as out the door. I couldn’t believe the difference. Costco’s price from them surely wouldn’t be much better. They were the dealer we bought our last Honda from and they definitely are not loyal to their previous customers. Every other dealer we went to whether it was Honda or not offered us more than double for our trade.

    • I also had a real bad experience with trying to buy a new Chevy truck. Called two or three dealers and they would not give me any real information unless I would come in and go through all the sales games. At one point the sales person hung up on me. I called CostCo and they just didn’t care and wanted to just push me to another dealer. Did everything on my own, got a great deal and just paid cash. I love CostCo, this program is a scam. I don’t trust them. Do your own homework and make your own deals.

  23. I just purchased a new Subaru Forester through the Costco program, and got the exact quoted price. I had to drive 90 miles to the dealership, but they were perfect! I am very happy with my experience! IMHO, the dealerships some reviewers are dealing with are the dirtbags, not Costco. The one I bought from did everything exactly as Costco presented.

    • I agree Costco isn’t a dirtbag. But my question for Costco is why are they letting their auto program get tainted by some bad dealerships. Ones that claim they are giving a good “Costco” deal.
      One review I read the deal was $300. And the person had to drive a long distance and the whole thing wasnt as easy as it should have been.
      My experience so far doesn’t make me think much of Costco and I love Costco.

    • Hi, I am looking for a Forester now…how do you like it, and which option did you get? May I ask how much you paid with the program? Thank you so much.

  24. I just bought a Subaru Crosstrek using Costco auto program and couldn’t be happier. The price is better than TruCare price and I saved a lot of time. Great experience!

    • I am looking for the similar car. Can you please share which trim and what was the price?

    • I am considering buying a Subaru Crosstrek limited. And I have been trying to find out what the Costco price would be before asking the dealer to show it to me. Would be willing to share with me the crosstrek that you bought and what you paid for it. I am a also a Costco member. Thank you

    • Hi, I am planning to purchase the same car, would you please tell me which model and how much did you get it for?

  25. I agree with the people that were disappointed with the Costco Auto Buying Program. It was more like a bait and switch than anything. Nothing seemed to be like they originally said–nothing! I feel very sorry that I went this route.

  26. Anyone have experience with the Costco Auto Buying program in the Columbus, OH program when looking for the highest trim level of a Honda Fit or a Subaru Impreza? I’m a pretty tough bargainer, but haven’t had to buy a car for a number of years so I’m probably rusty ?.

    If you haven’t bought those particular models, but have bought Hondas or Subaru through the program were there dealerships that were helpful or a waste of time.

    Thanks in advance.


    • The Costco Auto buyer is through Roush Honda in Westerville, OH. Idk the Subaru dealer.

  27. I recently use this car buying program. I’m not impressed at all and rather highly disappointed in Costco partnering up with GM to get their members to walk into GM dealerships to get scam by the car dealers. I went into a Chevy dealer and specifically asked for Supplier Pricing. The price came back to me was $2000 more than what was offering me. Bottom line, this program is a bait and switch. You will not get any special pricing at all via this Costco GM partnership. This is just a gimmick to get you into a GM dealer. Once you are in there, it will be just another bad car buying experience in negotiating with them. I hope Costco will do something about this bait and switch program by GM and its dealerships.

  28. For us, the Costco program worked well – but at the same time we knew that no company will look after your interests like yourself. We used Costco to get a very nice deal on my wife’s new 2014 Camry Hybrid. The Costco price was a bit above invoice, and was as good as the internet quotes I got from dealers within 100 miles (we’re in Tucson and bought from Precision Toyota, but had contacted dealers in Phoenix). During this process, though, she also looked at the Accord (Honda dealer right next to the Toyota dealer) and his Costco price was just $500 under MSRP! Said Costco didn’t allow him to go any lower (we giggled) so we thanked him and left. I am amused at comments saying people are disappointed that the price was not the true dealer cost (because dealers wouldn’t be in business for long, would they?). All the Costco price will do is give you a starting point, and in some cases may be acceptable (it was for us – we didn’t have to drive 200 miles round trip to Phoenix). Since it can’t hurt, and can only help, I don’t know why people who are members don’t use the service.

    • I had a poor experience through Costco. I can, in fact, get fleet/supplier pricing through my employer and through USAA membership. Those prices are the same (or maybe less) as what Costco related dealerships offer. I used the Costco referral because I was suppose to get a $700 Costco gift card promotion. I was considering several cars and got referrals to several dealerships with Costco relationships. However, the vehicle model I picked ultimately did not qualify for the $700 promotion. Costco did a poor job of advising me that the promotion was only for certain models. Also, Costco hasn’t been at all helpful in trying to resolve the situation or make me any offer for the sake of good customer service. I ended up going 1 1/2 hours away from my home to the “Costco dealership” even though there is a dealership 3 miles from my house. If I knew I wouldn’t get the $700 Costco gift card there would be no reason for me to go 1 1/2 hours further. In fact, the monthly lease payment at the Costco dealership ended up being $8 more per month then I would have found locally. The Costco auto customer service agent told me they could supply with a discount coupon for 50% off service. That’s ironic because I just bought a new car that doesn’t need any service, but also because I can log on to Costco auto and print out the discount coupon for 50% off for service.

  29. Perhaps Car Gurus should check with someone other than Toyota and Honda owners. The program between Costco and Cadillac that is currently available is 100% above board and you will hear NO complaints from anyone that uses it or has used it in the past, members even get a $300 to $700 gift card from Costco if they use their membership to redeem their special price. All of the groaners on here don’t know how to read OR negotiate

    • I agree with you 100%. I recently purchased a 2016 Cadillac Escalade ESV and thanks to Costco I got a great deal! Without Costco my payments easily would of been at least $100 higher

  30. This program is a scam. It is just different form of bait and switch. That car isn’t in the program anymore. They want you to buy on lot. The Costco Rep is just a guide.

    • Look people, this is as good at as it gets with car purchases. You can do what I did as a executive member. I got the quote on the new Toyota, thing was the dealer at that time was 90 miles away across two counties. No way was I driving 180 miles round trip. I went to the local Toyota dealer, built the same vehicle and started to negotiate. After not getting anywhere close to the Costco price, I finally offered 100. Less than the Costco price. Said take it or I’m gone. They asked about the price, told them that I’d purchase through Costco. They came back 100. Over the Costco quote. I took it, and saved a 180 mile trip. I plan on using this on my next purchase.

  31. I just purchased a new 2016 Ford Flex through the Costco program. I figured I saved about $1500 over what Kelly Blue Book said was a fair price to pay. The only drawback was I had to drive 50 miles to the nearest dealer involved in the program and since the car I opted for wasn’t on their lot I will have to go back in a few days to pick it up. When comparing prices you need to make certain you are comparing apples to apples. Vehicles come with so many different options and packages you may not be comparing identical purchases. This can be tricky so some folks who don’t believe they were offered a good deal may be a bit off in what they are actually comparing. I would recommend any Costco member to at least consider the Costco option. I didn’t ask for a quite over the phone so I can’t speak to that issue.

  32. I had a great experience with Costco auto program. We went into an local Mazda dealership (Walker’s in Renton WA), showed the salesperson my card, test drove the car we want, he displayed the Costco price sheet. It was $400 below invoice, plus took another $1500 discount due to their promotion.

    So the final price we paid was almost $2000 below invoice, they even detailed our car for free! Since we came with a 13 month old, he gave us a free rental car to get home and then he delivered our new car to our house an hour later with balloons!!!

    Of course I got lucky since our car’s Costco price is lower than other popular models, but I certainly enjoyed the purchasing process and I will recommend it to everyone.

  33. I just bought a 2017 Toyota Camry LE from Livermore Toyota Dealer thru Costco Auto Purchased Program last Labor Day (09/05/2016) where they offered a $2500 rebate for a new late modeled Camry (2016) and $2000 rebate for a new 2017 Camry “plus” Costco member discount and Labor Day discount. Bottom line, I was able to get the whole discount by exactly following the Costco Purchase Program instructions.
    By the way, thanks a lot to “MAGALE” AND “ANITA”…
    Should you have any question/s, just throw me a message at er31naldo and I’ll be happy to guide you.

  34. In 2005, I bought my new car through the Costco buyer program. It did not require an upgraded membership for Los Angeles area residents. The price I got was lower than my credit union broker could obtain. She was surprised my price was about $200 less than hers.

    I did a lot of research on the car I wanted this time. In filling out the application online, one of the choices through Costco included a special optional safety package which I was willing to pay for. Costco had already negotiated a price for that. My price was $500 below the invoice cost, $2657 below MSRP. The exact car I wanted was on the lot in Glendale, CA, and the Subaru had a special interest rate of 0% for 48 months. Although I was just planning to test drive the car, I bought it. I am entitled to complete the Costco survey to obtain a 50% off coupon for $200 off service and parts at the dealership. In addition, they have a 15% off deal for service and parts. The people at the dealership were very polite and didn’t pressure me at all. They showed me the invoice and showed me the price sheet without being sneaky at all.

    Over the years, I’ve told others to try the Costco program. Those who did later told me they loved it and would recommend it to others.

    • That is odd, I am also looking at Subaru, and the Costco price I was quoted from the antelope valley dealership was $500 ABOVE invoice, and $300 more than the quote for the same car from the santa monica dealer with their ‘we can do better than the Costco price’. The MSRP antelope valley lists for this car doesn’t match the msrp on the Subaru build your own webpage, OR the msrp listed on the Costco site (Costco matches Subaru build your own). And my original email with this dealership they told me the Costco price was $275 over invoice. So I am not sure if this is dealership shenanigans, the online sales guy is an idiot who thinks I can’t do math or research, or there is other equipment on this car that they didn’t tell me about. In any case, I am unimpressed.

  35. We are deeply disapointed in the Costco Auto Buying Program. In all honesty, is Usless, Wastefull of Time and SHAMEFULL THAT COSTCO DOES BUSINESS THIS WAY!!!

    – I will NEVER RECOMEND ANYONE TRY THE Costco Auto Buying Program.

    – The nearest Toyota (Costco Authorized) dealership to Deleware, Ohio is about 145 miles away in Cincinnati, Ohio…(Beechmont Toyota) “Save With Dave” (David Roth – Fleet Manager) WHAT A SAD JOKE!!!

    – When talking on phone with dealership, they refuse to provide to you a Costco price sheet. They only give to you what they represent as their factory invoice.

    – When you ask to find out/figure out the payment,…they insist that they are not allowed to do that over the phone. You have to drive the 145 miles to ask them face to face.

    – When you get there, they tell you that they will only sell the car to you for $100 less than their invoce…(NOT DEALER COST).

    So you end up spending half your day, driving nearly 300 miles and spending 30’smthing dollars in fuel…(for what,…$100 dollars?!??!!!)

    Oh yeah,…you get down there and they dont have the car in stock (Forgot to mention that to me before I drove all that way/WASTED MY TIME),…and that since they do not have the car in stock,…they dont have the actual invoice for the car. AND SINCE THEY DONT HAVE THE ACTUAL INVOCE,…then they cant show you the “Costco price sheet” for the car. WHAT A SCAM!!!

    Once they come up with the pricing (Your SPECIAL COSTCO Pricing),…its nearly $80 MORE per month than the deal we had arranged down in Columbus, Ohio!!!

    Stait Up – Point Blank,… The “Costco Auto Buying Program” is as sleezy, if not sleezier than its “Costco Authorized Dealers”.

    Completely Worthless WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. We are in the process of choosing a new Hyundai and I have been gathering current prices although we will not be actually making a deal for almost 4 months when our current lease expires. The local dealer sales rep asked if we were COSTCO members and showed me a current list of hard COSTCO discounts by model and year. We were eligible for flat $500 off on top of the laundry list of other running discounts.

  37. I found the car I liked at a local Kalamazoo, MI dealership and called the Costco auto program number and registered. I got a call from the Costco authorized dealer in Elkhart, Indiana some sixty miles away in another state! So much for their membership buyer program, it was absolutely worthless! I would have traveled to a neighboring city with a dealership, but not sixty miles. Their program is an insult to members who pay a premium to obtain their membership.

  38. Have gone through this program. Not found it worthy. You can get better price if you shop around. The really bad experience was at the end of the deals when I added accessories. They charged me over the price quoted by them and when I asked the dealership about the discount then he emailed me that they have alredy discounted the price and not included in the bill. They raised 30% over the bill and emailed back that this is the discount you get. At the end they charged me more then the price quoted even after giving the discount.

  39. I went to a Keith Pearson dealer in Orange park Florida and was dismayed by one of the sales manager tactics who wants to charge with more using the MSRP posted in the car($40,000 +) and not the actual price range showing in the COSTCO site. Even mentioned that the CEO of COSTCO is the one who negotiate the savings i’m supposed to get. I left and bought a car from another dealer.

  40. Costco Auto Program is a big waste of time.

    They have me going all over San Diego to visit dealerships that don’t honor the Costco Auto Program Pricing and dealerships that don’t have the cars they have listed on the Costco Website. I called into the Auto Program and the Reps were unhelpful and rude.

    I do not recommend the Costco Auto Program.

  41. I am bit skeptical of the Costco program. They work for the local dealers in your area, and don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind. I am an Auto Broker, I have been able to beat almost every Costco price that has been put in front of me. Good Auto Brokers focus on only the best price possible, not enough just enough to catch your interest.

  42. I couldn’t wait to purchase a car through the Costco Auto Program. Unfortunately the only Kia Dealership that participated in their program (near my location) turned out to be a dishonest and deceptive.. Purchasing a vehicle from YONKERS KIA has been one of the worst experiences ever. They’re buying incentives were fraudulent and misleading.
    Typical bait and switch practices. Costco should be more careful of who their participating car dealers are. Make sure you read all dealer reviews before using the Costco auto program.

  43. We tried the Costco car buying system but the dealer was cagey on the actual invoice amount and also tried to leave out a factory $500 cash back offer. In the end, we had to resort to old fashioned car price negotiations just like always. For our next car we’ll check TrueCar and Kelley Blue Book for a good price and negotiate for ourselves.

  44. @ Costco Auto Program
    Hi, @costcoautoprogram!
    I just had a dealer referred to me by costco tell me the car I wanted isn’t part of the program. What? It was on the Costco list online… What to do?

  45. Hello, we filled out the online Costco deal and was contacted by the San Tan Hyundai dealership in Chandler, AZ. We were looking for a certified used car. We were there 5 hours. we told them the amount we could spend monthly and they kept trying to put us in a lease for a new car and never mentioning the Costco deal. finally we pursued a used car and got a pretty good offer for a used 2013 sonata. The paperwork was done and I was asking what about Costco deal? Sales person said oh well this is a better offer. She stated it would be $500 under a published price (which none was published for this car). After comparing to other dealerships, the cost we paid is close to what other dealerships would charge, but I went away from that experience wondering about the Costco deal.

  46. I tried using the costco buying program at their recommended Toyota dealer in Puerto Rico. I worked backwards i got their quote and final price then i went to different toyota dealers. I negotiated a better deal at two out of three toyota dealers in the area and i went back to the costco preferred dealer and they declined to lower the price. The tag and title was $250 more than other dealers and the extra add ons i wanted were $500 over. Don’t fall for this scam .

  47. I upgraded my Costco membership to executive to get the car buying option. I had been working with a dealership but I wanted to best deal. I had a quote from San Tan Honda.. Costco sent me to Superstition Honda. The amount from Superstition Honda was higher. Showed me the invoice and the Costco agreement but what they aren’t telling you is that everything is a add on. I showed the quote from San Tan Honda and Superstition Honda matched with accessories but they were not happy. I bought the car from Superstition Honda as they had what I wanted in stock but wish I had dealt with San Tan as they were honest and w/o their quote I wouldn’t have gotten the best deal. Costco called to survey me on how the car buying experience went. Costco rep said they were sending me a coupon % off to use to buy accessories but that has never materialized. I upgraded my membership, paid Costco the difference to use the car buying but would recommend anyone looking to buy a car to compare dealerships or check online to know the cost from other dealerships so not to get taken. Costco isn’t always the best deal.

  48. @ John W

    Forgot to mention we still did NOT buy the vehicle from Elgin Toyota. We felt that since they were snaky about the Costco program and tried the old dealer trick of tying you up for hours to break down your conviction, we couldn’t trust them and they didn’t deserve our business. Same with Grossinger Toyota and Arlington Toyota in the Chicago area. We DID buy from Naperville Toyota, they were far from home but very good to deal with. We felt respected in the transaction and that our business was appreciated. We still do to this day.

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