-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
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The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
The process has not been as bad this time around as it sometimes has been.
My bank took my loan application online in a relatively simple process. Then one of the bank's auto buyers helped me find a vehicle close to what I wanted since I hadn't been able to find one on the lot. She also took care of the price negotiation. USAA apparently offers that as a free service for members! In the end, I'll be paying a little bit over invoice. There was one vehicle on the lot that they would have sold for a bit under invoice but it didn't have some of the things I wanted. Oh well. I think it's still a better deal than I have been able to negotiate in the past, and I didn't get any heartburn in the process.
I won't have the car until Monday, but so far the process has been much less painful than any of my prior purchasing experiences.
The only people who apparently lose on the deal are the salesmen on the car lot. I've dealt with salesmen at 4 different dealerships, including one at the dealership we are actually purchasing from, but I doubt that he gets any cut of the proceeds. I have mixed feelings about that. He did do some useful work (chaperoning us on a test drive) but he made no apparent effort to find a car that matched my request and he didn't even know what he had in inventory when we went for our visit.
I'm glad the process is almost over. Now all I have to worry about is the damage it'll do to my wallet in monthly payments and insurance costs.