Car Buying

Buying a Car: Is No-Haggle Pricing Really No Haggle?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2014

If you're interested in buying a car, then you've probably seen dealerships advertising no-haggle pricing. You've probably also wondered if no-haggle pricing actually is no haggle or if it's just an advertisement to make the car-buying process seem a little easier. So, is no haggle really no haggle? We'll explain.

Why No Haggle?

First, it's important to understand why a car dealer might be interested in advertising no-haggle pricing. The main reason is that many shoppers view haggling or negotiating over a new car as the very worst part of buying a car, and they'd do just about anything to avoid it. As a result, a dealer that advertises no-haggle pricing will find favor with shoppers who don't want the car-buying experience to turn into a fight over dollars and cents.

Really No Haggle?

In our experience, virtually all dealerships that advertise no-haggle pricing really stick with their story because, if a no-haggle dealership starts to haggle over car prices, it creates two major issues.

The first is that the dealer isn't truthfully advertising. A dealer that markets no-haggle pricing and still ends up haggling with customers could face penalties for doing so if caught. As a result, nearly all car dealers that commit to advertising no-haggle pricing stick with it, or else they wouldn't have bothered advertising it in the first place.

Another issue potentially created by a no-haggle dealer haggling is that word will spread. If one shopper finds out that a no-haggle dealer haggled with another shopper, the shopper who didn't save money by haggling would become very angry and the dealership could end up with a bad reputation. Additionally, other shoppers who find out could try to haggle their own purchases, making the dealer's no-haggle advertising essentially worthless.

In many cases, no-haggle dealers have specific policies against the kind of hand-wringing negotiations that many have come to dislike, and they won't break those policies. While you may hear stories from people saying that they've haggled with a no-haggle dealer, take those stories with a grain of salt unless you have proof.

Is No Haggle Best?

Is buying a car from a no-haggle dealer the best strategy? Our answer is that it very much depends on the price.

For example, we strongly suggest that you don't buy from a no-haggle dealer if the car's price is a lot more than the figure you'd pay at a traditional dealer. Yes, not having to haggle for a car is a benefit, and some shoppers are willing to pay extra just so they don't have to negotiate. But is it really worth spending several thousand dollars more for the same basic vehicle just so you don't have to haggle?

You'll find many cases where a no-haggle dealer will have its vehicles priced at a reasonable figure, however. In those situations, you should certainly consider going with the no-haggle dealership, if only because it can be a lot easier than negotiating. Just remember: Even no-haggle dealers will have fees and taxes, and they'll often try to sell you dealership add-ons that you'll usually want to avoid.

Also, while the price of the car may be set, there's still the business of financing and servicing the car. You may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate or a free oil change if you're not totally happy with the nonnegotiable price.

Most people who buy a car from a no-haggle dealership say that they like the experience. Sure, there are some who really like to fret over that last $100, but if that's not you, consider shopping at a dealership that sells cars for one fixed price.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buying a Car: Is No-Haggle Pricing Really No Haggle? - Autotrader