Costco versus CarEdge Car Buying Services: The Differences Explained

Key Takeaways

  • CarEdge offers a white-glove car buying service, while Costco is better for DIY shoppers
  • Consider whether you prefer pre-approved pricing at the dealership, or having a car buying service negotiate on your behalf
  • The big difference is whether you’ll complete the deal at the dealership, or have a Concierge handle it all for you

What vehicle are you interested in?

Last updated Jun 7, 2024

When it comes to purchasing a new or used vehicle, car buying services can simplify the process and potentially save you money. In this comparison, we’ll look at two popular services: the Costco Auto Program and CarEdge Concierge, highlighting their key features, customer experiences, and overall value. Which is best car buying service for you? Stay tuned to find out.

Service Overview

Costco Auto Program

  • Costco Auto Program offers prearranged pricing from Approved Dealers, with the goal of providing a transparent car buying experience for Costco members.
  • Main Selling Points: Prearranged pricing, approved dealer network, member support, discounts on parts and services.
  • Target Audience: Costco members looking for a no-haggle car buying experience.
  • Price: Costco membership: $60 – $120/year

CarEdge Concierge

CarEdge Logo - Blue
  • CarEdge provides a white-glove car buying service, handling everything from vehicle sourcing to negotiation and delivery. For car buyers, this is hands-off and stress-free.
  • Main Selling Points: Complete management of the buying process, expert negotiation, no hidden fees, transparency, and customer-centric approach. CarEdge is not paid by car dealerships, and emphasizes independence from auto industry influence.
  • Target Audience: Consumers seeking a personalized, stress-free car buying experience with expert support, without having to visit dealerships.
  • Price: $999 plus shipping where applicable

Here’s the breakdown of key features of Costco vs. CarEdge.

FeatureCostco Auto ProgramCarEdge Concierge
Price$60 – $120/year$999 + shipping if applicable
Buy at the dealershipYesNo
Buy from homeNoYes
Home deliveryNoYes
Personalized serviceNoYes
Negotiates pricingNoYes
Vetted dealersYesYes
Trade-in assistanceYesYes
Extended Warranties offeredYesYes

Customer Experience

Costco Auto Program

  • Google Rating: 2.3 stars (38 reviews)
  • Common Praises: Transparent pricing, ease of use, member benefits.
  • Common Complaints: Buyers still go through the dealership experience. Some complaints mention that dealers are not always adhering to program rules, or pushing additional fees. A participation fee is paid by the dealers participating in Costco Auto Program.
  • Customer Service: Available through Member Advocates for questions and support.

CarEdge Concierge

  • Google Rating: 5.0 stars (1,728 reviews)
  • Common Praises: Buyers skip the dealership, effective negotiation, no hidden fees, stress-free process, home delivery.
  • Common Complaints: Higher upfront cost compared to other services. 
  • Customer Service: Comprehensive support throughout the entire process from a personal CarEdge Concierge.

Pros and Cons

pros and cons of CarEdge

There are some key differences between Costco and CarEdge, so we’ve gathered the key takeaways that differentiate each car buying service.

Costco Pros and Cons

Costco Auto Program
ProsCons
Lower program costBuyers still negotiate at the dealership
Included with Costco membershipPoor Google Review ratings
Pre-approved dealer networkNo personal Concierge or customer advocate
Trade-in assistanceCostco is paid by participating dealers

CarEdge Pros and Cons

CarEdge Concierge
ProsCons
Skip the dealership and buy from homeHigher upfront cost
Personalized Concierge includedShipping costs vary, but free pick-up is an option
Home delivery availableSome specialty models not serviced
Negotiates on your behalf
Independent from car dealers
Trade-in assistance
CarEdge does the work for you

In Conclusion: Which Is Better?

Costco’s Auto Program and CarEdge Concierge are both good options, but their key differences mean that the best car buying service depends on your needs and priorities. For buyers looking to avoid the car dealership hassle altogether, CarEdge is the way to go. CarEdge is also the clear choice for car buyers wanting a personalized customer service experience. Costco on the other hand is a great option for those on a very tight budget, since the program is available to those with a Costco membership.

Ultimately, if budget constraints are your primary concern and you are comfortable with dealership interactions, Costco Auto Program is a solid choice. However, if you seek the most streamlined and potentially cost-saving car buying experience with minimal effort on your part, CarEdge Concierge stands out as the superior car buying service.

Check out these helpful links below to learn more about each car buying service:

Learn more about CarEdge’s car buying service 

Learn more about Costco’s Auto Program

Google Reviews: CarEdge

Google Reviews: Costco

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