Late one Friday night, I found an amazing deal on a car at CarMax -- a 2002 Toyota Camry with only 21,000 miles on it. The no-haggle price was $12999. I'll admit now that I did not check with KBB on their suggested pricing.
I called CarMax the next morning and after a no-haggle inspection and test drive, we purchased the car and the 5-year MaxCare package (an additional $1600 that was a true salespitch). The total price was just over $15700.
The car saw our trusted mechanic on Monday and told us that everything was original which we thought was a good sign, but he strongly recommended that we get four new tires since the sidewall rubber was peeling off in large flakes. I thought that was odd since we had been told of their 125-point-inspection service and our salesman, Robert, stated that the tires were still good.
Also on that Monday, the financing had to be finalized with our bank. The loan officer alerted me to the difference in price since KBB valued this make/model with 21,000 miles at only $9998. She suggested that I haggle the price down; I told her I would try.
When I contacted the business office regarding the huge descrepancy in price between the KBB and the listing price, I was told that prices vary every day and that multiple measures were used to determine CarMax's listing prices.
Then I was told by the CarMax representative that CarMax does not use KBB to set their listing prices. I laughed out loud at that one since it IS and, in my 25 years of driving experience, ALWAYS has been the standard by which prices are set.
We made the decision to return the car (we had only had it three days) and were not given any problems in doing such (it took about 25 minutes).
So, my suggestions are to:
(1) do your homework,
(2) know what price others (KBB and other mass sellers) use to sell the car,
(3) don't purchase the MaxCare service (that's where they do their markup),
(4) get your car inspected by someone you trust, and
(5) don't have any doubt that you are within your rights to return the car as per their business model.
They give you 5 days to check out the car -- do not waste those days!