Edmunds.com’s videos were titled “Haggling is absurd!” They are no longer available on YouTube.
In them, a grocery checkout clerk tries to gouge shoppers on items such as bread and squash and haggle with them when they refuse to pay the asking price. Edmunds.com says in the videos that the scenes were taped with four hidden cameras.
The clerk uses a couple of old sales ploys, such as calling the manager on a price and telling the shoppers that the price is high because the products are flying off the shelf. He starts at $9 for a quart of milk with one male shopper.
The scenes ended with the punch line: “You wouldn’t haggle for your groceries, so why do it when buying a car?”
No haggle approach
Edmunds.com has been marketing a no-haggle approach to shopping on its site for more than a year through a program called Price Promise.
Through it, an Edmunds shopper can get a guaranteed price from an Edmunds-participating dealer on a specific new vehicle. The service also provides prices of similar vehicles in the area.
Edmunds believes so strongly in the no-haggle approach that it wants all of its 10,000 participating dealers to offer Price Promise during the coming months. About 8,000 already are onboard with the program, which was rolled out in spring 2013.
Kevin Frye, e-commerce director for the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family in Cincinnati, led a campaign on his Facebook page criticizing the campaign. He said the four videos perpetuate stereotypes of dealers as bargainers trying to take advantage of shoppers with outrageous markups.
Frye said today that the Wyler dealership group had canceled its Edmunds.com subscriptions. Dealers pay Edmunds to post their inventory online.