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A family member is in the market for a "new" car (Not necessarily brand new) and is interested in using the Edmunds Price Promise service to save time finding contacts (and then contact them manually) at each dealership for the brand of the car she is interested in, in our local area.

We wonder if we might be quoted cheaper if we were to contact the dealerships ourselves, due to the idea that Edmunds might be getting money in exchange for people using this service, which would (of course) likely lead to relatively higher prices being presented through use of the above service ("Nothing comes for free").

Not asking anyone else to test this principle (We can do that, and report back for others benefit), but does anyone know whether this is the case, or not?

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Yes, Edmunds gets money from the dealerships in this program.

According to this USA Today article from 2013, dealers pay Edmunds a monthly fee to participate in the program. This contrasts with TrueCar.com, a similar service, where dealers pay a fee for each sale.

And yes, it is certainly possible to negotiate a lower price than the Edmunds Price Promise quote, if you enjoy haggling. The purpose of the program is not to get you the best price, just the easiest buying experience.

From the USA Today article:

Edmunds.com's price promise business model is designed to take the uncertainty out of pricing, speed up the buying process and also comes with the expectation that the customer will be given top-notch customer service.

Dealers who have participated find that they are able to sell their cars for $300 to $500 more than consumers who go through the more traditional price quote request process.

Customers, [Edmunds.com president and chief operating officer Seth] Berkowitz said, are willing to pay a little more than the best possible deal if they can save time, get great customer service and know they are getting a fair price.

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