Paying $1K Deposit without Knowing Car Price? (Using Car Broker)

Hi all,

I'm interested in buying a new car and have done a test drive.

Due to Covid-19 I wasn't able to lower car price much in store but found a website called Union shopper.
A broker through the website asked me get a quote from stores first then get back to him. So I told him the price I was offered in store and he got back to me this morning.

I don't know whether this is how it works but what he told me was, even before he reveals the price for a car I'm interested I need to pay a $1,000 deposit, then he will contact dealers to find who can offer the lowest price. Then I need to sign a contract immediately to take the offer. If I change my mind i will lose the deposit.

It sounds very suspicious to pay a deposit even when I don't know the price I will pay. Has any of you purchased a car via union shopper or any goy any advice for me please?

In store yesterday I was offered $34k including choosing a colour for Hyundai i30 elite 2022 instead of paying $34,483. Does it like a reasonable price? The seller told me that I could pick up the car in 1 to 2 weeks whereas the broker could not guarantee until he contacts sellers


  • +5

    a lot of dealers are now take it or leave it. so dont bother. just find a car you like and buy it.

    • You mean it's ideal to buy in store these days?

      • if you're looking for i30, people are selling near new ones for less than 30k. really no point spending so much on a brand new car. just check carsales

        • Thanks for your advice Oz8argain!

  • +3

    $43k for an Excel and not even the Sprint version.

    Eff me.

    • My bad I meant to say $34k nit 43k. Fixed!

  • +3

    If Union Shopper are being stupid, just try another broker. They are a dime a dozen.

    • Good point!

      • -5

        Try Dan at the Car Concierge.

        I got really sharp pricing from him on a Rav4 around a year ago (a few dealers wouldn't match it and one even told me to buy it through him at that price), but ended up going directly to a dealer because they got closer to the number I had in mind (his best quote was at xx,900, I wanted to pay xx,000 so decided to give a few dealers within 25km a go and got a dealer willing to sell at xx,200)

  • Per the Hyundai website the drive away price for an i30 Elite in Brisbane is $33,973. Where did the price you mentioned of $43,483 come from?

    • Sorry I made 2 mistakes. It's meant to be $34k not $43k

  • -1

    Try John Cadogan if you still want to go through a broker OP.

    Some people love him, others the opposite, but it doesn't hurt to see what he can do for you.

    • His brokering prices aren't that great.

      • +6

        Neither are his videos.

    • +4

      From memory, he's a broker broker - he passes on your details to another broker and collects money for passing on your details.

      • +5

        100% this. He isn’t a broker. He just passes your details on and adds his cut to the top.

    • +1

      I found JC Autoexpert is a waste of time. ~ 12 months ago I asked for a quote and it took two weeks to get back to me. Asked for another quote for a different car, took months to get back to me after I bought something already..

    • His brokered deal was still 2.5k more than I got just by talking openly with a dealer on my ute…

  • +1

    Why are you paying $43k for a $34k car?

  • -2

    From the broker's standpoint i can see why, because then there's nothing stopping you from taking that quote and going directly to the dealer.
    But also i don't think it's standard procedure. Try John Cadogan at Autoexpert as they generally have decent reviews.

    But agree with @MSPaint, why are you paying $43k for a $34k car.

    • It was a typo… meant to be $34k not $43k

      • +1

        Why did you type the incorrect amount

  • +2

    The problem is if dealers aren't budging on price how will the broker get you a better deal? They need to take their own cut too and if you already prepaid them $1000 there's not much incentive for them to really haggle.

    • +1

      The brokers generally have access to fleet purchases etc and their fee is baked into what your discounted price that you pay the dealer at the end of it.

      Similar to mortgage brokers, you wont actually see what you pay them

      • +1

        Does affect negotiation ability though. If the broker charges the dealer $500-$1000, then that's just come off the bottom line. On a $34k car, the margins wouldn't be huge, meaning it's unlikely he'd get any sort of decent deal on the car

        Plus, they could send you across town to pickup from their preferred dealer, rather than going locally

        • Does depend on the broker. Happy with the experience we had with our broker a few years ago, and happy with the price.

          Was it a great price? Don't know; but was definitely a better experience than what we got from the dealers. One dealer (and these are brand dealers, not DIY) wanted me to give them a price and a credit card (for a deposit) to take to their boss. Very forceful with their "negotiations".

          Broker was a much more pleasant expereicence. Gave them details of our existing vehicle (for trade-in), and what we wanted in our new vehicle (accessories, etc). Came back with a changeover cost (how much we'd be out of pocket). Picked up from the brokers office when car was delivered from dealer.

          So yeah, I might have been able to get a better deal, but the shit I'd have to wade through for it wasn't worth it for me. Just such a more pleasant experience.

          Happy to give more details if people are interested - just PM/DM/@ me. (and since location is probably important, I'm in Brisbane QLD)

  • +5

    Yeah right. So let me make sure I got this right. You give the broker $1000 bucks, the broker calls one dealer, asks for the RRP, rings you back and is all 'Sorry, mate, it's a tough market at the moment, best I could do is RRP. Please sign here or loose your deposit. K, Thx, Bye.'

    Looking forward to the forum post about 'Broker scammed and took $1000 for doing nothing'

    • -1


      • -1

        Except it’s not funny

        • +2

          It's funny because it's not me

  • +1

    Just find the car you wanted to buy and send an email to 4-5 dealers for the lowest price and delivery date.
    You don't have to visit them.

    Usually you can reduce price by 5-10%, so your $34k i30 could go down to $32 if you are not in a rush.

    Good luck.

    • +5

      lol. Good luck getting a answer back….

      • +1

        It's almost like we can tell when it's a template email…

        • +2

          Hopefully the current business model goes down the drain when the agency model takes hold across the industry. I won't be shedding a tear.

          Corporate discounts will still be a thing and the only thing left to lose is pushy and obnoxious new car salespeople. With the gradual EV transition (Polestar, Telsa, Rivian etc) we are slowly witnessing a transformation of the industry. Little to no maintenance and after-sales revenue will make being a dealer less profitable.

          The MB dealerships that have sued will probably be pushed out of the market at some point on a technicality as the Germans don't like those who don't heel-toe.

          The used market is where all the pond scum salesfolks will go.

          • -4

            @meowsers: Did a salesperson hurt you?

            Once there's fixed price sales, there won't be negotiation, so 'tactics' like emailing multiple dealers won't be a thing. You'll walk in, pay sticker price, walk out. You could do that now, if you wanted, so why the hurt about salespeople? No different to walking into JB Hi-Fi and they tell you there's no movement on Apple products, but they'll do a deal on Samsung. Would you then turn around and get all offended?

            People only get hurt like you because they overpaid, or hate thinking that they have, yet have likely never paid RRP for a vehicle, yet are looking forward to the day they have to, without thinking more than 5 seconds about that.

            Ah there it is. Yep, would've picked you for a Tesla early adopter. Yet still couldn't pony up for a new car.

            • +3

              @spackbace: "Yet still couldn't pony up for a new car."

              This is something a car salesman would say to make someone feel guilty. Nice bait. Try again sport.

            • +4

              @spackbace: The overheads and margins that are required for compensating dealers to carry stock, pay their staff and sales commissions, build and pay rent on massive showrooms and yards etc etc will no longer be needed.

              The direct from manufacturer retail model will benefit both the consumer and manufacturers by cutting out an expensive and frankly needless middle man that adds very little value to the process of buying a car.

              What we will see in future is a sample vehicle or two sitting in a small retail space with a single staff low paid staff member on the books (like Tesla does in a few shopping centers around the place).

              Order online and spec the vehicle as you wish, wait for it to arrive on a truck. Easy and hassle free.

              • -3


                What we will see in future is a sample vehicle or two sitting in a small retail space with a single staff low paid staff member on the books (like Tesla does in a few shopping centers around the place).

                No doubt, I see the same as well, but to wish it to happen is to actually wish for more expensive cars. It's a strange wish to make

                • +4

                  @spackbace: To assume that in a competitive capitalist market the removal of a large chunk of the overheads and costs involved in marketing and delivering a vehicle to the consumer will not result in some price reductions end to end is fairly defeatist.

                  If the consumer vehicle market was a monopoly of 2 or 3 major players sure… but that is not the case.

                  In the last 25 years some massive business empires swore black and blue that online commerce would never take hold and was all just a passing fad that consumers would never go for…. bricks and mortar was the only way. Many stuck their heads in the sand and refused to innovate and change and now no longer exist.

                  The many automotive brands out there vying to sell you their vehicles need to be price competitive to survive and attract customers.

                  With the shift towards this retail model the barrier of entry for new manufacturers to enter the market is also lowered, gone will be the days of the massive upfront investments to build dealer networks just to get a foot in the door thus bringing customers even more choice.

                  It's hard for someone who works in the dealership industry to accept that they are on the way out. Not to worry though… the sales people can move into the rapidly expanding logistics and fulfillment industries. Australia is going to need lots of people to drive delivery vans.

                  • @stringbean402:

                    It's hard for someone who works in the dealership industry to accept that they are on the way out.

                    It's not. I'm already considering what career I want to go to

                    • +3

                      @spackbace: And all these people thinking that this “agency model” will make cars cheaper to buy… When all it is is the manufacturer moving the profits back to themselves.

                      They will still need dealerships, showrooms, service centres and all the dealership workings they currently have. Honda was a taste of what “agency” car sales looks like. How’s that working out for Honda?

                      • +3


                        To assume that in a competitive capitalist market the removal of a large chunk of the overheads and costs involved in marketing and delivering a vehicle to the consumer will not result in some price reductions end to end is fairly defeatist.

                        Maybe, but I agree with Pegaxs, car companies trying to increase their profits. The capitalist way is not to provide the best value, but to make the most profits. It’s naive to think they pass on savings when they aren’t forced to.

                        Additionally we are so indoctrinated to expect some form of discount to a new vehicle it’ll be a hard task to set a price that doesn’t have some for of discounting available via sales or discount coupons of some sort.

                      • @pegaxs: Not well, BUT that's because prices have jumped up.

                        I would have thought the money they're saving means pricing may go down or at least remain steady.

                        Apparently they're repositioning as a more luxury brand?

                        Good luck with that.

  • +4

    Usually you can reduce price by 5-10%

    Pre Covid yes. Now with a shortage of new cars in Australia due, amongst other things, to chip issues, if you can get a free tank of fuel and mats thrown in you can consider yourself lucky.

  • +1

    Sounds like what one of the car brokers tried to do to me. Run far away. Not all brokers require a deposit to sign up to an unknown price.

  • TIL that there are such things as car brokers.

  • +5

    Once he has your money you are stuck. He will do as little as possible to get a ‘best price’ and you will have little negotiating power. He’s relying on you considering $1k a lot of money to lose so you’ll stick with the highest price he thinks he can get away with.

    Only way that would work for me is to pay a fully refundable deposit.

  • +1

    haha, better to stay away from these suckers, everyone above already said "Once he has your money you are stuck" and $1000 is a big amount.
    There are other platforms like & which offer you transparent pricing and few days free return back guarantee.

    [Edit: Sorry I just saw you are looking for brand new car]

  • Use another buying service - simple.

    I used Motor Scout and thoroughly endorse them. Saved me $3500 on retail price and no cost or deposit required in order for them to source quotes for you. Best of all it saves all the hassle of dealing with sales persons and their hard sell tactics.

    Obviously there are other buying services available, but Motor Scout worked very well for me.

    • Pre covid or during COVID-19?

      There is a difference and it also depends on the car manfaucturer you are buying from.

  • Do you have Covid?
    Why are you paying a breaker when you can deal directly with the car sales Dep?

    • BeCoZ BrOkeRz SaVE yOu ThOUsAnDS

  • During Covid (October 21) and with Motor Scout you don't pay the broker anything.

    I went through the dealer hassle and hard sell bulls%$t and then went to Motor Scout who got me a $3500 discount on the best price that I could negotiate directly with a dealer. Why would you bother to put up with the hassle and wasted time when you can use a broker and save $3.5k

    • Motor Scout just charge the dealer. The dealer factors this into their price.

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