Buying a car can be expensive, so it can be especially frustrating when a dealer tacks on a lot of extra fees. But Consumer Reports says you may be able to negotiate or even avoid some of those fees.
Harvey Kent is a seasoned car buyer, but dislikes dealing with dealer fees.
“You go through a lot of work to find the car you want and you get down this road where you end up with no choices other than to walk away from that car and starting over,” Kent said.
But did you know some dealers charge more in fees than others?
It can happen with the document fee that’s often charged to process the title and registration in your name.
“So, one dealer can charge you $399. Another dealer with the same vehicle can charge you $699. You could always negotiate and say another dealer is charging me less,” said Jon Linkov with Consumer Reports.
Then there’s the destination fee, the cost to deliver your car to the dealership and get it ready for you to drive home, which should include a tank of gas or a full electric charge.
But Consumer Reports says watch out.
“You may see something called vehicle prep or delivery prep tacked onto your car charge. Never pay that. The dealer here is just trying to double charge you, get extra money to do the exact work that they’re supposed to do in the destination charge,” Linkov said.
These days, don’t be surprised to see a new fee called a market adjustment.
The reason? The dealer is taking advantage of low inventory or the popularity of a specific model.
Consumer Reports says you can ask the dealer to remove it but many won’t because of the law of supply and demand so think long and hard before paying it.
“You’re never going to get that money back when you go to trade the car in or sell it,” Linkov said.
And when it comes to VIN etching, you don’t need it because the number is already in several places on newer cars.
And what about extended warranties? Most new cars already come with decent factory-backed protection, so you probably don’t need it. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions.
Other add-ons Consumer Reports says are unnecessary: nitrogen-filled tires, rustproofing, paint sealing, and fabric protection.