Consumer Reports

How to negotiate or even avoid fees at the car dealership

Consumer Reports breaks down what fees you may be able to negotiate or even avoid altogether at the car lot

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Buying a car is often stressful and these days, very expensive. So it can be especially frustrating when a dealer tries to tack on extra fees.

Extra fees

Did you know some dealers charge more in fees than others? For example, it can happen with the document fee, which is often charged to process the title and registration in your name.

One dealer might charge you $399. Another dealer with the same vehicle might charge you $699. But you can always negotiate by saying that one dealer is charging you less than another.

Destination fees

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 full electric charge.

But Consumer Reports says watch out: Some dealers try to charge you twice for it.

"Vehicle prep" or "delivery prep" fee

And you might see something called a vehicle prep or delivery prep fee tacked onto your car charge. Never pay that. The dealer is trying to double-charge you, getting extra money to do the exact work that is supposed to be covered by the destination charge.

Market adjustment fee

These days, don’t be surprised to see a new fee called a market adjustment. That’s when dealers try to take advantage of low inventory or the popularity of a specific model. CR 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 in the car or sell it.

Do you need VIN etching?

And when it comes to VIN etching, you don’t need it because the vehicle identification number is already in several places on newer cars.

Extended warranties?

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 CR says are unnecessary are nitrogen-filled tires, rustproofing, paint sealing, and fabric protection.

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