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Don't Fall For The Scam Of The Dealer Preparation Fee When Buying A New Car

Oct 12, 2007
A more accurate definition here could be "Excessive Charge", because this is not actually fraudulent, nor is it illegal. In all fairness most car dealers do adequately disclose this fee on their paperwork. Many auto dealers even admit that it's a means for them to regain some of their "losses" when discounting the car off the MSRP retail price. Some times this includes things like rust proofing. Just so you know, the cost to apply any of these products is negligible and the price charged is almost pure profit.

While many auto dealers can be fair on this, in many cases this fee can be too excessive, and since it is printed permanently on their buyers form, what about the case when you pay full price on the car, and you have to pay another $500 or $600 more in fees? Automotive salespeople try to convince you that a crack team of NASA experts executed a three day 10,000 point check of your the car you are interested in. Dealer prep "covers their cost" of taking the protective plastic from the seats, vacuuming the interior, adding fluids, and preparing the vehicle for sale. Total time: 2 hours max.

This means if a car dealer charges a $600 dealer prep charge, you're effectively paying them $300 an hour to make your car ready to go! Who in the world besides maybe Bill Gates gets paid $300 and hour? Besides, it's all a scam anyway just to add profit. Don't fall for this. You see, the automobile manufacturer pays the car dealer for pre-delivery service and it is already included in the MSRP. Like I said, this is just a way for dealers to get extra money out of you.

In many cases, this fee is permanently printed on the buyer's order form to make you believe it's compulsory, but a lot of people make the dealer take it away by adding a credit entry on the next line. So if you see a $600 dealer prep fee on the form, make them add a $600 credit to balance it out.

If they won't budge on the dealer prep scam fee you need to make up your mind how bad you want that car. You should have no problem walking out of a dealership over a $600 fee. Go to the next car dealer on your list, and tell them "Here's the deal. Drop the dealer prep fee, and the deal is yours". Remember, Dealer Prep is not against the law, but it gives you zero intrinsic value. Either you agree with the fee, or you don't. As someone who spent over 10 years in the car business I can tell you I would never pay it.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living with his beautiful wife and family in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about cars as well as car care at http://www.5starshine.com
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