Unnecessary Dealer Fees You Can Skip when Buying a Car

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - August 14, 2019

There are some charges and fees you can't avoid paying when you finance a vehicle. Some fees, however, are completely unnecessary and you shouldn't feel bad simply telling a dealer no. Remember, you hold the power in car buying situations – not the dealership.

Dealer Fees You Don't Have to Pay

When it comes to buying a vehicle, getting a good deal isn’t always as simple as paying the negotiated price of the car. This is one reason it's extremely important to carefully read over your contract before you sign anything.

Some fees you can negotiate with your dealer and some you can't. You may not be able to get a dealership to forfeit all their charges, but there are some items you should pay as little as possible for.

Some fees that you shouldn't pay (or at least negotiate) include:

  • Documentation fees – Dealer "doc" fees, sometimes referred to as a conveyance charge, are something that nearly all dealerships charge for preparing your contract and handling your registration, title, and other documents. You may not be able to get them removed, but you should negotiate to get them as low as possible. Some states cap how much a dealership can charge for this, while others don't. Regardless of where you live, don't settle for a dealer overcharging to file paperwork.
  • Dealership fees – Some dealers put their own stickers on vehicle windows along with the Monroney label (manufacturer's window sticker listing all features and costs), which lists fees and charges for things that may sound official, but aren't. These dealership fees often include things such as shipping and handling, pre-delivery inspection, or dealer prep. These fees aren't mandatory, and you should fight them all. These services are already included in the manufacturer’s destination charge.
  • Advertising fees – No way you should pay any of these. The cost of advertising is already built into the sticker price of the car, and it's okay to tell the dealership no if they insist on you paying this fee.
  • Market adjustment fees – Often added to popular, hard-to-get vehicles, this fee also doesn't need to be paid, especially if it's rolled into your loan and not just a one-time charge.
  • Dealer add-ons – These aren't technically fees, but you could get the products and services elsewhere, probably at a lower cost. These include VIN etching, fabric protection, paint sealing, and rust proofing. One dealership add-on you might want to consider is an extended warranty. Although, one isn't always worth the cost if your car you're getting has great reliability ratings.

CarsDirect Tip: Remember, many fees charged by dealers can be negotiated. You should always pay attention to what's listed on your contract before you sign it. Don't feel pressured into paying any overly-high or unnecessary fees. You're in control of your vehicle buying experience. Don't be afraid to walk away and go to a dealership that's willing to work with you if the one you're at won't budge.

Dealer Fees You Must Pay

There are some fees and charges you can't get around when you're buying a car. These mandatory fees include sales tax, title, and license fees.

Besides paying state and local taxes that may apply and a nominal doc fee, you also have to pay a vehicle registration fee and a destination charge that’s listed on the manufacturer’s window sticker.

Looking to Start Your Car Buying Journey?

Now that you know you're in control of your car buying experience and what fees to watch out for, are you ready to get started on your auto financing journey? Let CarsDirect guide you toward a special finance dealer that has lenders available to work with people in many types of credit situations, including bad credit, no credit, and bankruptcy.

If you aren't quite sure where to start, or what you're looking for, you can check out our new and used cars sections to help with your research. When you're ready, just fill out our free and easy auto loan request form to get connected to a local dealership that can help you get the vehicle you need. There's never any obligation to buy, so what are you waiting for? Get started right now!

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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