TV commercials make buying a new vehicle seem like an exciting party. In many cases, those in the market for a vehicle are feeling anything but festive. They are more often worried about the bottom line. Since they may buy a new vehicle once every several years, consumers may also have little experience with the purchasing process, which makes them easy targets for dealer fraud.
One of the ways dealers get more money from customers is to add ambiguous fees to the final price. Consumers who are anxious or have not investigated what fees to expect may be unsure what to do about the added costs and may simply accept them and pay the money. However, other than Pennsylvania sales tax, registration fee and a minimal fee for preparing the sales documents, a car buyer should question other expenses added to the contract, including:
- Dealer prep, a fee for preparing the vehicle for the buyer, which is the same as a destination charge
- Protection products, such as rust-proofing, fabric protection and other unnecessary items
- Advertising fee is a shrewd way for dealers to get customers to pay their marketing costs
- Anti-theft methods, such as VIN etching, which do little to deter potential thieves
Consumers can ask for a breakdown of these costs ahead of time or shop around for dealers who are more honest about fees. However, it is still possible for a consumer to get stuck with costs that are not legitimate and can increase the overall cost of a vehicle purchase. Those who experience this or other kinds of dealer fraud have the right to seek legal counsel to for advice about setting things right.