Avoiding hidden charges

After a driver has their car loan in hand, they’ll have the ability to negotiate with the dealer a bit. Dealers like it when drivers pay cash because it means a quick injection of funds rather than money over time from financing. By securing a car loan through a third party before hitting the showroom, drivers have an extra incentive for dealers to make the sale.

This means that buyers have a bit of negotiating power when talking with the dealer. One of the ways that dealerships make extra money is through bogus surplus charges tacked on at the end. Not all the charges are unscrupulous – some, like a destination charge, title and tax are legitimate. Others are open to negotiation.

According to cars.com, the “document or conveyance fee” is often about $50, and is said to cover the cost of “paperwork.” While car agreements are certainly lengthy, they certainly don’t cost $50 to print. Drivers can usually get dealers to take this off.

Another possibly suspicious charge is a “prep fee.” While sometimes the dealer will do work on a car to get it ready for sale, this number can be heavily inflated. Drivers should ask the dealer to break down the costs piece by piece to make sure they’re not overcharged.