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The Dealer Prep Fee Scam

When you go out and buy a new car watch out for the dealer prep fee scam. There was a time that the dealer did charge a “Dealer Prep” or Preparation Fee. However today the manufacturers (at least most of them) have gotten involved for the sake of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty and included that charge and show you on the window sticker. Years ago they actually advertised a new car price and stated “plus Dealer Prep Fee”. It was the way things were done when you are buying new cars, but some dealers got crazy and the buyers started complaining to the manufacturers. The scam part of the dealer prep fee is that some dealers are still charging anywhere from $100.00 on up to $1500.00 per car. At least they will if you will let them scam you.

Dealer Prep Fee Scam and the Manufacturer

Currently, almost all the manufacturers include Dealer Prep in the price of the vehicle. The manufacturer will state that on the Window Sticker, and they pay the Dealer to “Prep” the new vehicle. The manufacturer has a process that the dealer must follow to prep the car. The manufacturer wants to make sure that the specific steps, inspections and tests and done the way they want them done. The best way to make sure is to be the one paying to do the job. The manufacturer wants to make sure the customer will receive a car that is ready and have a positive experience with their new car. Not become the victim of a car dealer scam.

New Car All Prepped

New Car All Prepped

Back to the dealer prep fee scam, there are dealers out there charging a dealer prep fee on new cars and I have even heard of some dealers charging a dealer prep fee on used cars. You should not have to pay a Dealer Prep Fee scam charge on your new car. When it comes right down to the issue of charging additional fees, it really is up to the dealer. They can charge additional fees, but the manufacturer would not take this lightly and it may be part of their franchise agreement.

Dealer Prep Fee Scam – Legal?

I was saying that I heard of dealers charging a Dealer Prep Fee on Used Cars, even though they are allowed to do this they will get a lot of opposition and they may even get a call from their states Attorney General. The dealer prep fee scam is just another way of padding the bill. Many people will pay the prep fee because they are told that all cars get charged the dealer prep fee.

Protect Yourself From the Dealer Prep Scam

I am not saying that this dealer prep fee scam is a standard practice. In fact, most dealers do not play these games. When you buy a new car and the car dealer tells you that there is a dealer prep fee, tell them you are not paying the fee and reference the window sticker. They may try to convince about this dealer prep fee, but usually, they will remove the charge.

Here is the statement you will see printed on the bottom of the manufacturers window sticker regarding the Dealer Prep Fee Scam:

“***Includes Manufacturer’s Recommended Pre-Delivery Service. Does not include dealer installed options and accessories, local taxes or license fees.”

If a new car dealer insists that you must pay a dealer prep fee on your new car, it is a scam. Get up and leave, go to the next dealer. If the dealership participates in this scam, just imagine all the other ones that they will try to pull on you. Make sure you know the steps to buy a car to avoid any scams.


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