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Mark Phelan: Buying a new car? Watch out for $2,000 hidden fee in footnotes

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

No reason, except that a person suspecting shenanigans might say the cost would then become part of the MSRP used in advertising.

Transparency in pricing is the customer’s friend. People notice MSRP increases.

Instead, the destination charge is often mentioned in the same phrase as taxes, license and registration, creating an impression the automaker had nothing to do with it.

No other common in-person transaction works that way. It’s as if you bought a $99.99 toaster oven at Meijer, and when the checkout clerk added sales tax, they also tacked on $5 to cover the truck that delivered it to the store.

“If I buy a sofa, I pay for delivery to my house, but not to the store,” Consumer Reports’ Monticello said.


“There should be a rule to include the destination fee in the advertised price, not as a footnote.”

Or it could simply be considered part of the vehicle’s price, like cost of the steering wheel and the steel used making the vehicle.

Is that so hard?

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