I’d recently been in the market for a new car. New for me anyway, as the model I wanted was no longer in production. I had to look long and hard to find a suitable pre-owned vehicle. Over the space of a couple of months, I managed to find a number of candidates. The majority of these being at non-branded dealerships, or car supermarkets as they are known. Pricing was, of course, the issue.
Price vs. Quality
While the quality of the vehicles was quite good I started getting annoyed by what seemed a standard practice of charging an ‘administration’ fee when purchasing the vehicle. The car was advertised at a certain price. On top of this, the purchaser was required to pay an additional £99 (I now notice it’s £125 plus VAT – looking at the website). While this seems insignificant compared to the purchase price of the car, it got me a frustrated. I realised it’s the same as when you buy a new vehicle as you are also charged some sort of pre-delivery fee.
Incidentally, I came across a number of interesting pricing schemes in addition to this. One being that the vehicle was sold without being licensed and the buyer needed to licence the car. I’m guessing the dealer had claimed the remaining portion of the annual licence from the licensing authority. Then there was the one that stated that the administration fee was used to pay for an HPI check to ensure the car was not stolen, written-off, or carrying outstanding finance. Surely these dealerships would need to do this anyway before buying a car into stock?
Not surprisingly, the same holds true when you sell your car to one of the well known [insert collective noun here]-buy-any-vehicle-dot-com type companies. After providing your vehicle details you are presented with a price you’ll receive for your car and are then told it’s subject to an ‘administration’ fee that will be deducted from the quoted price.
Out With It!
But I digress. My conclusion was that the dealerships should merely add any ‘administration’ fees to the purchase price of the car and let me and every other buyer pay the price as advertised. This way I wouldn’t feel ripped off. Then it occurred to me, perhaps these motor dealers were doing this to make their pricing model and costs transparent to the buyer. Hmm…
So what did I do in the end? I bought a car privately and sold mine privately, and as a result, there are now three happy parties that don’t feel ripped off.
At the end of the day, I’m pretty sure the motives are profit based and not altruistic and I’d just prefer to pay the advertised price, whether or not it includes an additional £99.
How about you?