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How to Spot a Fake Window Sticker on a New Car

Contrary to what many people think, dealerships don't make most of their profit on the sale of new cars.

In fact, most dealers make more pfofit selling you add-ons then they do on the price markup of the vehicle.

Car dealerships, just like any other competitive business, will try to maximize these profits andy way they can.

Most do so legally, but there are always a few bad apples that try to take the short cuts and play around with questionable practices.

The law requires that each new vehicle display a MSRP sticker listing the price of the car plus all the options and destination charge.

Dealers cannot alter this sticker in any way - doing so can result in huge penalties.

The vast majority of dealers comply with this law, but some will try to confuse you by adding their own "window sticker" next to the offical MSRP.

These are called "Dealer Add-on Stickers" or "Addendum Stickers". They're designed to look very similar to the official MSRP stickers, and some even have the little gas pump icon to confuse you further.

Dealer Addendum Sticker

You need to be extra careful when you see this sticker at a dealership - it means the dealer is willint to trick their customers, aand you don't know what other tricks they have up their sleeves.

The Addendum Sticker will usually list things that the dealer added to the vehicle. Usually, it's things such as pinstriping, paint and fabric sealent, VIN etching, and other useless and overpriced items.

Sometimes, a dealer will have the audactity to add things that are difficult or impossible to remove - such as spoilers or sunroofs.

For the smaller items, you can usually get the dealer to remove the charges - it's a minimal cost to them (which they try to charge hundreds for).

For the larger items such as a sunroof, you can't get those removed so you either have to accept it and try to negotiate the price down, or find another dealer.

In our experience, we've found that most dealers don't use Addendum stickers, so if you do run into one, know that you have can easily find another dealer that doesn't have these extra add-ons.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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