Things That are Non-Negotiable at a Dealership
Many customers try to negotiate fees that a dealer has no control over, which frustrates salesmen and demonstrates your lack of car buying knowledge.
If there's a certain fee you're not happy with, it's best to try to lower the overall price of the vehicle instead of focusing on that specific fee. The following items are non-negotiable.
If you're not happy with the sales tax, your only option is to move to another state with lower taxes. On top of state taxes, many cities and counties charge an additional amount, so be prepared.
Also note that most states charge tax on any cash rebates you receive from the manufacturer. The good news - most states deduct the value of your trade-in from the purchase price of the new car before taxing (as long as it's one transaction with the same dealer).
Tag and Title Fees
Dealers have no control over this - it goes straight to the government.
Although doc fees may differ from dealer to dealer, they are not allowed to charge different rates for different customers, so this is non-negotiable. Many states set the rates on doc fees (such as New York and New Jersey), while other states allow dealers to charge up to a certain amount (sometimes as high as $1,000).
Lease Acquisition, Disposition, and Mileage Fees
If you're leasing a vehicle, the leasing company (which is usually not the dealer) will charge an acquisition and disposition fee. Since the dealer has no control over this, it is a non-negotiable fee.
Same goes for the mileage overage fees. If you feel you're going to drive the car more than the allotted miles, you should pre-pay the overages since most leases provide a discount for up front payment.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise and 1-800 Car Show 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
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.