About Real Car Tips
Profile Pic
Find the Best Car Deals Near You ⤵
GuideNew Cars

Should You Pay the Dealer Advertising Fee?

Every dealer is required to participate in regional= association which buys advertising to promote all dealers within that region. Whenever you see a commercial inviting you to visit your "area" dealer, this is being funded by these regional groups.

This type of advertising costs dealers a good amount of money, sometimes adding $300 or $400 to the cost of each vehicle. Some manufacturers such as Honda include this cost within the invoice price so you never see the advertising fee.

However, some manufacturers don't include it, or they have it as an additional line item on the invoice. These advertising fees are usually listed as acronyms such as FDAF (Ford Dealer Advertising Fund) and TDA (Toyota Dealer Advertising Fee).

As a general rule, you will need to pay the advertising fee - most dealers will not negotiate on it. However, be aware that dealers try to pass off other fees by calling them advertising fees when they're really not.

If the advertising fee is not listed on the factory invoice, but the dealer is including it in the final price, this is where you will need to pay close attention.

The best way to limit any unscrupulous fees is to use my car buying guide or the CarWoo buying service and compare all the fees between dealers.

If it's a legitimate advertising fee, you will see similar fees from all dealers. If one really stands out for being too high, it's a good indication that dealer is trying to pad his profits with BS fees.

3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum Money

The key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:

Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted Network

Select the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Select Vehicle to Get Local Pricing

Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirect

TrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.

Step 3 Complete my Checklist

Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...

  • Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
  • Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
  • The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
  • Which Cars You Should Avoid

(Absolutely NO SPAM, easy to unsubscribe)

About The Author

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.
Got a Question About This Article?

Your Zip Code: