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Things That are Non-Negotiable at a Dealership

When negotiating with a car dealer, it's smart to know what items are NOT negotiable.

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.

Sales Tax

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.

Documentation Fees

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.

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

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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.
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