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Advertising Fees



  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    yes, but it sounds like bunk - a way that a weak salesman can mandate his sales pitch...
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Posts: 620
    is one of those things that i think is bunk.

    1st, most dealerships here get the windows etched anyway. What you are paying for is the "activation" so that if someone calls 1800vinetch or whatever, they will notify the police, etc. I highly doubt that an "activated" etching is more of a deterrent than having an etching.

    2nd, you can pay $20 and order an acid etching kit online.
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    When activated these things usually get you some sort of insurance-type policy. i.e. pay to get the etching activated and if your car stolen car is not recovered within 30 days we will give you $5000.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    if you worry about the retail side of things then you never see an advertising fee, just like the toilet paper you mentioned... You want to work from invoice up then you should expect to pay the fees on the invoice.
    My friend is a manager of a major appliance/video chain store and they have ad and other fees on their invoices also. It's just that nobody is rude enough to ask them for a copy of the invoice on that new sony WEGA tv.
  • frulipfrulip Posts: 3
    Seemed to find a decent sales guy, who agreed to a 500 commission over invoice on a 2003 Tahoe. However he now says a mandatory advertising fee of close to $400 is applicable.

    Is this normal or can i have this removed with some firm tactics.

    Thanks !
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    A few things:

    Do you know what invoice is?

    It sounds like he wants you to pay $900 over invoice. Ask him to show you the invoice and see if the ad fee is included in car's invoice price.

    Adding a fee after the final price has been determined (i.e. $26,876, not $500 over invoice.) is dirty pool and shouldn't be accepted.

    Everything can be negotiated. If you don't want to pay $900 over (or whatever) then don't.

    The $500 over invoice is not "commission." The salesman's commission will generally be a percentage of that $500; likely $75-$100.
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    I agree with Landru; it sounds like you're getting terms mixed up.
    And like your salesman is exploiting the mix-up.

    I have no idea what Tahoe's are selling for; but, given that you're buying an '03, I think sticking with your original offer is reasonable. Edmunds shows TMV to be $500-$1000 over published invoice and doesn't adjust 'invoice' for regional ad fees.

    I wouldn't get into a discussion of terms, etc. Try something like, "I can pay $XX,XXX.XX plus tax and license fees."
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    The salesperson quoted $500 over invoice and that is what he has asked for. The $400 is the difference between what the buyer thinks invoice is and what the actual invoice is. What the buyer needs to know is that the invoice information they have is not accurate. It is missing the $400 advertising fee that is "included" in the invoice price, not "added" to it.
  • frulipfrulip Posts: 3
    I had him fax me over the invoice and the advertising fee is written in by hand on the bottom for $448.49, as well as $99 in window etching, $131 Motor Vehicle, and $99.75 in Document fees.

    I dont mind the etching or obviously the motor vehicle or DOC but I refuse to pay the advertising fee. Anyone disagree and think I am being unreasonable?

  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    It's tough to know - without knowing the car and details on rest of the deal, but
    1) regional ad fees are legit
    2) this dealer's ad cost can't be confirmed, so the $448. 49 could easily be scam or part scam
    3) to introduce the additional charge late in the negotiations is definitely scummy, IMO

    Were it me, I'd look at the whole deal to see how it compares to TMV. If you're still at/under TMV and close to invoice and you really like the car, I'd make an all inclusive offer and be prepared to walk if it's not accepted.
    If this is the same Tahoe, I think you're still a little high. All in all, you've started/gotten sucked into a losing negotiation by negotiating from invoice, IMO.
    So, I'd make a final offer of invoice plus $500-$600 in a dollar figure and walk if the final numbers are any different. It's the end of the month; and the dealer's got holdback contributing to the profit, too.
    (The window etch is a scam. The doc fee is pure profit.)
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    If the ad fee was hand written at the bottom , then it is a good chance what he faxed over wasn't an actual GM invoice. Unless the dealer received the Tahoe from a dealer in an area that didn't have ad fees. In that case the second dealer would not have to pay any ad fees. Was there infomation on the faxed page to give you any clues that this was an important and infomation full document? Invoice numbers, VIN, GMS prices, account #s? Things like this should be in the header or on the right side of GM invoices (based on those I have seen).
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Posts: 620
    I don't recall paying any ad fees here in the NW for my GM. As for the window etching, tell them to take it off.=o) hehe.
  • Do not pay those fees. They are just lining their pockets!
  • Ok here goes, the regional advertising fee is a legitimate line item on a factory invoice for GM vehicles. It is figured on the M.S.R.P. without destination included. It varies by region (here in Chicago it is 1.5%) It will be printed on the invoice and like the destination charge it is not waivable, deletable or negotiatable. Montana was on the right track regarding hand written entries, but...You see the invoice at Dealer "B" of a vehicle traded from Dealer "A". Your dealer "B" is in a region that charges at the 1.5% but the paperwork from "A" shows a different rate. The dealer is charged by the formula and the change reflects in the invoice total. An agreement to pay "Xxx over invoice" would include this adjustment as it would have been figured on an original stock unit shipped directly to Dealer "B". Etching and to a lesser extent, DOC fees are usually deletable on request.
  • Just to keep things clear. The invoice is the invoice. A vehicle swapped between dealers is not reinvoiced. The ad fees are at the orig dealers percentage. If the vehicle goes from a low/or no percentage area to a higher area, no additional ad fees are owed by or invoiced to the second dealer. If a vehicle goes from a higher area to a lower/or no area, no refund comes from the manufacturer to the second dealer.
  • mitsu6mitsu6 Posts: 5
    Every dealership has to have an invoice from the manufacturer.The invoice shows the destination charges, the dealer hold back and usually the mark-up on the vehicle.
    Next- when you negotiate the price of the car, on the buyers order it will show in some cases as DOC fees, advertising, detailing, stamps, etc...) You'll see a dollar amount that is called Dealer Fees and in small letters you'll see what are they charging for. You always have to read the fine print, if u cannot see or read the fine print ask to see an original so u could see the TRUTH. I hope this will help you. :)
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    You state - It (the ad fee) -- is not waivable, deletable or negotiable

    Sorry to disagree with you, but in business - EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE - Politly refuse to pay the fee -maybe agree to pay 30% of the fee or if you do agree to pay the ad fee - get something in return. Say something like - OK I will pay the $462.00 ad fee but only if you agree to drop the $199 glass etching and $399 Vehicle protection package down to the $50 (or whatever) it cost you.

    The ad fee can be legitimate - but that does not mean it is not on the table to be reduced or eliminated.

    In fact any time you are negotiating and hear a statement like - This is "always" charged, this is part of our "standard" agreement, this is "company" policy it is a very good chance it is NOT "always" charged, NOT "standard" on every agreement and NOT really "company" policy.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    Concentrate on the out the door price - if they meet your requirements, however unreasonable, who cares how they do the math.

    The advertising fee is NOT negotiable, since it is a direct charge from the manufacturer and listed in the invoice, but of course, the final, "out the door", "driveaway", "over the curb" price IS negotiable.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    No struggle - but how do YOU determine a "fair" - out the door, drive-a-way, over the curb price without looking at the details?

     IMO you must get into the details or you end up paying way to much.

    $250 over invoice sounds good

    $400 ad fee - why fight it

    $199 glass etching - no big deal

    $399 Protection package, not bad for a $10 wax job and a can of scotch guard

    $150 Doc fee, after all someone needs to do the paper work

    $149 pin stripes,and $200 for mud flaps - OK since you already put them on

    $1,500 "EXTRA value package A" - floor mats and a first aid kit, plus tire warranty and locking lug nuts - How could I live without these

    Give me $7,500 for my trade (but the blue book trade in value is $11,000) - OK I understand - you have 2 dozen on these on your used car lot and you can't even give them away.

    Finance me at 15% - for 72 months well OK it does lower my payment (and keeps me upsidedown for 5 1/2years!)

    Extended warranty adds another $1,500 - you can just add it into the loan - thanks for looking out for me - I will give your name to all my friends.

    Since my loan is so high - you now say I need credit life and gap coverage. Great add it to the loan

    But why should I complain I only paid $250 over invoice!!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    or would you just blame someone else because of poor car buying skills?

    $250 over invoice sounds good

    Great, add taxes and licensing and we're done.

    $400 ad fee - why fight it

    Because it's part of the invoice cost - the dealer can't make it "go away".

    $199 glass etching - no big deal

    Just like drugs, "just say no".

    $399 Protection package, not bad for a $10 wax job and a can of scotch guard

    Refer to "glass etching" above.

    $150 Doc fee, after all someone needs to do the paper work

    If it's allowed by your state, then all dealerships will do it.

    $149 pin stripes,and $200 for mud flaps - OK since you already put them on

    How about, "just say no" - and "remove those items, please, I don't want them".

    $1,500 "EXTRA value package A" - floor mats and a first aid kit, plus tire warranty and locking lug nuts - How could I live without these

    Floor mats in parts dept, $50, first aid kit, Wal-Mart, $10, tire warranty (forget it) and locking lug nuts (Pep Boys, $20).

    Give me $7,500 for my trade (but the blue book trade in value is $11,000) - OK I understand - you have 2 dozen on these on your used car lot and you can't even give them away.

    Dealerships are businesses - businesses stay in business by making a profit. If you don't like what you're offered, sell it yourself.

    Finance me at 15% - for 72 months well OK it does lower my payment (and keeps me upsidedown for 5 1/2years!)

    If you have poor credit AND you're buying more than you can afford, it's nobody's fault but your own.

    Extended warranty adds another $1,500 - you can just add it into the loan - thanks for looking out for me - I will give your name to all my friends

    Extended warranties are negotiable - then again, there's that "just say no" phrase you hadn't learned yet.

    Since my loan is so high - you now say I need credit life and gap coverage. Great add it to the loan

    See above.

    But why should I complain I only paid $250 over invoice!!

    You shouldn't - if you just said "no".

    You get up and walk out without thanking them for the free coffee - it tasted ugly anyway.
  • sorry z71, but zues does have a point.

    You can turn down anything and everything but some fees a dealership just won't mess with.

    Why kill yourself over a $400 ad fee. Say a dealer down the lot tells you they will do it for 350, and give you 400 over invoice? you pay more. Best way to deal is an OTD price as zues suggests. Boom, 21,960OTD is much better than 22,960 OTD. Who cares how they got to it, you are still financing XXX, and the dealer did what they had to to make it pan out.

    Had a dealer give me a great trade on my car, but MSRP on the new one. Other was average on car, but $400 over invoice on new one, difference in OTD? about $1500. I don't care how they get to it, all I'm worried about is the bottom line. If car X and Y have the exact same options, add ons, etc. what's the best overall price I can get it for. If you have your financing preapproved as a fallback, you shouldn't have any problems with 15% for 72mo.

    As I have recommended before, before you go into any dealership, have your ducks lined up. Financing, trade info, new car info, warranty, etc. much easier to deal.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    How do you determine a good out the door price without looking at the details?

    What do you base it on?

    If one dealer gives you $21,960 and the second says $22,960 - yes dealer one has a better price - but are you getting a good deal? You don't know.

    Zue - your just say no answer really supports my point, negotiate everything - don't just accept a fee / charge.

    Maybe it is just my style, but just saying -

    Your out the door price is to high - lower it - does not work for me. I have better luck using a more detailed approach. I have bought several vehicles for below invoice, with no add on fees. Several more at $100 - $300 over invoice - with no add on fees. I even bought one car for $500 under invoice minus holdback. Again no ad, doc or any other fees. How is this possible if they are not negotiable?

    One last point -I always treat the salesperson with respect.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    On an '04 Yukon invoiced in the San Antonio Texas area, as well as the Austin Metro area, GM adds on a line item of 2% MSRP for advertising. This is part of the invoice the dealer must pay. I raised a stink over it until the sales manager came in and told me I could pick any invoice from any dealer in any metro area of Texas, and I would find the same line item at the bottom of the invoice and it would be for 2% of the MSRP less freight. And I don't even LIKE their commercials.

  • The way I look at it, an OTD price factors in lic, reg, tax, doc fee, add-ons, etc...

    If the car is identical(lets say an '04 Accord EX V6 non Navi in Satin Silver), and one dealer offers you 24,990 while second dealer offers you 25,990 IMO, unless dealer 2 dropped in a warranty, add-ons, or some other pack item, I don't really care how much I am paying for doc fees. granted, it is possible to negotiate and spend time 'grinding' dealer 2, why waste time if the price is fair? ... Say you are getting the car for $100 over invoice, how much more can you possibly save, and how long will it take you to get it? Say you 'grind' dealer 2, and get them to go down to 24,940... takes say 3 hours... that's like paying yourself about 16/hour. not worth my time.

    Of course it's just my opinion, and to each their own.
  • raprap Posts: 9
    I don't really mean to rehash this topic again, but can someone please explain the advertising fee to me? Is it something that dealers will always include in their "invoice" price and how much is it exactly for a Limited 4X4?

    I have searched the forum, and gotten mixed info suggesting it is anywhere from $300 to $500. I spoke with one dealer recently, and he insisted that "EVERY" dealer would include this in their invoice price. However, the invoice price he quoted me would lead me to assume the advertising fee is in the neighborhood of $800. I know that the Edmunds invoice price does not include this fee ... Should it?

    Can someone please elaborate? Thanks.

  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Don't even think about the advertising fee.

    Start with the Edmunds invoice price, add on a couple hundred dollars, and add on the transportation cost. Then add on sales tax and a fee for tag/title ($50 in VA) to get an OTD price. See if they will accept that offer.

    If not, then increase your offer. Keep increasing it until a dealer accepts it.

    Of course, if there are dealer incentives or rebates for the car you want to buy, you should adjust your OTD offer accordingly.
  • Greetings RAP. I always tell consumers to look at the big picture when shopping for a new vehicle. Focus on the total price that you want to pay to drive off in the car or truck that you are interested in. This number is often called the out-the-door price. Doing so will prevent dealers from clouding the picture by trying to tack on all sorts of random fees. Afterall, it doesn't matter how your vehicle's price is broken down if you are spending the least amount of money possible for it. Do some research on the model that you want here at You should be able to get a good idea of what people are paying for it right now by looking up its True Market Value in the New Vehicle Pricing section of this site, looking up the incentives that are currently available on it in the Incentives section of this site, and by visiting by the appropriate discussion on the Prices Paid & Buying Experiences Message Board that appears here in the Town Hall. Once you have calculated an out-the-door price for the model that you want, shop around for price quotes from several local dealers and purchase from the one that offers you the lowest price, provided you feel comfortable with them.

    Smart Shopper Message Board
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