We declined to pay for the “experience”

So Dad needs a new vehicle to replace the ’07 Town and Country minivan he’s been driving for a long time (like for the past 180,000 miles).

We looked at different cars and such, and he chose to get another minivan…a Chrysler Town and Country or a Dodge Grand Caravan.

We look at some that are a few years old, and they are…tired. Very tired.

So he decided to bite the bullet and get one only a year or so old. A couple (like 7 thousand) more dollars, but ones that are not worn to death or beat to shit.

There are very few out there like that.

We find one locally, but they want a bit too much for it. A dealership 55 miles away has one nearly the exact same car, same mileage, only for $2k less. Not a huge amount of money, but 2 Grand is a lot to me and especially to Dad…I call and verify they have it in stock, and the price is as advertised…no add- ons, or other fees.

We get there, and test drive it and it is a nice minivan…low miles, clean, good condition, very little wear.

We haggle a bit, and agree on a price with the business manager. All good. Paperwork is drawn up, and a total agreed upon

He goes to the cashier and pays the agreed cash price for the vehicle, plus the doc fee and the fee for the temporary plate…..No sales tax because this dealer is in Illinois and he will be taking it back across the border to Indiana.

The dealership has to do their “Delivery Prep” and we wait for a few minutes. Dude comes up and hands us the keys and says…”We need to collect the sales tax, I was wrong.”

Ok, my dad is agreeable, so we go back to the cashier and he hands them a credit card to pay the 7% sales tax on a $16,900 vehicle.

The cashier says the difference is $2833. My dad looks at her and says…”7% tax, right?” She says “yes, the difference is $2833…”. My dad is pretty good at math and that doesn’t seem right to him…

I ask to see the paperwork, and it now shows the $16900, plus the doc fee and the plate fee and the line for sales tax…$1183….and a new line that says “Napleton Dealer Sales Experience Fee” and the number of $1650. Odd, that wasn’t there before….

When I questioned the “Experience Fee” the business manager said that it was a fee they charged to every customer for the “Experience” of purchasing a car at the dealership……I objected, pointing out that the fee had not been mentioned up to that point and that we had not negotiated that fee….He explained that EVERY customer pays that fee.

We declined to pay them an additional $1659 and requested our check back before we left…the “Business Manager” tried to tell me we had a contract and had no choice but to finalize the transaction….I suggested they give us back the check or I might have to come and take it back from the cashier….. No sale today.

We left, check in hand . We did not feel the “Experience” of buying a car was worth $1650.

I wonder how many people, especially those who finance, even realize that they are being charged this fee AFTER negotiating a final price?

I expect car dealers to be shady, and all, but damn.

Back to looking.

5 thoughts on “We declined to pay for the “experience”

  1. Yeah, car dealers are like dealing with the cable company with all the extra "fees"…………

  2. We have a Napleton dealer here in Central Florida – I’m sure that’s a coincidence [insert “sure, Jan” comment here]

    Bonus: the capcha photo featured “click on all cars”. God is such a scamp!

  3. We bought a similar used van from Avis last year. Loved the experience. Easy to deal with. Go to their website. They have maybe 10 vans ready to go off rental. Pick one for test drive. I admit, it takes almost a week. Then they send it to nearest Avis rental location. Go in, take for a ride. You can drive 3 hours free or ( As we did) rent for 3 days. At end of 3 days if you love it your " rental" goes towards sale. If not, you are out a couple hundred. We got the van we wanted , knew the color and it had the bells and whistles we wanted. Easy peasy and no I don't work for them. Vehicle is at reasonable price but you wont talk em down. You also don't have any "Experience fee". ( Tried a different rental company first, no names please, but they were weasels and tried a bait an switch so we walked.) Also, Im told that due to rentals being way down their sale price on cars have dropped somewhat.

  4. Results may very but I highly recommend the used rental. It had some miles but also had some factory warranty left.

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