AUTO Trader has rapped the knuckles of dealers who mention ‘admin fees’ in adverts on its website – but fail to clarify exactly how much buyers will have to pay.
In a statement today in the dealer portal section of its site, it explains that over the next few weeks it will be removing adverts that are reported for not including any admin fee in the full vehicle price.
The company says: ‘The majority of our advertisers ensure that the full sale price of the vehicle includes all fees. However, we’ve seen an increase in advertisers referencing admin fees in the advert text without the fee being part of the full sale price.
‘Trading standards have informed us that this practice contravenes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 so we are taking action.
‘Within the next few weeks, we’ll be removing adverts that are reported for not including the admin fee in the full vehicle price. This will make it easier for consumers to find the cars they are looking for at the price they want to pay, and for other customers that already price properly, to be represented fairly in search.’
Initial reaction from dealers seemed positive. Umesh Samani, of Specialist Cars, Stoke-on-Trent, said on Twitter: ‘Fantastic move – and about time too!’
And speaking to Car Dealer this afternoon, he added: ‘It’s a very positive move, yes. How can it be transparent when a customer looks at a car for £10,000, but when they get to the dealer they are asked to pay £100 more?
‘The only trouble is how much are Auto Trader going to police this new rule? But they do need to make a stand on this, it’s been going on for far too long and it’s not helping consumers.
‘As for the dealers, we’re all trying to be competitively priced with our cars but how can it be competitive when some are hiding extra charges further down the road?
‘The problem with most customers is that, as you can imagine, they have done their research, they have travelled a fair distance, most of them arrive at a dealership and just pay the £100, £200 or whatever it might be. But it just leaves a nasty taste.’
More reaction to Auto Trader’s announcement was added on Twitter later this afternoon. Cheshire Cars said: ‘Better late than never. It’s been unlawful for years.’ And Chevron Cars of East Yorkshire added: ‘Implies this was instigated by trading standards rather than Auto Trader. Or maybe I’m just a cynical motor dealer?’
Car Dealer approached Auto Trader for comment and a response is expected tomorrow morning.
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