Auto Trader plans to highlight the ‘inconsistencies’ around admin fees charged by dealers to make adverts more transparent.
Some car dealers charge an admin fee to customers on top of the purchase price and while Auto Trader says it is not judging whether that is right or wrong, it wants to be fair and consistent for all users.
Dealers who do not tell Auto Trader whether they charge a fee or not it will be assumed that they do and adverts will be flagged as such from May 3.
Auto Trader – led by CEO Nathan Coe, pictured above – will be letting car dealers who do not charge an admin fee display this clearly on adverts on the site.
Dealers have been able to highlight whether or not they charge such fees in the website’s Dealer Portal and so far 8,000 have done so.
From May 3 details of admin fees will be displayed on adverts and those who do not charge a fee will be flagged with ‘no admin fees’ on their listings.
From March 1, car dealers will also be able to configure the amount they charge in fees so this can be detailed in adverts too.
In a blog post, Auto Trader’s product lead for consumer products, Ben Smith, said: ‘It’s incredibly important that we receive a response from all retailers to ensure we can deliver a solution which is fair and gives consumers complete transparency.
‘So if we don’t hear from you by February 26, we will assume that you do charge an admin fee and we’ll be working with you to configure the amount you charge so that we can clearly communicate this on your adverts from May 3.
‘If you do not charge admin fees, we’d ask that you let us know as soon as possible, either in Portal or by speaking to your account manager.’
The additional costs are often charged on top of the purchase price and are designed to cover back office fees in a car dealership, like paperwork. However, some customers feel they’re unnecessary and can complain when they’re charged on top.
Auto Trader says car dealers have a duty to ensure the final price payable, including any ‘unavoidable and foreseeable components’ are clearly advertised to buyers.
Later this year, Auto Trader will take the admin fee into account when users search for cars by price.
Smith added: ‘For example, if your vehicle is priced at £10,000 and you charge a £99 admin fee, the vehicle price will be displayed as £10,099 and this figure will be used to determine whether your vehicle appears in a price search, the price indicator flag the vehicle receives and will adjust valuations accordingly.’