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Auto Trader changes flag-up additional sales fees charged by car dealers

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products

Changes set to be introduced to the Auto Trader platform in May will flag-up additional fees charged by car retailers in an effort to make online sales more “fair, consistent and transparent for car buyers”.

The online vehicle marketing giant said that publishing fees would also support all its retailer partners in their transition to digital retailing, by enabling them to compete on a more level playing field online.

As part of the new policy Auto Trader will also clearly highlight retailers who do not charge additional selling fees.

Costs attached to home delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic are included in Auto Trader’s definition of additional – or admin – fees, along with such things as warranty, GAP insurance or membership schemes.

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products, said: “There are many reasons why some retailers choose to charge an admin fee, and whilst it’s not our place to judge whether it’s right to do so, it is our responsibility to ensure our marketplace is fair, consistent and transparent for car buyers, and importantly, that we provide a level playing field for all of our retailer partners.

“This marks an important step in our commitment to support all retailers in their digital retailing ambitions, and to ensure all of the information relevant to the buying journey is transparent online.”    

In a statement issued this morning (February 18), Auto Trader said that the “vast majority of retailers” do not charge admin fees.

Over the last eight months Auto Trader has been making enquiries about additional fees and while 8,000 retailers have informed them of their policies, it said there remain several thousand who have not yet provided this information. 

Retailers are being urged to inform Auto Trader via their Portal accounts by the February 26.

For those retailers who fail to contact Auto Trader by that date, it will be assumed they do charge an admin fee and its team will work with them to configure the amount they charge so that it can be clearly communicated on their adverts, Auto Trader said. 

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