Paid a Car Dealer More than Advertised? Maine’s AG Wants to Know
Maine's Attorney General is hoping to hear from people who were quoted or charged hidden fees while shopping for or buying a new or used vehicle.
What are Hidden Fees?
There's a lot of sticker shock going around right now, as vehicle prices have climbed. I know. I found myself, a few months ago, in need of a new-to-me vehicle. I got lucky and found a really good, reliable vehicle for a pretty reasonable price. Well, reasonable compared to a lot of the prices out there right now. The salesman treated me well and I think I walked away with a pretty great deal. But we all know, that's not always the case.
I think many people have found themselves, at one point or another, in a car dealer's office, listening to them talk about some 'special fee' that wasn't advertised as part of the price. Right now, Attorney General Aaron Frey says some dealerships are charging additional fees because of the high demand and shortage of vehicles. Some other examples include fees described as an upcharge, dealer fee, document fee, or handling charges.
How Do I Know If a Fee is Questionable?
Maine law states that dealers must include all charges in the advertised price, except for those additional items like taxes paid to the government rather than the dealer. According to the Attorney General's office, charging or attempting to charge a consumer more than the advertised price may be a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Attorney General's Automobile Advertising Rules.
Where Do I File a Complaint or Get More Information?
Now, AG Frey's office is hoping to hear from consumers who were told they had to pay additional amounts for new or used vehicles that were not included in the advertised price. Complaints can be filed through the Maine Attorney General's website, where residents can also find more information about car buying. Anyone with questions can contact the Attorney General's consumer complaints hotline at 207-626-8849, or toll-free at 1-800-436-2131.