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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are trying to order a new 2009 Acadia SLT-2 AWD, and are looking to find a reasonable deal that wouldn't break the bank. We did our research (a great deal of information was garnered from this very forum :thumb:), read all the latest periodicals, and have waited since January of this year to venture into the realm of auto dealerships (especially GMC's). ;) We soon discovered that a 2008 would not work for us, so we settled on ordering a 2009 model. ;D

Our first encounter started out sort of rocky, having a miscommunication with a dealership Internet manager. After we concluded that he was still willing to deal $500.00 over invoice, the deal went sour only when communication between us got worse. We were not kept in a timely information loop about the Production Status Codes, pricing or other information pertaining to our order. He also did a slight of hand regarding the production date, originally providing us with one date, claiming he had the actual invoice, and then finally admitting that production had been "pushed back". We ended up withdrawing from the deal when our order was Code 3000 (Man, what a bummer. :( )

But, we decided not to give up, took the advice of a fellow member of the forum, and contacted another dealership. This new guy insisted that he would not duplicate the mistakes of the first dealer, would keep us in the loop, provide us with updated Production Code Status, and give us a better deal than the previous dealer.
We communicated by e-mail about coming to the dealeship. On the date and time of the meeting, he provided me with a set of figures already worked out, printed on a purchase order. The figures were alleged to be Invoice prices, as agreed. But there was at least $800.00 that we had not anticipated and did not understand. When we looked at the "breakdown" we discovered that the actual figures on the Base Price, Additional Options and Destination Charges mirrored those at both Carquotes.com and Edmonds.com. ;) But, under the heading "Advertising/Adjustments" there was an additional amount of $878.60 !!! :eek: When I asked him why the additional charges, he responded with a "party line" about advertising charges that GM puts on all dealerships. He refused to budge on the amount, even after I reminded him that he and the previous dealer had agreed on a maximum of $500.00 over Invoice as a start, and that there was no mention of additional charges. His position was that the Adveristing Charges were essentially non-negotiable. :mad: :confused:

In all honesty, we have no problem with anything in the deal, especially since Edmonds.com and GMC Invoice prices were used. We were even willing to endure the many taxes and fees charged in our area on large ticket item purchases. But this crap about "Advertising fees" had thrown us for a loop. ??? :mad:

We read similar topics in the Forum about Advertising Fees and Invoices from 2007 and discovered the same practices among some dealers. It was not clear whether or not these charges are required, is subject to negotiation or haggling, or is a ploy to make additional profits when the vehicle is being sold at or below the Invoice. ??? :confused:

We would imagine that the immediate reaction would be to get up, walk out, and find another dealer. In fact, that was my first thought. But, what if the charges, all things considered in our area, is reasonable (albiet expensive)? We have no problem with continuing to shop, but at some point it becomes a matter of diminishing returns (i.e., travel, telephone calls, e-mails, negotiations with endless numbers of salespersons . . .). Not to mention the time it would take to get a legitimate order placed, time for production, shipping and the delivery process. :banghead:

Any suggestions out there?
Has anyone had similar experiences?
What do you guys think about the legitimacy of the "Advertising Fees". :help:
 

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We ran into the same situation when we purchased from the internet manager. He told us the the advertising fee was charged by GM and that the fee was different in various markets around the country. I personally think that this practice is 'horse hockey'. You don't have to pay an advertising fee when you buy a Mickey D's hamburger, Pizza Hut pizza, etc (you do, but it is included in the price that is paid).

I work for the major home improvement retailer. My customers would tell me to (fill in the expletive) myself if we did the same thing as GM. Just my opinion.
 

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This is really a simple issue. If the dealer participates in a GM Advertising Co-op, which most dealers do, then the fee is part of their invoice and is legitimate. Co-op ad fees usually range from 1-2% of MSRP excluding destination. There are some dealers, often in rural areas, that do not participate in these co-ops, but they are hard to find. Blue_2009_SLT found one in Jacksonville, FL as discussed in another thread.

Here's what Edmunds has to say about ad fees:

Advertising fees: Sometimes buyers look up invoice prices on Edmunds and find they don't match the invoice price given by a dealer. Is the dealer trying to put one over on the buyer? Not necessarily. This is probably because an advertising fee is involved. If an advertising fee is listed on the car's invoice we consider it a legitimate fee that should be paid. However, if the advertising fee is written into the buying contract by the dealer it is another example of a dealer trying to pass along his expense to the buyer.

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/117494/article.html
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles there Detnick. I know there are going to be several different opinions on this forum about these advertisement fees, but I'll attempt to sum it up for you (all just my opinon mind you).

Bottom line is that if you don't want to pay those advertisement fees then you have to find a dealer that doesn't participate. If it is that important to you not to pay them, then I recommend that be your first question wherever you are attempting to shop for an Acadia.

Otherwise if you are going thru a dealer that is participating and you start negotiating to a price relative to Invoice, then the dealer is going to be using HIS invoice price, which includes those fees. That means you and he may be talking past each other and not know it until you see the paperwork.

Granted, you can accept the fact that the advertising fees will show up on your paperwork and then try and just close the deal to $800 bucks (typical amount for 2% adv fees) more off the sticker to compensate.

Hang in there bro. Your time is comin and let me assure you....you will love this vehicle! Good luck.
 

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:(Sadly, I think this is becoming an industry practice at the dealership level. When we bought our Volvo 4 years ago, they tried to add a $495 advertising fee.

We shopped 5 GMC dealerships for our Acadia and each one insisted on an advertising charge that was between $800 - $900. It may be a legitimate cost, but I do think it's negotiable - similar to the pesky "documentation fee" that is now frequently preprinted on the sales form. It's a matter of (1) how much negotiating you're willing to endure and (2) how long the vehicles are sitting on the lot. If the vehicles are sitting longer, the dealer is more likely to come down on these fees.

We were trying to do a $500 over invoice deal, too. We ended up using GM Supplier Pricing, which came to around $800 over invoice (plus the "documentation fee") but we didn't have to pay this advertising fee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I certainly agree, xseler.
I read in one of the postings in 2007 regarding this topic, that not all dealers subscribe to this charge or fall under this "plan". I would think that dealerships that do not add these charges on to their Invoice would make that fact known to the public. I'd be willing to bet that their business prospects would increase significantly. :)

:soapbox:
I personally would respect, and be willing to deal with, a saleman or dealership that was honest and up-front about these charges. I can appreciate that they need to make a profit. I can also understand how anything up to $500.00 per vehicle might be fair. But, to gouge customers with fees that they are "alleged" to be "forced" to pass on to the consumer is a real bad joke. :mad:

If the dealer wants to make a profit, then they should just deal up to the $500.00 above Invoice if they continue to advertise that type of incentive or marketing ploy. They should not make those offers about charging from Invoice and then do the "bait and switch" by manipulating the "invoice price" to include these advertising charges. :angryfire:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Loach, I appreciate you're providing us with that information relative to Edmonds. I never saw that description of advertising fees before. It does address some concerns that we had. :)
In our case, the advertising fee was added as part of the "Grand Total Price" which included the Base Invoice Price, the Invoice Options Charges, and the Destination Charge. It was not listed as an "official" charge from GM, which now gives us reason to believe that they are just passing the cost on to the customer. :mad:

JonTon,
Thanks for the sympathy. We really need it about now and our patience is wearing thin . . . Hopefully, thinks will look different in a few months (that is, if we don't canel this deal as well!) ;) :comfort:

Liquid Silver:
It's interesting (and maybe a little gratifying) to know that we are not the only ones out here facing these issues. Since you mentioned that the charges that you observed during your "travels" were between $800 and $900 dollars, we don't feel quite as bad. But still . . . that's a lot of loot! :D ???
 

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It's a lot of loot when you're expecting or planning on it. Are you sure you don't have access to something like Supplier pricing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
O.K folks - Stop The Presses ! :blob:

I was just re-reading the documents provided by this dealer. If what Loach quoted from Edmonds is true
Advertising fees: Sometimes buyers look up invoice prices on Edmunds and find they don't match the invoice price given by a dealer. Is the dealer trying to put one over on the buyer? Not necessarily. This is probably because an advertising fee is involved. If an advertising fee is listed on the car's invoice we consider it a legitimate fee that should be paid. However, if the advertising fee is written into the buying contract by the dealer it is another example of a dealer trying to pass along his expense to the buyer.
, then in our case it depends on what is an official GM invoice. :D

Our document is apparently computer generated, reads as a "Price Summary" and lists Base Price, Total Options, Vehicle Subtotal, Advertising/Adjustments, Destination Charge and Grand Totals for all categories under both MSRP and Invoice headings. The document is a report that says: "GM AutoBook, Data Version: 141.5, Data updated 8/12/2008; Copywrite 1986-2005 Chrome Systems Corporation". The document also provides a "Window Sticker" with a complete desciption of our order, with the correct ordering codes for each option, and correct date and time the report was generated.

Does this document sound really official to you guys? If it does, then what Loach quoted from Edmonds indicates that the adveristing fee listed IS legitimate. (The fee does not appear seperately on the Purchase Order handwritten by the dealer, but is included in the "Cash Sale Price of Vehicle". ???

Does anyone have any salt they can spare so I can finish eating this crow? :-[ :jaw:
 

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I don't think I compared bseemore's numbers to Edmunds. I know he ended up under $100 over invoice- even though they mistakenly ordered 19" wheels, they made it up with some extra stuff & he is happy (at least until he found out he had no second row cup holders, but that is another thread). If you do so, this will tell you if that dealer (also in Chicago) participates. The ad fees were new info to me, and it was through sheer volume of inquiries that I found my dealer. It will take some time & effort, but you can request quotes from each of them or use my email script in my "Took the plunge" thread, modifying it as needed for your particular vehicle. This will tell you if they have ad fees or not.

EDIT ??? :deadhorse:
I found the thread with bseemore's prices (summary doc attached). The vehicle and all his options were at Edmunds invoice, so he did not pay ad fees. $80 in doc fees and $153.70 over invoice.
If you don't use this dealer, you are throwing money away! If you don't use this dealer, you are throwing money away![/color]
 

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detnick said:
If the dealer wants to make a profit, then they should just deal up to the $500.00 above Invoice if they continue to advertise that type of incentive or marketing ploy. They should not make those offers about charging from Invoice and then do the "bait and switch" by manipulating the "invoice price" to include these advertising charges. :angryfire:
I am not sure how that becomes a bait and switch simply because it does not match what you expected the invoice to be based on Edmunds and such. They are not manipulating anything. If it did not show up on an invoice that the dealer showed you and then when it came time to pay it was suddenly there, that would be a bait and switch IMHO.

Now whether you should have to pay it or negotiate it away is an entirely different discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
zman,
I'm referring to what the dealer told me via e-mail and on the telephone before we actually met. The understanding was Invoice Price only (that was the only thing discussed). When he finally showed me his written figures on the Purchase Order, I noted the "Advertising/Adjustment" figures were now added to the prices he made reference to (these figures were exactly like those in Edmonds).
My position is: Why would I be willing to deal at $500.00 over Invoice at one dealership (as a starting point), but leave for another dealership that is offering (on the phone) Invoice, but when we meet the actual price is $800.00+ above Invoice?
If I knew that going in I would not have wasted my time.

As far as the term "bait and switch":
I realize that there may be a difference between what people normally consider to be the "bait and switch" consumer gambit, but it was the closest phrase I could conjure to define the issue.
 

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detnick said:
zman,
I'm referring to what the dealer told me via e-mail and on the telephone before we actually met. The understanding was Invoice Price only (that was the only thing discussed). When he finally showed me his written figures on the Purchase Order, I noted the "Advertising/Adjustment" figures were now added to the prices he made reference to (these figures were exactly like those in Edmonds).
My position is: Why would I be willing to deal at $500.00 over Invoice at one dealership (as a starting point), but leave for another dealership that is offering (on the phone) Invoice, but when we meet the actual price is $800.00+ above Invoice?
If I knew that going in I would not have wasted my time.

As far as the term "bait and switch":
I realize that there may be a difference between what people normally consider to be the "bait and switch" consumer gambit, but it was the closest phrase I could conjure to define the issue.
When you discussed price with him, did you discuss specific numbers or just "invoice"? If you just negotiate from "invoice" then you cannot say this dealer mislead you in any way. His invoice from the manufacturer includes the advertising charges. 3rd party sites like Edmunds don't include them because they vary from dealer to dealer. So you were both negotiating from "invoice" - but you didn't have the actual invoice. This is why I always negotiate only with real numbers - not some esoteric "invoice" number off the internet that may or may not be right.

If you are still concerned about this, ask him to show you the official factory invoice - not some computer printout. If the advertising charges are on it, then the dealer is being honest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
loach said:
detnick said:
zman,
I'm referring to what the dealer told me via e-mail and on the telephone before we actually met. The understanding was Invoice Price only (that was the only thing discussed). When he finally showed me his written figures on the Purchase Order, I noted the "Advertising/Adjustment" figures were now added to the prices he made reference to (these figures were exactly like those in Edmonds).
My position is: Why would I be willing to deal at $500.00 over Invoice at one dealership (as a starting point), but leave for another dealership that is offering (on the phone) Invoice, but when we meet the actual price is $800.00+ above Invoice?
If I knew that going in I would not have wasted my time.

As far as the term "bait and switch":
I realize that there may be a difference between what people normally consider to be the "bait and switch" consumer gambit, but it was the closest phrase I could conjure to define the issue.
When you discussed price with him, did you discuss specific numbers or just "invoice"? If you just negotiate from "invoice" then you cannot say this dealer mislead you in any way. His invoice from the manufacturer includes the advertising charges. 3rd party sites like Edmunds don't include them because they vary from dealer to dealer. So you were both negotiating from "invoice" - but you didn't have the actual invoice. This is why I always negotiate only with real numbers - not some esoteric "invoice" number off the internet that may or may not be right.

If you are still concerned about this, ask him to show you the official factory invoice - not some computer printout. If the advertising charges are on it, then the dealer is being honest.
I can better understand what you and zman are talking about. The truth is we did not talk exact figures at the time. I appreciate what you are saying about seeing the actual figures on the invoice, and based on what you have written, I am more inclined to believe the dealership is being direct and honest, provided that the "Advertising Fees" that we are talking about are actually on the Invoice from GM (not a computer printout), as you point out. Problem is, the invoice we are talking about won't be available until much later in the production process (or so I have been told). I would hate for us to wait 8 or more weeks just to discover that the fees in question were not on the Invoice. ???

After I read your last post, I spoke to a more senior manager at the dealership who assurred me that the GM Invoice would reflect the "Advertising Fees". I will know then that my concerns were misplaced. :)

The only other issue will be how much will I get for my trade-in? ???

But, that's another totally seperate issue, right? ;) (That's also a rhetorical statement) ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since I opened this subject/topic and started this thread, I had no idea it would take on the proportions it has. In the process I learned a lot about perceptions. Admittedly, I approached this situation about Invoices and Advertising as something that the dealerships and salespeople manipulated to inflate their profits, foisting this additional monetary burden on the unsuspecting public ;).
But, after reading some of the responses and communicating with other members by regular e-mail, I discovered that I may have been somewhat mistaken . . . at least in regard to this particular salesperson/dealership. Given everything that has happened, I feel obligated to get this thing right . . . especially since other members took the time (and to some degree invested their "reputation" by providing a reference ;) :D). The person(s) who provided me with the reference actually gave me the name of a different salesperson, but it was the same dealership. Granted, their experience was obviously better than my first encounter, otherwise they would not have recommended any particular dealership or salesperson. I'm relieved that they felt my pain and provided me some support. :comfort: (Especially Loach, Zman and Blue[/color])

So, let me inform you that after the saleperson ("J" the Internet Manager) and his manager assurred me that the Advertising Fees would, in fact, be reflected on the official GM invoice when the vehicle is delivered, I began to feel better. I actually received a courtesy call from the dealership asking if there was some way we could come to an accommodation. After a relatively short but frank conversation, a new set of figures were discussed and ultimately mutually agreed upon. In fact, the figures are exactly as I had hoped (and expected). To date, we are actually going to be paying about $300.00 less than before. So, we are talking about perhaps as much as $300.00 under the official invoice price on this vehicle, which I am told does include the advertising costs. :thumb:
Some would say that is too much. Some would say that is a fair amount to pay for the vehicle in question. Well, the jury is still out on that . . . :p

I made it known to the dealership that fair consideration should be given to the trade-in at delivery. We shall see what happens . . . :-\

Remember, this whole this is predicated on the TOTAL deal, not just this part of the process.

:soapbox:
My plan is to post the progress of this Order, Build, Delivery, Vehicle Prep, Trade-In and Closing process as it happens. My intention is to be objective (Yup, I actually said the "objective" word :eek:). I am hoping that the dealership will continue to be true to it's word and be fair about this deal. If there is a conflict or issue that I may be incorrect about (or the flipside - the dealership or salesperson is wrong), I need your input. As a result of this little experiment, let's hope that other members who are on "the fence" will decide that they may get a good deal afterall - especially during this downturn in the ecomony as it affects the domestic automobile industry.

I should note that during this process I learned, as another poster pointed out elsewhere in the forum, that aggressive dealership personnel who know their profession actually take the time to read these forums. They learn about many things on these pages, including the moods of perspective buyers, current and former customers. I'm sure they can gauge if there is a problem or issue that needs to be addressed or researched - to do otherwise would spell disaster for their business. I learned that AcadiaForum.net [/color] is one internet location that dealers do pay attention to (believe me, I can speak from personal experience). ;) Your comments are being monitored - your comments make an impact. 8)

So, Congrats folks! :clap2: You have gotten a lot of attention (in a good way). ;D

If you would like the full name of the dealership or the saleperson with whom I am dealing in the Chicagoland area, feel free to drop me a line and I will respond with that information ASAP. :D (That is, if you don't already know who it is. ;D)
 
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