By Rick Popely on September 15, 2013
"What are administrative and transportation fees?"
We can only guess based on the information you provided, but it sounds like you're questioning charges that a dealer says you have to pay. If that is the case, have you asked the dealer for an explanation?
The only legitimate transportation charge on a new vehicle is the destination charge listed on the window sticker. That amount, typically $750 or more, is one that the dealer pays to get the car from the manufacturer, and you will have to pay to buy the car.
The only exception is if a dealer were to find a vehicle for you in another city and have it delivered to their dealership. In that situation, we would expect to agree on any extra charge before the car is shipped. If the vehicle was already there when you visited the dealership, the extra fee isn't something you should have to pay.
Administrative (or "administration") fees is the term used in some leases instead of "acquisition fee," a more common term for the upfront costs of financing and processing a lease agreement.
If an administrative fee pops up on a vehicle purchase, perhaps it is another name for document or "doc" fees, which dealers charge for registering the vehicle, applying for a title and other required paperwork (such fees are often regulated by states).
If the dealer says it's a charge permitted by state law or regulation, check it out. Contact your state's motor vehicle department or attorney general's office. If the dealer says it's a fee charged to them by the vehicle manufacturer, ask to see proof (such as an invoice) and check it out with the manufacturer.
Have a car question you'd like us to answer? Send us an email at email@example.com, or ask in the comments below.
Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick