Why is Auto Trader looking at admin fees?
Being transparent with potential buyers and winning their trust has never been more important. It’s crucial that potential buyers understand the full cost of your vehicle during their research phase and are not surprised with any unexpected charges at the point of purchase.
As we continue to improve the user experience on Auto Trader, through improving buyer trust, transparency and saving buyers valuable time, we’re are developing a new solution to ensure potential buyers can understand the full cost of a vehicle on Auto Trader, including any additional compulsory charges such as administration (admin) fees.
What is an admin fee?
An admin fee is a compulsory charge that a buyer must pay to complete the transaction with you and purchase the vehicle. As a retailer you have a duty to ensure that the final price payable, including any unavoidable and foreseeable components must be clearly advertised to the potential buyer, including on marketplaces like ours.
I offer additional value add products, are these admin fees?
No. Anything which is entirely optional for the buyer is not an admin fee. Many retailers offer value-add products or services which can enhance the buying and ownership experience but are not essential to complete the purchase of the vehicle advertised. These are not classed as admin fees and can include:
- Warranty/extended warranty
- GAP insurance
- Paint protection
- Service plan
- Membership schemes with benefits
- Home delivery fee
Our approach to admin fees
In order to ensure a transparent experience for car buyers and to help our retail customers clearly communicate the price of the vehicle alongside any optional services they offer, we are launching new features in phases.
Highlighting retailers who do not charge admin fees
Our first phase in this approach is to highlight on Auto Trader search listings and full-page adverts those retailers who do not charge admin fees. We will do this from 8 June by applying a “no admin fees” flag to search listings for those retailers who select to display this in line with our advertising terms and conditions.
The next phase will see more improvements later this year. Admin fees will be clearly labelled on Auto Trader where retailers do charge them. Plus, we’ll do more to highlight other value add services you provide more clearly to buyers.
Admin fees to be shown on Auto Trader
The first part of phase 2 will be to help retailers who do charge admin fees comply with trading standards regulations and clearly display this to potential buyers in search results and on their Auto Trader adverts.
This phase will not be released until late summer 2020, but we want to be transparent about our plans and the full solution we’re working towards. We’ll provide more information as this part of the solution develops.
Highlighting your value-add services more clearly
We recognise that many retailers provide additional value-add services which are optional for a buyer to purchase such as service plans or warranties. We are looking to do more to help you sell these features to potential buyers.
This will follow in Autumn 2020.
If you don't charge admin fees
- From 3 June you can opt-in via Portal to display the "No admin fees" flag on your adverts
- From 8 June onwards this will be rolled out across desktop, mobile web and our consumer mobile app
If you do charge admin fees
- Please answer the question in Portal with “Yes” and over the summer we'll be in touch to collect your details.
- From late summer (timelines to be agreed), the advertised price on Auto Trader and the price used to generate the vehicle valuation and price indicator will be inclusive of the admin fee.
Hear from Ben Smith
our product lead for consumer products
Ben shares more of the background and process him and the team have been through in arriving at these solutions.