I believe I've been had in what seems like one of the most genius negotiating moves I've ever seen.
I went to see this 2016 Nissan Versa S, priced at roughly 10k for 20k miles.
It was exactly where I wanted it, at the mileage that they'd had listed.
I arranged financing through my bank and was ready to pay the sticker price if nothing was wrong with the vehicle.
I got to the dealership, and the car had 25.7k miles on it, a bit more than advertised. As soon as we started the test drive, the sales person (Who of course joined me on the test drive to sell me) very quickly jumped into a conversation about their certified pre-owned program, and that there was a $2000 'Certification' fee they added. It wasn't clear whether this was something factored into the price already, or added on.
Eventually, after I ask, he says this is added onto the price. I let him know, flatly, that I wasn't interested in paying $12k - Near MSRP - for this 2 year old, used car, and that it wasn't worth it. We had some debate on what the vehicles sell for, him trying to tell me that base model versa's (Valued at roughly 12-13k) are selling for about 18k out the door after 'dealer fees' (He went back and forth with me on 'dealer fees', instead of 'doc fees, taxes, title, registration', saying that this was a normal fee and that it's usually tacked onto the online sticker price as it's a 'dealer fee')
Anyways, I get him to back off about $1750 from where he's at, to $10,250. It looks good at that moment, right? He's come down significantly from his position, roughly 15%.
What's getting at me, though, is that this is $250 above the original asking price.
We get back inside, and he drafts a purchase order for me (didn't sign, was running late for an event and said I'd be back tomorrow).
Purchase order has the selling price listed at $10,250, with the normal doc, tax, non-tax fees adding up to roughly $1000.
I'm thinking that this may have just been a tactic for him to sell me this car at above asking. I don't even know if this is something the dealership pushes, or just something very clever that this individual salesperson has invented on his own. I've never heard of a 'certification' fee before.
Anyways, I emailed him this morning to come down to about $9750, which I suppose I'd be alright with. I'm annoyed that it's not lower, given that the thing had more miles on it than expected, and was a fleet vehicle for two years, but it is - according to kbb at least - actually below what the 'fair' price would be buy a couple hundred. So I might be happy with that.
My question is - Is there such thing as a 'certification' fee getting added onto certified-pre-owned cars? I know they'd cost more, but that's supposed to be factored into the sticker price, right?
Update: Found out later that the dealership had an extensive history of negative online reviews where others had experienced similar 'made-up' fees and other similar behavior. Walked away.