Press release

Auto Trader levels the playing field on its platform by incorporating admin fees into total price

As part of its commitment to deliver a transparent and fair experience for both car buyers and retailers on its marketplace, from this month Auto Trader will include any admin fee charged by a retailer within the vehicle’s total advertised price, which will subsequently be reflected in the accompanying valuation and price indicator flag.

It marks the final step in Auto Trader’s objective of removing all unfair advantage associated to admin fees on its marketplace. The first stage began in June 2020 with the introduction of a ‘No admin fees’ flag applied to those retailer adverts which didn’t include an additional charge (the vast majority on Auto Trader). It was followed in May 2021, with the exact costs clearly labelled on the adverts of those retailers who chose to include a separate admin fee. This information will continue to be shown on adverts.

More broadly, the move forms part of Auto Trader’s customer promise, which was launched in August 2019 to guide all future developments of its marketplace. Based on providing a more transparent, trusted and efficient platform for its retailer partners to sell, and for consumers to buy through, this promise has shaped all of the improvements, large and small, since its introduction two years ago.

In the last 12 months alone, Auto Trader’s product teams have introduced over 20 upgrades to its data and advertising products to help retailers adapt to the fast-changing market conditions, and evolving consumer behaviours. This included providing a real-time view of marketplace supply and demand, while enabling end-to-end online selling to the largest and most engaged audience.

The need to support retailers’ capabilities to sell online was further highlighted in Auto Trader’s latest digital retailing study[1]. It found that nearly three quarters (72%) of the circa 5,000 people surveyed now find purchasing a vehicle online appealing when shown an example of how it might look (up from 61% in August 2020). The research also revealed that viewing the full price of a vehicle online is one of the top three jobs car buyers now expect to complete online. As a result of this consumer behaviour change, enabling consumers to do more, including providing full price transparency online, has become essential.

Commenting, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, said:We’ve long been committed to creating a fair, consistent and transparent experience for both car buyers and our retailer partners on our marketplace, and the completion of our admin fee objective marks an important step on this journey. There are many reasons why some retailers choose to charge an admin fee, and whilst it’s not our place to determine whether it’s right or wrong, we do firmly believe that no business should be at a disadvantage for choosing not to. By enabling retailers to compete on a more level playing field, it represents another step towards our goal of supporting all of our retailer partners in their transition to digital retailing.”

Anything which is entirely optional for the buyer is not classified as 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, such as warranty, GAP insurance, membership schemes, or home delivery fees.

For a summary of the upgrades made over the last 12 months, please visit: https://www.autotrader.co.uk/2021

[1] Auto Trader Digital Retailing research, August 2021

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