Can Dealerships Markup the Price of a Car You Ordered Before You Pick It Up?

You’re all curled up on the couch, bingeing your favorite show, when you see an ad for crazy incentives on the car of your dreams. And it couldn’t have come at a better time! So, you make your way to the dealership hoping to cash in on the savings and bag yourself a new car at a bargain. 

As usual, an enthusiastic salesperson greets you, shows you the ropes, and you commit to the car. But it isn’t sitting at the dealership… You must wait for the delivery. But knowing some dealerships can be a nightmare, you start to wonder if they will add markups on their new car orders. EEEKKK 

The wakening truth is whether dealerships markup preordered vehicles depends on a few differentiating factors. 

Did You Sign a Purchase Order or Pay a Deposit?

While a purchase order and a deposit are both ways to commit to buying the car, they are legally different, likewise, the dealership views them from different perspectives.  

With a deposit, you don’t sign a contract, which gives the dealership free range to add a markup and mandated add-ons once the car arrives.  

A purchase order, it’s a binding contract that the dealership has to honor. But there are some dealers that might try to trick you into paying extra for the car after-the-fact, which could be a breach of contract. A purchase order will also lock in the available incentives when you buy the vehicle. For more popular models, the dealership might have a disclaimer that depends on the MSRP of the manufacturer.  

Nonetheless, signing a purchase order is a safer way to protect yourself against paying extra at delivery time.  

Where Did You Place the Order?

Granted, most buyers don’t understand the intricacies of the purchasing process and can easily confuse reserving a car with an actual vehicle purchase.  

Take the Ford Bronco, for instance, which is flying off the shelves. If you head on to Ford.Com and reserve yourself a Bronco, that’s not a contract. Your local dealer can easily throw in an ADM markup and additional line items. It’s very common in the market for popular cars.  

What you could do is search Markups.Org to find a dealer with a history of no or low ADMs, and order it from them. But push to sign an actual contract, so you can rest assured in knowing they won’t try to wiggle out of the price later.  

Watch Out for the Add-ons

Dealerships hire excellent marketing agencies. They know the terms that will get you in and get you to commit. After all, they are in the business of helping businesses sell cars.  

So, it’s not unheard of for the dealership to tell its customers that its cars don’t have an ADM. Inspect the fine print and all line items, they might add a few mandatory add-ons, which could accumulate a few thousand-dollar price increase.  

This is how the dealerships can make extra money on the car. The add-on could range from a few hundred bucks to a few grand. Some are useful, and others are a complete waste of money. Nonetheless, if you sign a contract with mandatory add-ons, expect to pay a little more during delivery because the car will come with extra perks.  

It Boils Down to Your Local Laws, Your Agreement, and the Dealership

There’s no universal law that prohibits dealerships from adding a markup to pre-ordered cars before delivery. It’s up to you as the customer to do your due diligence and find a dealership that comes close to your preferred terms and ensure the agreement covers all the bases that matter to you.  

Some dealerships are straightforward and hellbent on building customer loyalty, making the experience flawless. While others care more about the bottom line.  

Using resources like, you can compare markups from different dealerships to find one that suits your needs. 

Check out the markups history of dealerships near you: 

And make sure to share your experience by posting new markups listings: 

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