Short Answer: A few fees you might not know about or expect to see when you buy a car at CarMax include a transfer fee to have a car shipped to your local CarMax, a processing or dealer fee to cover the cost of the paperwork involved with the sale, and any required state fees like title and registration fees. Transfer fees vary depending on the distance the car has to travel; some cars even ship free. Not all CarMax locations charge a processing fee, but when one is charged, it’s typically a flat fee ranging from about $100 to $400. State fees are set at the state level and are required by law. For more on CarMax “hidden” fees, see below.
CarMax Hidden Fees Explained
When you purchase a car at CarMax, you might not be expecting to pay anything beyond a down payment (if you are making one) and any tax, title, and licensing fees (which you can typically roll into your auto loan). However, there are some other fees associated with buying a car from CarMax. We contacted CarMax locations in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Washington to find out about these specific fees. We also viewed the fees at CarMax dealerships in Nevada and Wisconsin online.
CarMax Transfer Fees
A transfer fee — sometimes called a shipping fee — is a fee you’ll pay to have a car you’re interested in shipped to your local CarMax from another lot. There is often no fee if the dealerships are in the same state, but, if the vehicle is located out of state, a transfer fee will apply. Transfer fees vary depending on the distance the car needs to travel. For example, to have a 2016 Toyota Rav4 transferred from a CarMax dealership in Virginia to a location in Pennsylvania, the transfer fee is estimated to be about $150. To have the same type of vehicle shipped from a CarMax lot in Ohio to a lot in Pennsylvania would be about $250.
Transfer fees are due at the time you request a transfer and can be paid over the phone or at your local CarMax by cash, credit or debit card, or check. The fee is nonrefundable, but you are under no obligation to purchase the vehicle once it’s transferred.
Processing fees are also referred to as dealer fees, documentation fees, and document preparation fees. Essentially, it is a fee the dealer charges you for handling all of the paperwork involved with the sale. Not all CarMax locations charge a dealer fee; about 50% of the CarMax dealerships we contacted said they do not charge a processing or dealer fee. At the locations that do charge processing fees, we found that the flat fee ranges from about $100 to $400.
The processing fee is non-negotiable, and it is added to the total cost of the vehicle when you make a purchase. You can roll this fee into your total financing amount if you prefer not to pay it upfront.
State fees include sales tax, registration fees, title transfer fees, and more. They can vary widely by state. Most CarMax locations will help you with the paperwork for these various fees and will often forward the information to your state’s department of motor vehicles for you.
Some examples of state-specific fees are the air quality fee in Arizona and the cost of a smog test in California. To find out about state-specific fees, you can visit your state’s DMV website or contact your nearest CarMax.