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Old 12-16-2012, 12:32 PM   #1
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Documentation fees on new car sales

First of all, I have to mention that I hate having 2 open threads in the same forum, but I feel this is a better chance of getting a quick direct answer as I'm about to close a deal with a dealership very soon.

I'd like to know if the documentation fee is a legitimate cost of buying a new car, or is it just another way for the dealership to make money? In my case, the documentation fee is $495.

If it's BS, i'd like to know, so I can argue that it either get removed completely, or partially, from my sale.

Also, i've signed a Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement, with the documentation fee listed. Can I still negotiate? Or am I too late?

First time new car buyer here, so I appreciate any help.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
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Would have helped if you at least mention which brand of car you're buying....
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:05 PM   #4
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Some manufacturers charge that. It's a money grab, that is why some financial institutions don't allow some manufacturers to include that fee in the amount financed.

It's brand dependant, and I guess ford charges that.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:14 PM   #5
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From my experience, it is mostly a bs fee.

Between my own vehicles purchases and those from my friends and families', we've had anything ranging from paying the full doc fees to having it completely waived. The majority of the time, I find that when you are bargaining with the salesperson, the doc fees will just end up being an extra buffer for the salesperson to play his numbers around.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean he will use the doc fees to rip you off. A lot of times, let's say you agreed to pay $15k a car. The salesperson might write up the invoice with a $14k vehicle price, $500 for PDI, and $500 for doc fees.

That's what I mean by the salesperson using this to move his numbers around.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:29 PM   #6
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The only price I'd agree are fair on a purcahse are 1) the cost of the vehicle, and 2) any delivery charges (even this, I'm not too satisfied with).

But, look at 'documentation fee'. What is it for? Signing documents? Its common sense to me that papers go hand in hand with a large purchase amount.

Is a lawyer or notary public preparing the papers? BS fee, imo
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:33 PM   #7
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I found this:

British Columbia's Vehicle Sales Authority has issued a warning for car buyers to beware of extra fees that get added in after you've negotiated a price for a car.

The most common is a documentation fee.
It's a made up fee by dealers in B.C. for about 40 years. It's a way for dealers to add profit back into a car deal and typically used to run about $300.

"Now we are seeing them as much as $1500 or $1600 and there is no extra documentation to justify the increase. They are using terms such as administration fees or environmental fee. There is usually an inference it's a government fee they have to pay to someone else," Ken Smith the Registrar of Motor Dealers said.

The only required fees are sales taxes, the battery levy of five dollars and the tire levy of three to five dollars per tire depending on the size of your vehicle

The president of the Vehicle Sales Authority and Registrar of Motor Dealers Ken Smith says the law requires full disclosure of all dealer fees and charges in the advertised price. He says adding in fees after the fact is a deceptive act.

"We're seeing too much of it . We're seeing a few dealers doing an awful lot of it it's probably because they are having trouble making their numbers and keeping their sales up," Smith said.

Buyers who have extra fees sprung on them at the end can be complain to the VSA and may be entitled to a full refund of fees collected or the right to cancel the sale. So, if it's happened to you contact the Vehicle Sales Authority and complain. And if you are buying a car and these extra fees are sprung on you at the last minute take your business somewhere else.

This doesn't mean dealers can't charge fees. They can charge anything they want -- they just have to disclose their fees in advertised prices and tell you any extra fees before you come to a final price. No nasty surprises at the end when you think the deal is complete.

The Vehicle Sales Authority can impose fines or in even suspend the license of dealers which fail to comply. They can be audited, given cease and desist orders -- many unpleasant things can happen including being ordered to give refunds to affected customers and if a dealer is doing it a lot -- that could be a huge amount of money.
Beware of undisclosed fees on vehicles | CTV British Columbia News

The article is from 2009, though it probably still applies today.

Looks like I should try negotiating that fee out of my purchase.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:36 PM   #8
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Don't pay the battery levy fee. It went out the window when HST came in. Who knows what's going to happen when the PST comes back though.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:30 PM   #9
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dealers will charge you document fees regardless of used or new cars.
not every dealer will charge the same price as well, but everything can be negotiated. i had it waived off for my civic but i was unable to budge at all for my acura..
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