Doc. fees

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by 9G-man, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. 9G-man

    9G-man Senior Member

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    How many of you pre-order participants discussed with you dealer what "documentation fee" you'll be looking at when you pick up your PiP next year?


    You know, the customary $300-$500+ they tack on the bottom line at closing.....
     
  2. skm009

    skm009 Member

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    I discussed that with my dealer in VA. They will be charging me $499, seemed a bit high to me as I am not accustomed to paying that much in Ohio.
     
  3. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    Dianne (Carson Toyota) told her customers (in an email) that the document fee would $55 (and that the CA tire fee would be $8.75).
     
  4. Piprius

    Piprius Member of the cult of Prius

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    $200 is the legal max in MD I think.

    Some states have maximum allowable amounts, others do not is my understanding.
     
  5. iRun26.2

    iRun26.2 New Member

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    I considered them as a backup but that extra $500 turned me off. It's like $500 added on to the MSRP!
     
  6. SCDrJ

    SCDrJ New Member

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    $499 is astoundingly high. My feeling is that's just added markup rather than an honest cost of doing business. I don't really like the concept in general, but as long as it's minimal (like the aforementioned $55) it's not worth the argument.
     
  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    This is exactly what it is.

    Of the five cars I have purchased in my lifetime, four were before this 'fee' was invented, but the dealers still had to perform the same actions to record the sale with the state. For the fifth, we were clearly agreeing on the total price including this fee before any deal was cut.

    At that time, my state capped this 'fee' to $50. It has since been raised to $150 so that dealers in the Spokane area can still advertise prices 'competitive' :rolleyes::rolleyes: to neighboring Idaho dealers, where this 'fee' is not regulated.

    I'm about ready to start charging an 'inconvenience fee' to all entities with which I do business, to cover all their mandatory but separate non-government fees, surcharges, and cost recoveries.
     
  8. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    While some fees are mandated by the state, if I read closely on my purchase contract it states in fine print, next to some line items, that "This Fee is not Mandatory" or "This Fee is not a government fee", or something to that effect.

    Basically what this means is that it's a markup by my dealer with a somewhat official sounding name. It's 100% profit.

    In essence I believe it is negotiable. During my purchase I got sidetracked/confused and forgot to ask about it.
     
  9. SCDrJ

    SCDrJ New Member

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    It is absolutely negotiable, in that it's an optional fee charged by the dealer and not payable to any government entity. That said, many dealers consider it "non-negotiable" and try to say, "well, it's printed right there so we can't change it". Although many won't, they can certainly credit it back as a separate line item or take it off the purchase price that was previously negotiated... They can use this as a little extra padding to make you feel like you are getting a better deal than you are, because after all, it's an official fee right, why would you question it?

    I feel that if the fee is minimal and I am otherwise getting a good deal, it's not worth the negotiation as it tends to ruffle their feathers quite a bit... Sort of like when you mention that you know invoice price is not dealer cost because of holdback money (2% on Toyotas if memory serves)... They want you to think that if they sell at invoice they have made no money! You should however very much indeed know what the doc fee is at your dealer so that "your" best price that you want to pay includes their fees, especially if you are in an unregulated state where 300-500 or more is commonplace. I cancelled a transaction for an '06 Prius with a dealer in AZ when they were in short supply in CA because while the dealer was willing to sell at MSRP, the doc fee was about $500, and they wouldn't budge.

    Part of me wonders if the fee is non-negotiable for the individual salesman, meaning it's dealership profit and not reflected in commissions? Anyone know?
     
  10. moolman

    moolman Member

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    Well, she's charging $55 because the max allowed by CA law is $55. Let's face it, if the max was $200 like some states she'd be charging you $200, that's how it works in the car biz.

    Also, the CA tire fee should be $7 for the PIP, we don't have a spare tire right, so $1.75 x 4 = $7.

    In CA, the only legit fees are the doc fee, CA tire fee, sales tax, and title and license, which can be calculated on the DMV website, pretty accurately, it was withing $10 last time I bought a car. Some dealers try to charge you a $20-25 electronic DMV filing fee, which is a scam, they are charging you so that it's easier for them to file paper work that they already charged you $55 for. This one you should balk at.
     
  11. StuffOnARock

    StuffOnARock Member

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    If you go to your order on the toyota site, and click on the print summary... at the very bottom, last line I have

    "All cars plus applicable sales tax, title, and $55 doc fees and $8.75 CA state tire fee."

    I don't know if Dianne set the deal up like that or what, but you should check that page... I'm curious what you guys have too...
     
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  12. crewdog

    crewdog Acting Ensign Prius Prime

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    I just checked the invoices for our vehicles:
    A used F150 we got from Carmax last year had $159 for doc & admin fees.
    My wifes Solara convertible showed 595 doc fee from local dealer in Dec. 2008.
    My Gen II Prius from same dealer showed 395 doc fee in May 2006

    This is going to be one of those "can't get around it fees".

    Perhaps we can owe this to the lobbying power of the Car Dealer Assn's in the various states.
    I do remember filling out a survey from Toyota about the buying process for the Gen II and saying that the process seemed just a bit tawdry.
     
  13. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    We owe this to the inattention of consumers. Or to their lousy math skills.

    If most buyers negotiated only by the total price, not by a fictitious low-ball 'price' lacking all the fees, surcharges, and cost recoveries, then this situation would not have happened.
     
  14. crewdog

    crewdog Acting Ensign Prius Prime

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    That's well said, and i guess i'm guilty of that inattention this time as well.

    I read a very interesting series in the L.A. Times recently,
    A vicious cycle in the used-car business - latimes.com
    about the buy-here-pay-here car lots and this quote was in the first part of the story:

    “This is not the car business. This is the finance business,†said Ken Shilson, an accountant who founded the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers in Houston. “Not everybody has the stomach for it.â€

    None of this should reflect on the dealers and sales pros like Dianne that do treat us consumers with respect and integrity.
     
  15. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    My deal was $32,000 for the car and $760 for "Delivery, Processing and Handling fee."
    The total is then $32,760, minus $500 discount, for $32,260.

    I think the rest of the fees are fixed in California -- tax, license, and $55 documentation.
     
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Sorry, but that $55 documentation fee was ADM -- Additional Dealer Markup. The government does not require it or get it, only caps it.

    So it is really part of your deal price.
     
  17. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I always ask, What amount will I have to write on the check? In other words, I ask for the price including all taxes, fees, services, and extras. Then I negotiate from there. I don't much care what they put on each line. I only care about the bottom line. Charge me $5,000 for doc fees if you want to, as long as the end total is an amount I've agreed to.

    For the benefit of people too inexperienced to understand how the car business works, I'd advocate a law saying that dalers cannot add ANY amount after a price agreement is reached, except sales tax, and that sales tax MUST be explicitly stated in any agreement. I.e.: "I'll sell you this car for $28,784 plus the state sales tax of 6% for a total of $30,489.84." The dealer can demand a price that includes enough profit to pay for his document filing costs.

    The doc fee is really just a way for car dealers to cheat people who don't understand that there's going to be a cost not disclosed in the negotiation.

    Another way to put it is that ALL costs including taxes, state fees, and dealer fees, MUST be disclosed by the dealer, clearly and up front, during negotiation. Not requiring this is to allow car dealers to lie about the price.
     
  18. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

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    THIS THIS THIS! Did people not bother at least skimming the thing that they "signed electronically" while submitting the preorder? These fees were actually at the very bottom of the "contract" thing that you checked the box of and then typed your name below.

    Presumably this varies from state, as in CA these fees are set by the state.
     
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