Tip of the Week: Dealer Documentary Fees

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Not sure what dealer documentary fees are? Here are the basics in our Car Pro Tip of the Week.

1. Dealer Documentary Fees Are a Legitimate Charge 

The dealer documentary fee is a legitimate charge a dealer is allowed to pass on to the buyer. It’s for the complicated and time-consuming process of filling out and filing new car paperwork.

2. Fees Range From Under $100 to Over $600. 

Fees can vary dramatically from state to state. Some states set maximum limits, but most don’t and a dealer can charge what they want.  A fair documentary fee is a maximum of $150, but understand the doc fee is at the dealer’s discretion up to a certain amount if your state sets a maximum doc fee amount.   Florida has the highest average in the country at $675.  California has one of the lowest doc fee limits at $80, New York, Minnesota, and Oregon cap the fee at $75, Texas is $150, Illinois is $166, Michigan is $190, Louisiana is $200, and Ohio is capped at $250.

3. Most Dealers Charge Every Buyer the Same Fee.

Don’t expect to be able to negotiate a dealer documentary fee. Most dealers make it a policy to charge every buyer the same fee to avoid any accusations of discrimination.

4.  Ask Dealer About Fee Early On

Because fees vary, ask what the fee is before you visit a dealership and especially before signing paperwork. If the fee is high, you might get a better deal on the car itself. If not, you can always take your business elsewhere.

For more details on the dealer documentary fees check out our in-depth article here.


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