Here’s an example of car dealers getting special treatment in these hard economic times:
The legislature in my state, Washington, has approved a new law allowing dealers to triple the $50 “document fee” they charge customers.
The law has one purpose: to help out struggling auto dealers by increasing a fee that goes straight into their pockets. In my opinion, it’s another hurdle for struggling consumers who need to buy a new car.
The prime sponsor of the bill is state Rep. Dean Takko, who told lawmakers at a recent meeting,
They’re hurting, and I don’t mind giving them a hand if this is something that they really need.
Hey Dean, if you’re going to help auto dealers, why not extend your generous helping hand to all the other struggling businesses? I know espresso stand owners are hurting right now, too. So are newspapers and radio stations and home builders. How about a special law allowing them to charge more, too?
This isn’t a law that will help out dealers as much as it will further gouge the consumer. The law is asking us to prop up a sagging industry by throwing an additional hundred bucks into the dealer’s pocket and getting nothing in return. If buying a car from a dealer isn’t enough to keep that dealer afloat, let it fail, and let the stronger ones survive.
There is good news included in this law, though it’s buried: The state requires dealers to notify consumers in writing that the document fee is negotiable. Problem is, the notification is made during the signing process, after the deal is made.
Fellow cargurus, watch out for similar laws popping up in states across the country, and if you are in the market for a car, make sure you negotiate on the dealer documentation fee. Pay what your state charges the dealer to file your paperwork, and no more.
Do you think dealers should be able to increase their documentation fees in hard times?