WA Legislators to Up Dealers' "Doc Fees" From $50 to $150
Anyone remember the John Houseman ad for Smith Barney? “They make money the old-fashioned way. They UHN it.” Well, you can put that idea in an urn, at least when it comes to Washington State car dealers. Now that times are tough, the dealers have successfully lobbied (a euphemism if there ever was one) their state legislators to increase car dealers’ “document fees” from $50 to $150. Get ready to get ill, courtesy The News Tribune.
Such an increase could let auto dealers statewide pocket as much as $100 million to $150 million, money that would go straight to their bottom line. Those figures assume dealers will sell 1 million cars and trucks and that all dealers would charge the maximum fee allowed, as most do.
Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, said she sponsored Senate Bill 5816 at the request of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association and its 328 dealerships, and one of her former constituents, Mary Byrne, former owner of Nissan of Fife. Byrne now is a partner in Advantage Nissan in Bremerton.
It gets worse.
“They told me that Washington state sales are down by at least 30 percent and that they just want to be able to compete with Idaho and Oregon on our borders, which have lower sales taxes,” Eide said. “They came to me asking for help. Our local dealers are our livelihood in our communities, and they are going extinct. If they think this is going to be their lifeline, I’ll be there.”
Yes, you will. But don’t get to thinking that Elde doesn’t have Washington consumers’ best interests at heart, or that such a concept would be antithetical to this piece of pork pie legislation. Double negatives be damned, consumers still have the upper hand.
Eide said the fee is voluntary and that her bill would make it clear that it’s as much a negotiable item as the price of the vehicle itself. Sales and lease documents would have to disclose in boldface, italics, underlined type or in capital letters that the $150 fee is negotiable, she said.
So that’s alright, then.
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