In the overall scheme of things I know it’s not a big deal, but the piece of legislation that irritates me most this session is the one that allows car dealers to increase their “document fee” from $50 to $150. What a totally bogus scam.
See, this is the way it works. You do all your homework, educating yourself on the real dealer invoice, and all the various incentives and rebates out there, and then you go to the dealer and attempt to negotiate the best deal you can… you know, one in which you get a fair value and the dealer makes a fair profit, sometimes as little as a few hundred bucks, depending on the car. And then when you go to sign the paperwork you find this extra $150 tacked on.
“What’s that?” you ask. “Oh, that’s the state document fee,” the salesman responds, and you curse under your breath at yet another state tax you weren’t aware of, before coughing up an additional $150.
But it’s not a tax, and it’s not mandatory, and you just gave the dealer an additional $150 in profit above what you thought you had just negotiated.
That’s just downright deceptive, and the state’s got no business helping car dealers trick customers into padding their profit, regardless of the current sorry state of the industry. If a 150 bucks is the difference between making a big enough profit or not, charge 150 bucks more, or don’t make the deal. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head. But it’s just plain dishonest to go into negotiations knowing the customer is already standing $150 in a hole.
Of course, everybody already expects car dealers to be deceptive. I just don’t see why the state government has to enable them in that endeavor.