A Dealer Doc Fee Can Be Fraud

"You mean I didn't have to pay that?"

In many car sales contracts you'll see a charge for what car dealers call a "documentary fee." Watch out! That's nothing but extra profit. Doing the documents is part of what they do in every case so there's not really any extra work involved --- just extra money for the dealer.

Some states, like Ohio, do allow a car dealer to charge the documentary fee if they are arranging your financing, but there's nothing that requires it and there's nothing that says it has to be the maximum amount that even those laws allow under some specific circumstances. Nothing, that is, but greed.

That greed can get out of hand. Take the case of Lithia Motors, where they were hit with a record fine of $500,000, imposed on a dealership chain's nine stores in Alaska.

On top of the half million dollar find, Lithia Motors was also ordered to send $200 refunds to several thousand Alaskans who were charged document preparation fees that the state said had been overcharged or illegally charged. It was the largest fine handed out to an Alaska auto dealership and shows a good example of car dealer greed.

Lithia's 104 dealers, actually based in Oregon, had collected the fees from customers goiong back to 2002.

If a car dealer tries to hit you with $250 for their documentary fees, argue with them. If they won't reduce it for you to something more reasonable, then take your business elsewhere. If you just found out about it and it's too late, then call us. In many cases we can get that back for you and make the car dealer pay us for our time to do it too.

Don't waste your money and don't let a crooked car dealer rip you off. When it happens, call us. That's what we're here for.

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Known nationwide as a leading Lemon Law attorney, Ronald L. Burdge has represented literally thousands of consumers in "lemon" lawsuits and actively co-counsels and coaches other Consumer Law attorneys. From 2005 through 2018, attorney Ronald L. Burdge has been named as the only Lemon Law Ohio Super Lawyer by Law and Politics magazine and Thomson Reuters Corp., Professional Division. Burdge restricts his practice to Lemon Law and Consumer Law cases. The Ohio Super Lawyer results are published annually in the January issue of Cincinnati Magazine. Ronald L. Burdge was named Consumer Law Trial Lawyer of the Year 2004 by the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the nation's largest organization of consumer law private and government attorneys. "Your impact on the auto industry has been magnified many times over because of the trail you blazed for others," stated NACA's Executive Director, Will Ogburn. Burdge has represented thousands of consumers in Ohio, Kentucky and elsewhere since 1978 and is a frequent lecturer to national, state and local Bar Associations and Judicial organizations. Burdge is admitted to Ohio's state and federal courts, Kentucky's state courts, and Indiana's federal courts. Other court admissions are on a "pro hac" temporary, case by cases basis.