If you’ve ever purchased a vehicle from your standard neighborhood dealership, you know that being nickeled and dimed pretty much comes with the territory. Not only are you faced with having to spar with a salesperson whose primary objective is inflating the vehicle sale price in order to increase his margins on the commission, but you’re often peppered with a litany of fees that can dramatically affect the bottom line when you finally decide to pony up the cash to pay for the vehicle. Advertising fees, dealer fees, vehicle registration fees, a sales tax, and of course, document fees are just a few examples of what you can expect to be hit with once you step off the lot and into the back room.
Document fees, commonly referred to as “doc” fees, have a particularly crooked disposition in comparison to the other fees that exist in the pantheon of head-scratching dealership charges. In essence, a traditional dealership charges a doc fee to cover the cost of preparing and filing the sales contract on the vehicle and other paperwork. In some states, the doc fee for vehicles is mercifully limited by state law. In others, not so much. In fact, according to Edmunds, there are only 10 states that have doc fee limits, which means in the states where doc fees are unregulated, dealerships can pretty much decide to charge whatever they want.
Using figures provided by Edmunds, we calculated the national average for doc fees to be approximately $282, with Florida leading the country for most expensive average doc fee, charging a jaw-dropping $670. (Regulated states such as Minnesota, New York, and Oregon were the least expensive states, charging $75 on average.)
To channel Chris Rock’s “Cheap Pete” character from In Living Color, “$670?! Good lord that’s a lot of money!” And that’s not even counting additional charges for sales tax and DMV fees!
Needless to say, that’s an outrageous amount of money to be spending in order to have someone prepare a few forms and then file them away…which got us thinking: “What could you buy with $670 if you were allowed to save it?” Below are our findings: