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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently when I was buying a new car we were getting down the finer details of the deal, and since I hadn't bought a car from them in a few years, I asked if their dealer processing fee was still $299. A year or so age the dealership changed hands, and he told me the fee has gone up to $499 under the new ownership. Not too much more was said and the salesman asked us to confirm that we were paying cash like we always do. We were. Then he asked if we would mind doing our own tag work. My wife and I looked at one another (since she knew it was going to be her that was going to DMV since the car was being purchased by her company..) and said no we didn't mind. He then proceeded to say that as long as we keep it under our hat (dealer processing fees are a huge profit center for a dealer) the new ownership allows repeat cash customers to avoid the $499 fee as long as the truck is paid for with certified funds. It's just like a private party sale, except you take the Certificate of Origin of the brand new car to the the DMV rather than the previous owners title. It was simple- didn't even take her an hour.

Figured I'd pass this along to other members of the forum. I wouldn't have even thought to ask a dealer if I could do my own tag and title work if the salesman hadn't offered I to me as an option.

*This was not a new Porsche.
 

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I've bought ten new cars and never paid a dealer processing fee even when asked. That is normal overhead covered by their profit. Would you pay a water and electric fee for their building?

*This was not a new Porsche.
Wheeew! I was worried that Porsche started building pick-ups. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've bought ten new cars and never paid a dealer processing fee even when asked. That is normal overhead covered by their profit. Would you pay a water and electric fee for their building?


Wheeew! I was worried that Porsche started building pick-ups. :)
I can think of a couple of times I've avoided it in the past, but that's been at dealerships outside of my community where being a supreme d**k was easier (the famous adversarial car deal) since I knew I'd never be back to buy a car there ever again. My experience is you can't avoid a dealer fee without being a jerk. As I get older and don't feel like being a d**k, I prefer to deal with people that I know will take care of me when something comes up with my car. Plus, dealers do like repeat business regardless if there's not much profit in the deal.

But I figure from now on I'll offer to do my own tag and title work since that's what the fee is covering anyway. Then if they say no, it's them that's being difficult, not me.
 

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You may be lucky. Here in Texas, the car dealer lobby got the Texas legislature to enact this provision in the Transportation Code:

Sec. 501.0234. DUTY OF VEHICLE DEALER ON SALE OF CERTAIN VEHICLES. (a)A person who sells at the first or a subsequent sale a motor vehicle and who holds a general distinguishing number issued under Chapter 503 of this code or Chapter 2301, Occupations Code, shall:
(1) except as provided by this section, in the time and manner provided by law, apply, in the name of the purchaser of the vehicle, for the registration of the vehicle, if the vehicle is to be registered, and a title for the vehicle and file with the appropriate designated agent each document necessary to transfer title to or register the vehicle; and at the same time
(2) remit any required motor vehicle sales tax.
* * *
(c) Each duty imposed by this section on the seller of a motor vehicle is solely that of the seller.

So we've no choice in the matter.


 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You may be lucky. Here in Texas, the car dealer lobby got the Texas legislature to enact this provision in the Transportation Code:

Sec. 501.0234. DUTY OF VEHICLE DEALER ON SALE OF CERTAIN VEHICLES. (a)A person who sells at the first or a subsequent sale a motor vehicle and who holds a general distinguishing number issued under Chapter 503 of this code or Chapter 2301, Occupations Code, shall:
(1) except as provided by this section, in the time and manner provided by law, apply, in the name of the purchaser of the vehicle, for the registration of the vehicle, if the vehicle is to be registered, and a title for the vehicle and file with the appropriate designated agent each document necessary to transfer title to or register the vehicle; and at the same time
(2) remit any required motor vehicle sales tax.
* * *
(c) Each duty imposed by this section on the seller of a motor vehicle is solely that of the seller.

So we've no choice in the matter.


And Texas is a state that is famous for individual freedoms. In my opinion a person should have the freedom to tag and title his new car as long as he's paying cash, since he'll hold the lien-free title. In Delaware, where I live, low digit license plates are extremely valuable (the tag on my truck is worth @ $10,000 but the lowest numbers can go for $500,000+ like #6 did several years ago) so I always feel better doing the tag switch myself at DMV for fear the dealership is going to screw up the paperwork and issue me a new license plate number rather than just a new registration sticker.

And if a person loses his title and/or registration in Texas, I have to believe he is able to go to DMV himself and have new ones printed, for a fee of course. So I can't see any logical reason to prevent him from doing it on a brand new car. That's dumb.
 

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I've never heard of a dealer "waiving" their processing fee in return for the simple fact of submitting registration & title paperwork, but rest assured it was just another tactic to distract in closing the deal. I've learned over the years that once you get down in the weeds negotiating a price with a dealer, you've already lost.
 

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I've never heard of a dealer "waiving" their processing fee in return for the simple fact of submitting registration & title paperwork, but rest assured it was just another tactic to distract in closing the deal. I've learned over the years that once you get down in the weeds negotiating a price with a dealer, you've already lost.
Exactly. Before negotiations start, I calculate a bottom line that I will pay and that's it. The dealer can add any manner of fees, prep charges, sales tax, air tax, tire tax, bad person driving an ICE tax, and whatever else he wants to, but I already know my maximum. Obviously you need to know what the fees and taxes are likely to be for your bottom line calculation.

Makes negotiations simple, but you have to be prepared to walk.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've never heard of a dealer "waiving" their processing fee in return for the simple fact of submitting registration & title paperwork, but rest assured it was just another tactic to distract in closing the deal. I've learned over the years that once you get down in the weeds negotiating a price with a dealer, you've already lost.
Using your logic, paying MSRP plus the dealer processing fee is the way to go- and they're likely going to add at least one point to your lease rate and perhaps as many as three to your loan once you're passed off to the finance guy since you've shown them that you're a 'lay down' customer. That's certainly your right as a consumer. But there are some of us who prefer to negotiate the price lower. As low as possible.

But I do agree that the dealer foregoing the fee was an effort to close the deal. Everything the dealer concedes is an effort by the dealer the close the deal. The was simply one that I hadn't seen used before.

Anyone who is at least a causal observer of the auto market knows that consumers have the upper hand right now since the industry is in a soft patch. This dealer, in a small market, had 21 Yukons and Tahoes in a line, when the last time I purchased a Yukon there, they had 3 to choose from.

I'm curious what it was they were distracting me from? Were they out back taking the spare tire and jack out of the new truck to sell on eBay? Or were they simply going the extra mile to make a sale that day?
 

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Using your logic, paying MSRP plus the dealer processing fee is the way to go- and they're likely going to add at least one point to your lease rate and perhaps as many as three to your loan once you're passed off to the finance guy since you've shown them that you're a 'lay down' customer. That's certainly your right as a consumer. But there are some of us who prefer to negotiate the price lower. As low as possible.

But I do agree that the dealer foregoing the fee was an effort to close the deal. Everything the dealer concedes is an effort by the dealer the close the deal. The was simply one that I hadn't seen used before.

Anyone who is at least a causal observer of the auto market knows that consumers have the upper hand right now since the industry is in a soft patch. This dealer, in a small market, had 21 Yukons and Tahoes in a line, when the last time I purchased a Yukon there, they had 3 to choose from.

I'm curious what it was they were distracting me from? Were they out back taking the spare tire and jack out of the new truck to sell on eBay? Or were they simply going the extra mile to make a sale that day?
The fallacy of asking for a discount off of MSRP is that you can easily be drawn into a discussion of factors like dealer processing charges. In my case I always offer the dealer a price over invoice. For example let's say that there is a Porsche with an invoice price of $70K. I may offer him $2K over invoice or $72K. Thus the dealer's profit has been agreed to. The only thing I exclude is sales and tag transfer fees which are State and not dealer fees. So I couldn't care less if a dealer's processing fee is $100 or $500. Whatever it is, it is part of that $2K profit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The fallacy of asking for a discount off of MSRP is that you can easily be drawn into a discussion of factors like dealer processing charges. In my case I always offer the dealer a price over invoice. For example let's say that there is a Porsche with an invoice price of $70K. I may offer him $2K over invoice or $72K. Thus the dealer's profit has been agreed to. The only thing I exclude is sales and tag transfer fees which are State and not dealer fees. So I couldn't care less if a dealer's processing fee is $100 or $500. Whatever it is, it is part of that $2K profit.
I didn't post this so people would have a chance to brag about what kind of deals they can make. Everyone who buys a new car made a deal that was acceptable to him, or he'd still be driving his old car. Or walking.

The only reason I posted my experience is so when people are paying cash for their new vehicle they can perhaps avoid the dealer processing fee after they've completed negotiations on the new car price, trade value, etc.- all of the negotiable parts of a new car deal. Notice I said when paying with a certified check at a dealership where you're familiar to them. I don't think there's any way a dealer is going to hand you a signed Certificate on Origin on a brand new vehicle without you leaving them guaranteed funds. And knowing where to find your a$$ if the check is counterfeit. If they can charge a dealer processing fee it stands to reason that you ought or be able to realize a customer processing savings. I'd just never thought if it on my own- it took a salesman to offer it to me.

And as for the comment that was made about knowing what your bottom line needs to be to made a deal, I absolutely agree. But it always pays to keep an open mind because any negotiation is two sided. What you're willing to pay and what the opposition is willing to accept. On that particular day the dealer was far more motivated to sell than I was to buy. But I'm not a fool. I'll never walk away from a car deal that's too good to pass up. I've even bought a new brand 911 before when all I was doing was "kicking tires". I sold that car after 18 months on eBay and all it cost me was some sales tax. The buyer paid me exactly to the dollar what I paid for the car brand new. (And yes, I realize I just bragged about a car deal. I was just trying to rest the minds of those who were fearful that dealerships beat me up.)
 

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Doc fee is always a sore point of the negotiation for me too. And many dealers, wrongly, even say it's 'the law', so buyers have to pay it. That's not true even in TX, where dealers have to register the vehicle (mostly to avoid illegal new vehicle exports), but don't have to charge for it. They even print it as part of their invoice, but like somebody mentioned, when I make a deal I specifically say it's inclusive on all fees, except TTL. And yes, every freaking time, the 'finance manager' wants to tack on their stupid 'doc fee' on top of that was already negotiated. Since they have to do the plates, I'm typically okay with $100, even $150 max. But $500 is an insult. What I do now is to ask for best offers including doc fee, to avoid that crap. I never drive a hard bargain; just pick the best deal overall, so everybody is happy. But it's hard to get it, since all salesmen are always asked to bring the customer to the store, and not let them walk away without a purchase. It's extremely annoying, so I made it abundantly clear when test-driving vehicles I will NOT be buying anything that day. And any attempt to do that would eliminate them from consideration. I always do most of the work over the phone with sales managers, but I still don't consider the process of buying a car anywhere close to pleasant;).
 

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Using your logic, paying MSRP plus the dealer processing fee is the way to go- and they're likely going to add at least one point to your lease rate and perhaps as many as three to your loan once you're passed off to the finance guy since you've shown them that you're a 'lay down' customer. That's certainly your right as a consumer. But there are some of us who prefer to negotiate the price lower. As low as possible.
Where did you get that idea from my post? My point was trying to negotiate the individual elements of a purchase with a dealer is a lost cause, as it will never end in your favor. I thought it was obvious I was suggesting what OttawaSteve posted right after me. Calculate your bottom line out-the-door price, have the discipline to walk, and let them figure out how to fill in all the lines on the buyer's sheet that has the final price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Doc fee is always a sore point of the negotiation for me too. And many dealers, wrongly, even say it's 'the law', so buyers have to pay it. That's not true even in TX, where dealers have to register the vehicle (mostly to avoid illegal new vehicle exports), but don't have to charge for it. They even print it as part of their invoice, but like somebody mentioned, when I make a deal I specifically say it's inclusive on all fees, except TTL. And yes, every freaking time, the 'finance manager' wants to tack on their stupid 'doc fee' on top of that was already negotiated. Since they have to do the plates, I'm typically okay with $100, even $150 max. But $500 is an insult. What I do now is to ask for best offers including doc fee, to avoid that crap. I never drive a hard bargain; just pick the best deal overall, so everybody is happy. But it's hard to get it, since all salesmen are always asked to bring the customer to the store, and not let them walk away without a purchase. It's extremely annoying, so I made it abundantly clear when test-driving vehicles I will NOT be buying anything that day. And any attempt to do that would eliminate them from consideration. I always do most of the work over the phone with sales managers, but I still don't consider the process of buying a car anywhere close to pleasant;).
I completely agree. For the old $99 that was what was charged when these feees first started to show up, I was far less bothered by them. By when you're at $499, then you feel like you just paid the salaries of the back office for most of the week, not just 15 minutes of tag work. The salesman, who I've probably bought 5 new trucks from said to me without my provocation that the "dealer doesn't like for him to give up the $499 since it's a huge profit center". Duh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Where did you get that idea from my post? My point was trying to negotiate the individual elements of a purchase with a dealer is a lost cause, as it will never end in your favor. I thought it was obvious I was suggesting what OttawaSteve posted right after me. Calculate your bottom line out-the-door price, have the discipline to walk, and let them figure out how to fill in all the lines on the buyer's sheet that has the final price.
That strategy will definitely work so long as your number is one that will get you a new car (and any car salesman would be quick to tell you that a high percentage of shoppers who present a firm offer before negotiating are dreamers) and you're willing to go from one dealer to the next to see if your number is any good that particular day. My experience in the car business is that consumers often take that approach out of fear. Fear they'll get outnegotiated, and similarly fear that they'll pay too much if they aren't demanding a certain figure which they've set too low. I don't use that strategy for two reasons. One is your number might be more than what the dealers number would have been- assuming you're being reasonable. And secondly, isn't it better to walk on their number and not yours? If their number isn't what you needed then you can always come back to them after having considered it, or after having tried to shop their number to the competition. I've done that. We've all done that. I'd rather return without my tail between my legs, personally.

The salesman didn't know this but I was already a stone cold buyer before he offered the additional $499 discount by waiving the processing fee. I kept pressing since I felt they weren't ready to stop.

So that's why I brought this up in the first place. If you're the type of negotiator who lets the dealer negotiate against himself rather than you, or at least by trying to come down to a number that's been clearly revealed by you, then this is one additional way to perhaps save some money to close the deal. Again, so long as the dealer is willing to hand you the certificate of origin and so long as you're able to pay by certified check.

Sorry this got off topic. But this is what happens on forums such as this one, sometimes. Okay, most of the time.

I hope my suggestion saved someone some money someday.
 

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Neither Gordon nor I was suggesting that you reveal your highest price before you negotiate. I agree, its a good way to get laughed at by a car salesman. I think what we were suggesting was that negotiating to an all-in price can avoid the death by a thousand cuts that dealers will use.

Your example is a bit different, and provides good advice for someone in a jurisdiction that charges fees for this service.
 

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I didn't post this so people would have a chance to brag about what kind of deals they can make. Everyone who buys a new car made a deal that was acceptable to him, or he'd still be driving his old car. Or walking.

The only reason I posted my experience is so when people are paying cash for their new vehicle they can perhaps avoid the dealer processing fee after they've completed negotiations on the new car price, trade value, etc.- all of the negotiable parts of a new car deal. Notice I said when paying with a certified check at a dealership where you're familiar to them. I don't think there's any way a dealer is going to hand you a signed Certificate on Origin on a brand new vehicle without you leaving them guaranteed funds. And knowing where to find your a$$ if the check is counterfeit. If they can charge a dealer processing fee it stands to reason that you ought or be able to realize a customer processing savings. I'd just never thought if it on my own- it took a salesman to offer it to me.

And as for the comment that was made about knowing what your bottom line needs to be to made a deal, I absolutely agree. But it always pays to keep an open mind because any negotiation is two sided. What you're willing to pay and what the opposition is willing to accept. On that particular day the dealer was far more motivated to sell than I was to buy. But I'm not a fool. I'll never walk away from a car deal that's too good to pass up. I've even bought a new brand 911 before when all I was doing was "kicking tires". I sold that car after 18 months on eBay and all it cost me was some sales tax. The buyer paid me exactly to the dollar what I paid for the car brand new. (And yes, I realize I just bragged about a car deal. I was just trying to rest the minds of those who were fearful that dealerships beat me up.)
I appreciate your post. Thanks. My only question is, could this be dependent of the state where you are registering your car?

As others have said, I always negotiate the bottom line. However, if it cost me a few bucks more to let the dealership register my car than I would do it. Standing in line at a North Carolina DMV store to get a tag or a renewal is the closest thing to torture that I can imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I appreciate your post. Thanks. My only question is, could this be dependent of the state where you are registering your car?

As others have said, I always negotiate the bottom line. However, if it cost me a few bucks more to let the dealership register my car than I would do it. Standing in line at a North Carolina DMV store to get a tag or a renewal is the closest thing to torture that I can imagine.
I'm in Delaware, so I can only speak to what happened here. I have to believe nobody is going to get turned away at the DMV to do tag and title work on a car that they just purchased, but it's possible there are states that have removed that right from car owners. The DMV here was very helpful since my wife was sent there with a folder put together by our salesman but he forgot to included her business license so the truck could be titled in the name of her business. The clerk at the DMV spoke to the salesman on the phone and had a faxed copy sent to her right in the spot. That was as close as things came to bring a hassle and for $499 I'm sure my wife would do it again. She said soup to nuts it took her less than an hour. Would she do it for $99, $199? Probably not.

It's worth noting that my wife did say that the clerk was unsure what to make of a person who was doing what it was she was doing. Clearly there aren't a lot of customers rolling into DMV doing the dealerships work for them. But it was offered to us so we figured why not?
 

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As I said above, I appreciate your tip . . . but every state is different. North Carolina is terrible. The service at the DMV is so bad that you do not want to go there in person as a private citizen not affiliated with the dealership.

The representative from the dealership goes to a special service desk at the DMV store. He/she hands the clerk a handful of registrations and is out of the store in 15 minutes tops.

Meanwhile I am waiting in a line of at least 30 people. That line is being serviced by two of the other clerks (one of whom decides to take a break when I get to her window). Many of the people in the line with me have never registered a car before and at least 75% do not have the proper documentation. And they have to pay their auto property tax in cash before they can get the car registered. Add to that the fact that many don't have the proper insurance. There have been times when I spent 45 minutes to an hour in line just to get a new sticker for my license plate. Thank goodness the DMV went to a mail-in/on-line sticker purchase.

I WOULD RATHER GO TO WAL-MART AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON SHOPPING! :wall:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
As I said above, I appreciate your tip . . . but every state is different. North Carolina is terrible. The service at the DMV is so bad that you do not want to go there in person as a private citizen not affiliated with the dealership.

The representative from the dealership goes to a special service desk at the DMV store. He/she hands the clerk a handful of registrations and is out of the store in 15 minutes tops.

Meanwhile I am waiting in a line of at least 30 people. That line is being serviced by two of the other clerks (one of whom decides to take a break when I get to her window). Many of the people in the line with me have never registered a car before and at least 75% do not have the proper documentation. And they have to pay their auto property tax in cash before they can get the car registered. Add to that the fact that many don't have the proper insurance. There have been times when I spent 45 minutes to an hour in line just to get a new sticker for my license plate. Thank goodness the DMV went to a mail-in/on-line sticker purchase.

I WOULD RATHER GO TO WAL-MART AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON SHOPPING! :wall:
I've had bad experiences at DMV too. I remember being there for an ungodly long time once after buying a used Boxster from a guy in New Jersey several years ago.

But with the trend in dealer processing fees going from $0, then to $99, $199... and now to $499 in the experience I described in the thread, it's becomes an option worth considering, depending on how much money you're able to earn in an hour or two by doing something else. I've seen listings on eBay and other places where the fee is far higher than that. Have I seen $999? There's a lesson about time value of money in here somewhere. Plus, that car purchase took less than an hour start to finish. I didn't test drive the truck since I already had one and liked it. I didn't visit a single other dealership. So my time invested was practically nothing as it was, which is another huge benefit of having a strong relationship with your most local dealer. You walk in and they say "You work with Dana right?" "Yes." "Let me get him for you." And you own a new car in a matter of minutes, not hours or days, or even weeks. They know who you are, they know you ain't gonna say yes until the deal is nearly unbeatable, and that's how it goes.

At some point putting yourself through the hassle of going to DMV becomes something worth considering. Part of the reason my wife and I have always been able to pay cash for our cars, including a $117,000 911 is because we are careful about trying not to waste our money.

I just got to thinking. Off topic of course. I wonder how many people have owned all three modern Porsche sports cars like I have. 911, Boxster, and Cayman. The used Boxster S six speed I mentioned may have been the most pure fun of all three.
 

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FYI - watch out for CarMax if you have a custom plate, or one you'd really like to keep.

Last time I considered trading/buying with them, they told me they would not be able to transfer my plates, that I'd be issued new ones. When I asked if I could handle the tags myself, they told me no. Corporate policy.

Talk about lazy.
 
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