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Documentary Service Fees - Auto sale WA

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What is the name of your state? Washington State Sale.
I purchased a new auto and after the price was agreed to, the Vehicle Buyers Order had a preprinted line item called a Documentary Service Fee and the amount was also preprinted. When asked, the manager said this was a "required fee" and if he didn't charge me, he could not charge any other customer this charge. He said that the law specifically said charge one and all, or charge no one. I said that I was paying for this service in the profit on the sale and he agreed, but requoted the "law"
Is this true, and if so, where can I find the law?


Senior Member
A review of the Washington Revised Code appears to show that this 'fee' is voluntary and is NOT required to be paid. In fact, it appears that the dealers claim that it is required may be a violation.

Here is the text of the statute and a link to the statute:
"RCW 46.70.180 Unlawful acts and practices.

Each of the following acts or practices is unlawful:
(2)(a) To incorporate within the terms of any purchase and sale or lease agreement any statement or representation with regard to the sale, lease, or financing of a vehicle which is false, deceptive, or misleading, including but not limited to terms that include as an added cost to the selling price or capitalized cost of a vehicle an amount for licensing or transfer of title of that vehicle which is not actually due to the state, unless such amount has in fact been paid by the dealer prior to such sale. However, an amount not to exceed thirty-five dollars per vehicle sale or lease may be charged by a dealer to recover administrative costs for collecting motor vehicle excise taxes, licensing and registration fees and other agency fees, verifying and clearing titles, transferring titles, perfecting, releasing, or satisfying liens or other security interests, and other administrative and documentary services rendered by a dealer in connection with the sale or lease of a vehicle and in carrying out the requirements of this chapter or any other provisions of state law.

(b) A dealer may charge the documentary service fee in (a) of this subsection under the following conditions:
(i) The documentary service fee is disclosed in writing to a prospective purchaser or lessee before the execution of a purchase and sale or lease agreement;
(ii) The documentary service fee is not represented to the purchaser or lessee as a fee or charge required by the state to be paid by either the dealer or prospective purchaser or lessee;
(iii) The documentary service fee is separately designated from the selling price or capitalized cost of the vehicle and from any other taxes, fees, or charges; and
(iv) Dealers disclose in any advertisement that a documentary service fee in an amount up to thirty-five dollars may be added to the sale price or the capitalized cost.

For the purposes of this subsection (2), the term "documentary service fee" means the optional amount charged by a dealer to provide the services specified in (a) of this subsection."
Source: http://www.leg.wa.gov/RCW/index.cfm?fuseaction=section&section=46.70.180


Thanks much for the answer and the source. Do you know why the "by law if I charge one, I have to charge all"?


Senior Member
That is just as much crap as his telling you that he was required to charge you the document fee.

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