Can I avoid “doc fees” for a new car?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. Why does a car dealer charge hundreds in “document fees” when I buy a car? Couldn’t I just do all the running around and save the money?
— Car buyer

A. In theory, you could try, but that would take some heavy negotiating with the dealership. It’s more a matter of paperwork than it is “running around.”

The document fees simply cover the cost of the time and effort the dealer takes to fill out the paperwork associated with your car purchase.

Ten states limit what can be charged for document fees. New Jersey isn’t one of them.

Florida’s average fee of $675 is the highest in the country, according to Edmunds.com, and some dealers in that state charge as much as $999. North Carolina came in second highest at $550 on average. Arkansas has the lowest fees at $110 on average.

New Jersey’s average is somewhere in the middle, at $335, Edmunds said.

When you mentioned you doing the “running around” instead of the dealer doing it, you may be mistaking document fees with some other fees associated with a car purchase.

Fees from the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), such as for the temporary tag, registration, license plate and title, should be itemized separately from any document fees on a bill of sale, an MVC spokesman said.

“‘Document fees’ assessed during the car buying process are not charged by the Motor Vehicle Commission, and customers concerned about these fees should pose this question to their vehicle dealer,” he said.

That’s good advice.

Email your questions to moc.p1501043268leHye1501043268noMJN1501043268@ksA1501043268.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.