What Fees Can Dealers Charge Consumers?

A dealer group recently agreed to pay the FTC $3.3 million to settle charges that the company deceived customers by packing junk fees onto the cost of its vehicles. Specifically, the FTC alleges that the company “advertised price included the cost of certification, inspection, etc.,” but when the customer showed up, the dealer charged “hefty additional (and redundant) fees for those same services."

In addition to naming the dealership, the complaint names board members as individuals too. Finally, the FTC was very clear that a well-written policy on paper doesn't matter despite how well it might look in a file folder. Please keep that in mind as you implement your own policies because an unfollowed written policy is just as bad as no policy at all. With this in mind, we plan to take a look at what fees are allowed to be charged to consumers under Texas law.

First, thanks to TIADA, the OCCC allows a documentary fee of $150 without prior approval from the OCCC. If you charge a documentary fee, please list this information in any advertisement you do. Next, you may charge any fees related to the registration of the vehicle and vehicle inventory tax. When charging for the inspection fee, keep in mind that the amount paid at the time of inspection and the amount paid at registration can both be passed onto the consumer. Also, you may charge for the emissions if that is required by the county. Finally, you may add charges authorized for insurance, service contracts, warranties, or a debt cancellation agreement.

The amount charged at the station and at registration is as follows:
One Year Safety $7.00 $7.50
Safety Only  (vehicles 25+ years) $7.00 $7.50
Two-Year Safety (new vehicles) $7.00 $16.75
Commercial $40.00 $22.00
Trailer/Motorcycle $7.00 $7.50
Safety Emissions (El Paso) $18.50 $8.25
Safety Emissions (Travis & Williamson) $18.50 $10.25
Emissions Test
(vehicles 1995 and older, DFW/Houston areas)
$31.50 $8.25
Emissions Test
(vehicles 1996 and newer, DFW/Houston areas)
$25.50 $14.25
Emissions –only vehicles
(El Paso)
$11.50 $2.75
Emissions-only vehicles
(Travis & Williamson)
$11.50 $2.75
Emissions-only vehicles (ASM) (DFW/Houston areas) $24.50 $2.75
Emissions-only vehicles (OBD) (DFW/Houston areas) $18.50 $8.75

Counties Requiring Emissions Test

Brazoria, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, El Paso, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Johnson, Kaufman, Montgomery, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis, and Williamson

Finally, check your white slips when you get them back and make sure you are charging the correct amounts listed on the white slip and adjust your charges according. Because let's face it mistakes can happen, but they are much easier to correct if you get on them early. 


There have been no comments made on this article. Why not be the first and add your own comment using the form below.

Leave a comment

Commenting is restricted to members only. Please login now to submit a comment.