Monday, March 22, 2010

DEALER FEE FRAUD HOTLINE

(866) 9- NO- SCAM; (866) 966-7226

About three years ago I testified before the Florida state Senate Commerce Commission about making the dealer fee illegal. As you probably know I was not successful but have carried on my efforts through TV, radio and newspaper ads, this column, my Saturday morning show on Seaview 95.9 FM, and numerous public speaking engagements. My efforts have been somewhat successful in that my two closest Toyota competitors dropped their dealer fee last June because they were losing their customer to me.

The Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum, had a representative at the Senate Commerce Committee testifying at the same time I did. The committee asked the assistant AG why they did not prosecute those car dealers who violated the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act with respect to dealer fees. He responded that they were understaffed and also that they did not receive a lot of complaints about this. Now, I personally believe that the AG’s office receives a lot more complaints on the dealer fee than they know about. Why do I say this? The assistant AG admitted that they did not file consumer complaints against car dealers by “type”. In other words they have a virtually useless database which makes it impossible to figure out who is complaining about what.

This recollection is what inspired this column. What if I could spread the word to call the AG’s own Fraud Hotline such that they received so many complaints on the dealer fee that they can’t ignore it even with a lousy filing system?

OK, now here’s the law taken right from the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Act: “The advertised price must include all fees or charges that the customer must pay, including freight or destination charges, dealer preparation charge, and charges for undercoating or rust proofing. State and local fees, and title fees, unless otherwise required by local law or standard, need not be disclosed.” Simply stated, if you responded to an advertisement by a car dealer, bought the advertised car, and he charged you more than the advertised price (plus tax and tag only), he broke the law and owes you the extra charges. The dealer is also subject to very large fines from the AG and possible suspension or revocation of his license to sell cars by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles…not to mention class action suits to recoup overcharges to thousands of his customers. If you would like to read the official Senate summary of the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act pertaining to car dealers you can click on this link, www.DealerFeeFraud.com.

In last Saturday’s Palm Beach Post I saw several car dealers’ advertisements on cars with fine print saying that the prices were “plus dealer fee”. Some dealers are also advertising that the prices are plus dealer fee and freight or destination fee. Delay Mazda, Napleton Nissan (Riviera Beach) and Ft. Pierce Nissan are three dealerships that are charging twice for freight. Freight is already included by the manufacturer in the invoice you pay. The amount added to advertised price is about $1,500! There are some dealers who don’t even mention the dealer fee in the fine print but just add it onto the price when you come in.

If you bought an advertised car in Florida you probably paid more than the ad price plus tax and tag. If you did, you have a legitimate beef with the dealer. The dealer should refund you the overcharge plus interest. If not, you should report him to Bill McCollum, our Attorney General, by calling 866 966-7226.

10 comments:

  1. The information below was for the purchase of a USED car. The advertised price was $35,691. They discounted the car $300, but they charged $699.95 for DEALERS FEES. Does the law apply to USED cars?

    Selling Price:$35,292.00
    Trade-in Value:$30,000.00
    Difference:$5,292.00
    Lien Payoff +21,200.00
    Sales Tax +$2,969.34
    Dealer Service Fee:+$699.95
    Balance Due $30,161.29

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  2. Although Toyota of Stewart has no dealer fee, their cash price was $1300.00 higher than the dealer in fort pierce. When you negotiate - just ask for your bottom line including all tax, tags and fees. There is no hiding fees on a cash price.

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  3. You've got your dealerships confused.

    Toyota of Stuart does charge a dealer fee and if you think you bought a car there without one I suggest you re-check your paperwork. I'm glad that you got a price $1,300 lower than the the price from Bev Smith Toyota in Ft. Pierce (who also has a dealer fee) but was it really that much lower when you realize that you really did pay a dealer fee at Toyota of Stuart?

    The Toyota dealer with no dealer fee is Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach which is my dealership.

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  4. I need "new" and as they say, if its too good to be true... I saw Napleton Nissan's tent sale for a $28,854 invoice 50% off for $12,977. I thought is was an ALtima SL but it was a stripper with a $2,988 BS Protection Plan and $5,000 for a Buyer Premium Gas Protection Plan. It boiled down to a free tank of gas and nitrogen in the tires. Does Napleton think so little of the buying public? I have God's protection plan for free!

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  5. You've got some nerve talking about scams when you sell after market plastic as leather, charge for tire rotations that are not done, and promise free tires that you refuse to deliver. You can take that red phone and shove it up your ass.

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  6. I hired a car broker who took me to an auction to buy a car. I paid him $150 which are fees for his service as long as I am able to buy a car on that day. We bet on the car for $2800 and we won. At the end of the day, the broker came and told me that he ended up paying $4300 for the car because the owner did not agree for the $2800 price that we originally bet on the car. I ended up giving him the money and his fees total $5500 including tabs some fees. Is there a law that prohibits this act? The broker never shows me the original receipt showing how much he paid for the car ... Please assist and advise. Please reply with any positive comments

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  7. I'm very sorry to hear how badly you were taken advantage of.

    All auto auctions that I'm familiar with rule all sales final when a seller accepts a bid unless the car was misrepresented by the seller. This is clearly not the case here.

    I can't understand why you agreed to pay twice as much as the high bid on the car.

    You might have some cause for a civil action if you could get the seller of the car to testify that this broker was lying. The auction could give you his name and it would be on the title to the car you bought.

    Good luck

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  8. My fiance recently purchased a car from haims motors in hollywood fl..we put down 2,000 then the salesman quoted a pymt price and went in the "managers" office.he returned saying they need 500 more..no problem.we asked about tax,tag,and title. he says dont worry,im working it into the contract.after waiting a month for the plate,and going back for another temp tag, they call stating the amount they charged for the tag is wrong, and we owe $250 more.or we cant get the tag!! Is this legal or are we being fradulently charged..?

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  9. My fiance recently purchased a car from haims motors in hollywood fl..we put down 2,000 then the salesman quoted a pymt price and went in the "managers" office.he returned saying they need 500 more..no problem.we asked about tax,tag,and title. he says dont worry,im working it into the contract.after waiting a month for the plate,and going back for another temp tag, they call stating the amount they charged for the tag is wrong, and we owe $250 more.or we cant get the tag!! Is this legal or are we being fradulently charged..?

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  10. I'm filing complaints against the dealership "Global Motors", owned by Israel Ramos, located in Haileah for illegal dealership fees, poor dealership practices, and violation of PayPal Service Agreement. He is a shady dealer with ridiculous business practices. For anyone needing to file complaints, here are two links to start.

    Florida Attorney General Complaint Page:
    http://myfloridalegal.com/Contact.nsf/Contact

    Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle:
    http://flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BRE/84901.pdf

    I will also be contacting the Better Business Bureau and the City Council.

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