Thanks to industry lobbying efforts, the Pennsylvania General Assembly amended the Board of Vehicles Act of 1983 to increase the fee dealers are permitted to charge for the service of titling and registering vehicles. Senate Bill 1424, signed by Gov. Ed Rendell on July 9, established a ceiling on dealers’ fees for titling and registering vehicles that will be adjusted annually after 2009 according to the federal Consumer Price Index. The bill calls the fee a licensing cost.
Commonly called a documentary (or “doc”) fee, the licensing cost covers the actual cost incurred by the dealer for:
- Fees associated with titling and registering the vehicle, including messenger fees, notary fees and electronic transaction fees.
- A documentary preparation charge for preparation and completion of documents required to register and license the vehicle under the Vehicle Code.
- The collection and submission of taxes paid by the purchaser.
- The preparation of any other information associated with titling and registration of a vehicle.
A licensed dealer who has a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) may charge the purchaser of a vehicle a maximum of $80 for calendar year 2008 and a maximum of $100 for calendar year 2009. Dealers who provide electronic transaction services for documents may charge a maximum of $100 for calendar year 2008 and a maximum of $120 for calendar year 2009. These limits apply whether or not the purchaser intends to title and register the vehicle in Pennsylvania.
Beginning in January 2010 and annually thereafter, the licensing cost for document preparation will be adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the previous 12-month period.
The licensing cost measure took effect immediately.