Purchasing a vehicle in the State of California requires the payment of various “official fees” such as registration fees and vehicle license fees. California law requires these fees to be located in Line 2 under the “Itemization of the Amount Financed” section of the retail installment sale contract, as illustrated below. (Civ. Code § 2982(a)(2).)

Revenue and Tax Code section 10752 provides the annual amount of the license fee for any vehicle for renewal registrations after July 1, 2011, shall equal .65 percent (i.e., .0065) of the market value of the vehicle. The market value is the cash value of the vehicle as required to be listed in Line 1(A)(1). (Civ. Code § 2982(a)(1)(A).) Dealerships are obligated to issue refunds for an overages. (Veh. Code § 11713.4.)

Because the contract represents the amount due as being an “official fee,” consumers often trust the amount indicated is correct. However, dealerships often use the “Vehicle License Fee” line as an opportunity to get extra money from the consumer. Below is just one example of a retail installment sale contract indicating nearly a $400 overage on vehicle license fees.

If Line 2(A) of your sale contract exceeds .65 percent (i.e., .0065) of the figure on Line 1(A)(1) and the dealership did not reimburse you for the overage, contact the Auto Fraud Legal Center for a FREE evaluation of your rights.