Motor vehicle fees // You could be due a refund!

I’ve had some recent problems with dealers on this topic, so I thought it would be helpful to start a thread.

Many states regulate the motor vehicle fees line item of a new or used car sale. Dealers generally overestimate these fees, so that they don’t have to chase down customers to pay the balance.

As such, most customers will be entitled to a MV fee refund, if they have paid more than the actual plate and reg fee to the dealer. The dealer is also generally entitled to hire a motor vehicles agency expediter, and to include that fee in the total MV line item.

In New Jersey, where a good number of deals on this forum origiante from, the MV fee overage refund is a state law, and it’s enforced by the NJ Attorney General’s office. Reminding a dealer of this fact has always shaken loose the hundred or so dollars owed to me.

Don’t leave your hard-earned money in the dealer’s account!

Not sure about other states, but in Florida dealers do send a refund check. People I know have also received a refund for a minor amount from Carolina and GA dealers for over estimating the FL DMV charges.

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I got refund checks in CA. I think one time it was even 2 whole dollars.


We get a new car every 6 months or so, almost always in NJ.

The last three times, the dealer did not proactively send the refund along as they were required to.

Total of those three refunds: $457.33

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MA is also required to send any addtl fees back within 30 days or so

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How can they over-estimate by so much? They obviously have a very good idea of what the fees are… Just another dealer scam. My lease agreement looks about right at $256. The sticker says 219, with other fees and tax making up the difference?

Yup! Shady operators are skimming profit off of this regulated line item. Quelle surprise!

We’ve gotten refunds from 4 different dealers over the past two years. Never once had to ask. One Lexus, two Chevy, one Mazda. Never an issue in NJ

Same here in WA. We have a Regional Transit Authority tax that is massive in the Seattle metro area and it is regularly calculated incorrectly, so dealers tend to over-collect and then refund the money after. Not usually to the tune of hundreds, though - most I’ve ever received back was $115.

This was my experience (Ohio registration, Virginia dealer):

I’m in NY and always got a refund

Mixed record in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state of getting refunds without asking.