On June 2, 2016, the South Carolina legislature ratified HB 4548, which amends the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code's motor vehicle closing fee statute. The new statute gives the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (the "Department") express authority to determine whether a motor vehicle dealer's closing fee is reasonable. Fees of $225 or less are automatically deemed reasonable. Fees above $225 must be submitted to the Department for evaluation under the criteria set forth in the statute. Note that dealers are still required to provide written notice to the Department annually of the maximum closing fee the dealer intends to charge, include the closing fee in the advertised price of the vehicle, and display the closing fee in a conspicuous location in the dealership.
The new requirements became effective June 3, 2016. However, dealers that have already made their annual closing fee filing with the Department have until July 3, 2016, to refile their maximum closing fee in accordance with the new statute. On June 6, 2016, the Department released a memo stating that it is in the process of revising its closing fee forms. The revised forms will be available on the Department's website by this Friday, June 10.