The Pune RTO has begun cracking down on car and two wheeler dealers levying handling charges on unsuspecting customers. In the past, Indian courts have ruled that handling charges are illegal and that dealers stop levying it. After receiving complaints from various vehicle buyers about handling charges being charged by most car and motorcycle dealers in Pune, RTO officials in the city held a meet with dealers, in which they asked them to stop charging handling charges and also display a board prominently in the dealership with the message ‘Handling charges are illegal’.
Image courtesy Rushlane
Sanjay Raut, deputy Regional Transport Officer, Pune, said,
It’s illegal to take handling charges from customers as it is the responsibility of dealers to provide a registered vehicle to the buyer. We have already sent out a communication to all dealers to stop collecting money as handling charges as it is illegal…On Tuesday (22nd May), a meeting with automobile dealers was also held, where strict instructions were given to dealers.
What do dealers use the illegal handling charges for?
In most cases, some part of the handling charges are used to bribe RTO officials for speedy registration of vehicles. They are also illegal profits for the dealership.
As a customer, you can refuse to pay handling charges, as such charges are clearly illegal. The dealer has no option but to waive these charges off. If the dealer refuses to waive off these illegal charges, you the customer, can approach the vehicle manufacturer’s customer service department. In almost all cases, car and two wheeler makers take complaints of illegal handling charges seriously and instruct the dealership concerned to stop collecting illegal handling charges. In fact, there have been many instances where Tata Motors, a leading car maker in India, got dealers to stop charging illegal handling charges. There have been documented instances of Tata Motors stepping in and stopping dealers from levying handling charges on cars such as the Nexon and Tiago.