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  H.B. No. 3621
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to certain charges included in a motor vehicle installment
  agreement.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 348.006, Finance Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 348.006.  PRINCIPAL BALANCE; INCLUSION OF DOCUMENTARY
  FEE. (a)  The principal balance under a retail installment contract
  is computed by:
               (1)  adding:
                     (A)  the cash price of the motor vehicle;
                     (B)  each amount included in the retail
  installment contract for an itemized charge; and
                     (C)  subject to Subsection (c), a documentary fee
  for services rendered for or on behalf of the retail buyer in
  [preparing,] handling[,] and processing documents relating to the
  motor vehicle sale [and to the closing of the retail installment
  transaction]; and
               (2)  subtracting from the results under Subdivision (1)
  the amount of the retail buyer's down payment in money, goods, or
  both.
         (b)  The computation of the principal balance may include an
  amount authorized under Section 348.404(b).
         (c)  For a documentary fee to be included in the principal
  balance of a retail installment contract:
               (1)  the retail seller must charge the documentary fee
  to cash buyers and credit buyers;
               (2)  the documentary fee may not exceed:
                     (A)  [$50] for a motor vehicle retail installment
  contract other than a contract for a commercial vehicle, [or] a
  reasonable amount agreed to by the retail seller and retail buyer
  for the documentary services; or
                     (B)  for a [heavy] commercial vehicle retail
  installment contract, an amount agreed to in writing by the retail
  seller and retail buyer; and
               (3)  except for a buyer's order or retail installment
  contract for a commercial vehicle, the buyer's order and the retail
  installment contract must include:
                     (A)  a statement of the amount of the documentary
  fee; and
                     (B)  in reasonable proximity to the place in each
  where the amount of the documentary fee is disclosed, the following
  notice in type that is bold-faced, capitalized, underlined, or
  otherwise conspicuously set out from surrounding written material:
         "A DOCUMENTARY FEE IS NOT AN OFFICIAL FEE. A DOCUMENTARY FEE
  IS NOT REQUIRED BY LAW, BUT MAY BE CHARGED TO BUYERS FOR HANDLING
  DOCUMENTS [AND PERFORMING SERVICES] RELATING TO THE [CLOSING OF A]
  SALE. A DOCUMENTARY FEE MAY NOT EXCEED [$50 FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE
  CONTRACT OR] A REASONABLE AMOUNT AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES [FOR A
  HEAVY COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CONTRACT]. THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY
  LAW."
         (d)  A retail seller shall post the documentary fee notice
  prescribed in Subsection (c) so that it is clearly visible in each
  place where a vehicle sale is finalized.  If the language primarily
  used in an oral sales presentation is not the same as the language
  in which the retail installment contract is written, the retail
  seller shall furnish to the retail buyer a written statement
  containing the notice set out in Subsection (c)(3)(B) in the
  language primarily used in the oral sales presentation.
         (e)  Prior to increasing the maximum amount of the
  documentary fee the retail seller charges, a retail seller shall
  provide written notice to the commissioner of the maximum amount of
  the documentary fee the retail seller intends to charge.  The
  commissioner may review the amount of a documentary fee for
  reasonableness.  In determining whether a fee charged by a retail
  seller is reasonable, the commissioner may consider the resources
  required by the retail seller to perform the retail seller's duties
  under state and federal law with respect to the handling and
  processing of documents relating to the sale and financing of a
  motor vehicle.  If the commissioner determines that a documentary
  fee charged is not reasonable, the commissioner may require that
  the documentary fee charged be reduced or suspended.
         (f)  A documentary fee charged in accordance with this
  section before September 1, 2009, is considered reasonable for
  purposes of this section.
         (g)  This section does not:
               (1)  create a private right of action; or
               (2)  require that the commissioner approve a specific
  documentary fee amount before a retail seller charges the fee.
         (h)  The finance commission may adopt rules, including rules
  relating to the standards for a reasonableness determination or
  disclosures, necessary to enforce this section.  A rule adopted
  under this subsection may not require a retail seller to submit to
  the commissioner for prior approval the amount of a documentary fee
  that the retail seller intends to charge under this section.
         (i)  The commissioner has exclusive jurisdiction to enforce
  this section.
         (j)  Subsections (d), (e), and (h) do not apply with respect
  to a retail installment transaction for the purchase of a
  commercial vehicle.
         SECTION 2.  To the extent of conflict and regardless of the
  relative dates of enactment, this Act prevails over any other bill,
  including House Bill 4361 and Senate Bill 1965, enacted by the 81st
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2009.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 3621 was passed by the House on May
  11, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 146, Nays 0, 3 present, not
  voting; that the House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
  H.B. No. 3621 on May 29, 2009, and requested the appointment of a
  conference committee to consider the differences between the two
  houses; and that the House adopted the conference committee report
  on H.B. No. 3621 on May 31, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 143,
  Nays 1, 1 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 3621 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 25, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays
  1; at the request of the House, the Senate appointed a conference
  committee to consider the differences between the two houses; and
  that the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.B. No.
  3621 on June 1, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 1.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor