There are a number of good reasons for operating an ethical and
legally compliant dealership, not the least of which is staying out
of a courtroom. Perhaps the most important - and most often
overlooked - reason is increased customer satisfaction.
Copyright© 2008-2011 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
|Jim Radogna is the President of Dealer Compliance
Consultants, Inc., a San Diego, California training and
consulting firm. He has more than 20 years of
broad-based management, training and consulting
experience in the automotive industry.
There are times when an employee may feel that he or she came out the winner
by bending the rules a little, but what about the dealership’s reputation? What
about the customers who were mislead? It seems like there might be some losers
in the game.
Customers often make decisions during a vehicle sale transaction that they come
to regret after the “ether has worn off”. Perhaps they read the contract more
carefully after they got home or showed it to a relative, friend, neighbor, etc. The
customer may notice some imperfections on the vehicle in the light of day and
have it inspected by a mechanic or body shop or run a vehicle history report. If
there is a concern, some customers will let the dealer know while others will just
chalk it up to (bad) experience.
Now, if the dealer is lucky enough to get a chance to rectify the customer’s
concern, how will the complaint be handled? Will it be “Sorry, all sales are final” or
“You signed the contract”?
What about the customer that doesn’t bother to report the concern? You can be
sure they’re telling somebody about the transaction. Or perhaps they’re telling
thousands of people via social media?
Here are some examples of after-sale situations that can cause potential customer
• sees your advertisement for a price lower than was charged for the vehicle.
• discovers additional charges on the contract for items that he or she thought were included in the price
of the vehicle.
• discovers that F&I products were sold at much-higher-than-market prices.
• discovers additional charges on the contract for items that he or she never agreed to purchase.
• gets a call from the lender who asks for verification that the vehicle has a sunroof – and it doesn’t.
• discovers that the price of the vehicle was raised to cover negative equity on the trade-in when after
being told that the dealer agreed to purchase the trade-in for the full loan balance.
• gets a call from the lender asking for verification of an income amount which is much higher than what
was written on the credit application.
• discovers that the vehicle purchased had undisclosed prior damage.
• runs a vehicle history report and discovers that the vehicle purchased was an undisclosed previous
rental, a prior demo, flood damaged, etc.
• brings the vehicle in for repairs and discovers that the warranty or service contract coverage or term
Sure, you made the deal. But is it really worth putting the reputation that you have worked
years to build at risk? Take compliance and ethical behavior seriously. A commitment to
honesty and fair dealing will protect your company, your employees, your customers and,
most importantly, your good name.