DP's Office

Understanding Vehicle Finance

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Thomas B. Hudson, Esq. - Also by this author

Interested in a helpful training aid that you could use to educate your dealership personnel (and, quite likely, yourself) about one of the basic things you do for a living – selling and financing cars?

Would you be interested in having a booklet you could give to every customer that accurately and in detail explains the basics of buying a car on credit in language pitched at about the tenth grade level?

How about a booklet you could take to the local high school and hand out to whoever teaches “personal finance” or “life skills” (or whatever they are calling the course these days) for distribution to seniors, with your dealership’s name and address stamped on it?

Would you be impressed if you knew that the booklet had been prepared by the National Automobile Dealers Association and the American Financial Services Association at a cost (I’m guessing) of many, many thousands of dollars?

Would you be even more impressed if you knew that the booklet had been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, and had that agency’s stamp of approval on it?

How about if the booklet were available in Spanish as well as English?

Finally, the icing on the cake – what if this little gem were free? That’s “free” as in “doesn’t cost anything,” as in ziperoo.

Well, all of the above is true. The name of the booklet is “Understanding Vehicle Finance.” For a copy, Click Here. I’ve read through it, and I see nothing that would prohibit you from downloading it and printing it (I believe that NADA and AFSA intend for it to be downloaded and used by the general public, but if you want to be safe on this point, you might want to call them). It’s not often that you get something this good, and this useful, free for nothing (OK, so you have to print it – quit your griping).

If I were a dealer, I’d be all over this one. I’d have copies spread around my dealership (again, with the dealership’s name emblazoned on them), I’d give copies to each customer who bought and financed a car from my dealership, I’d provide them to the local high school (emphasizing that the FTC has approved them), send them to newspaper and TV reporters who cover consumer matters, my state legislative representatives and consumer protection agencies. I’d basically paper the town with the things.

If you agree and decide to do this, I will bet that your dealership will begin to get a reputation (if it doesn’t have one already) as a progressive and consumer-friendly place of business – not a bad reputation to have. And if you are ever sued by some plaintiff’s lawyer who claims that you tried to pull the wool over his client’s eyes about the basics of auto sales and finance, you will end up with a very strong retort for the charge.

Remember, you heard it here.

Vol 2, Issue 11

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