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Consumers Believe Dealerships Are Unethical, Survey Shows

August 9, 2016

NEW YORK — Results of an online survey conducted by a compliance auditing firm showed that consumers don't trust dealership business practices. However, the survey of 200 U.S. adults age 18 and older also showed that it doesn't take much for dealers to change consumer perceptions.

Conducted in July by Total Dealer Compliance, the survey revealed that nearly 65% of consumers polled believe dealership business practices are unethical. However, results also showed that more than 50% would be more likely to shop at a dealership that displays its code of ethics in the showroom.

“A code of ethics is designed to reinforce a dealers' personal commitment to quality service and high ethical standards,” said Max Zanan, president of TDC. “Our survey confirmed that the trust between the consumer and car dealer is truly broken. Ensuring a code of ethics is on display will be the first step in rebuilding the consumer’s trust, where compliance is of top priority.”

However, even with a large majority stating that they would be more inclined to shop at a dealership that posted its code of ethics, 40% of consumers stated that a visible code of ethics would not make a difference. This indifference, the TDC stated, highlights the common theme of consumer fatigue toward dealership sales processes.

“Car dealers have a lot of work to do when it comes to changing the public’s perception,” Zanan said.  “TDC’s survey further highlights the need for a strong compliance training program that will proactively mitigate risks while helping dealerships to build a positive reputation.”

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  1. 1. Alan Fine [ August 10, 2016 @ 07:13AM ]

    They had to do a survey to find out that most people find dealers to be unethical? They actually spent time and money on this?

  2. 2. David Ruggles [ August 10, 2016 @ 07:30PM ]

    Yes, consumers don't like the fact that trades, interest rates, and prices are negotiated. They all want to play they game. But if they aren't guaranteed they'll win, they'll pout and complain on surveys. This is not new. Professionals don't worry about the small stuff. They also don't fall for every self serving survey that comes along.

  3. 3. gerald winstead [ August 13, 2016 @ 10:44AM ]

    I agree with David. Was my experience in all the years I worked at a dealership. "Buyers are liars" as we used to say.

  4. 4. Charlie Webb [ October 30, 2016 @ 10:02AM ]

    40 Years working for the dealership service department. Here is the reality,tying any dealership personals job or pay to the survey is literally STUPIDITY on the dealer and manufactures part!!!!!
    A dealership’s employees are its lifeblood. What lesson does this type of behavior teach these employees? -- That it’s OK to kink the system, cheat the manufacturer and falsify reports for monetary gain. How do you hold these employees accountable for being honest to your business when you’re teaching them that it’s OK to be dishonest?
    Managers should be role models for their employees and set an example of the culture and morality of an organization. By teaching them that it’s OK to cheat the manufacturer’s system, you’re also teaching them that it’s OK to cheat ANY system, including yours.
    For any dealership to grow, it needs to be open to feedback – both positive and negative. The best dealerships use this type of feedback to identify and fix any friction that exists in the customer’s experience. Doing this then brings more revenue through greater retention and loyalty. Happier customers generally means more dollars coming in. Turning a blind eye to the reality of what is actually going on at the dealership and falsifying CSI surveys may provide the short-term benefit of OEM bonuses or stair step money. However, it will also taint your employees and drive away customers. And that will lose more revenue than any lost money from the manufacturer.


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