Dishonesty in the Automotive Industry: How to Find Transparency
There is a timeless stereotype that used car salespeople are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to showing honesty to their customers. People expect to be cheated and act accordingly. Have these salespeople earned this bad reputation or have the actions of a small number of sleezy salespeople shaped the opinions of the public?
White Lies and Half Truths
There’s no denying that there will always be a measure of dishonesty when it comes to marketing your product or business. After all, you do need to set yourself and your business apart from the rest of the competition. The problem comes in when these white lies or embellishments become outright lies. Take job applications as an example. You might say that you can speak conversational French, when in reality you can only say a few basic phrases. Unless you’re applying for a job that involves speaking French, you might never be called out on your white lie. If, however, you tell your potential employer that you have years of restaurant management experience while you only ever worked as a server, then you’ve got a big problem.
You could definitely apply that example to the used car industry. A used car dealer could buy a car that was in dire need of serious repairs and then fix it with subpar parts to sell it again for a profit as an “excellent” car. Some dealers (although I hesitate to call them anything other than criminals) even sell totalled or stolen cars to their unsuspecting customers for a massive profit. That being said, not all car salespeople are liars and cheats – no more than all attorneys or insurance brokers or mechanics. Dishonesty, like death and taxes, is an unavoidable part of life.
Lying on the Lot
You might think that you’d have to speak to a salesperson face to face before encountering any dishonest practices, but in today’s digital age, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Vehicle sellers have been evolving with the times and have joined the online revolution to market their products on classifieds websites and vehicle listing billboards. If these sellers are honest, transparent and sincere, then online listings are an amazing way for them to gain loyal customers. The customers themselves also have the chance to view the cars, plan their finances and get to know the seller first, which removes the dreaded uncertainty of stepping onto a lot without any prior knowledge.
If they’re dishonest or out to exploit their customers, then digital advertising could make it much easier for them to do so. Photos can be manipulated; details can be forged and auctions can still be rigged. It might actually be easier if it’s done online.
Finding Honest Car Salespeople
Keeping the above in mind, it could be easy to feel discouraged or frustrated. How are you meant to hold your own against someone who’s been in the industry for years and knows how to sell ice to a snowman? The quick answer is that you don’t. Instead of trying to challenge dishonest salespeople, avoid them entirely by learning how to recognise dishonest practices. If you do realise that they’re treating their customers unfairly, make sure to tell your loved ones to avoid them as well. (Keep in mind that many companies are able to sue for defamation, even if you were mostly in the right. This is why we suggest you leave an honest review of their services and end all contact as soon as possible.)
How to Recognise Dishonest Salespeople?
An honest salesperson’s goals are friendly service, consistent product or service quality, and honest communication. That’s easy enough. But what about dishonest salespeople? I’d like to believe that we could all ascribe to the idea that any stranger is a friend until proven an enemy, but unfortunately that’s not always feasible. When approaching a service provider like a car salesperson, it would be best to do your own research in advance. Ask yourself the following questions:
- 1. Does this company or service provider have authentic, positive reviews? Have they addressed the issues mentioned in negative reviews?
- 2. Do they have any social media feeds or websites where you can view their products or services? (This question could be ignored for smaller businesses that tend to work on word of mouth. Although it would be best to speak to some of their previous clients if you can.)
- 3. Are they willing to meet up and/or discuss their products or services?
- 4. Are they willing to provide you with the names or contact details of previous clients (with that client’s permission, of course)?
- 5. Are they open and communicative over text and in person?
These questions might not be fool-proof, but they do give you a good foundation of what to look out for. If you have any more questions about how to find reputable dealers, contact us today. We would love to help you find you dream car, even if we aren’t the sellers!