Drop the Bow Tie
Drop the Bow Tie is a series we created to help our partners stay up-to-date on compliance issues affecting the retail automotive industry.
Gouging Above MSRP (How NOT to Sell Above MSRP)
In a previous episode, we discussed how to sell a vehicle for more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. It is legal to do so, provided you don’t do it in a deceptive manner. The big no-no was not selling above MSRP, but selling above the advertised price.
Jab or Job?
Joe Biden announced his intention to require all federal employees, and those who work for private companies with more than 100 employees, to receive a vaccine against COVID-19. To our knowledge, the federal government does not operate retail automobile dealerships, so this segment will focus on the potential impact on dealerships that employ 100 or more people.
How to Sell Above MSRP
Question: "With the increasing shortage of vehicles, we’ve noticed dealers selling cars over MSRP. We’ve also been asked if there is a preferred way to do this. In other words, is it better to have an addendum that includes some perceived value to justify the markup – or is it okay just to raise the price?" So is it okay to sell above MSRP? And if it is how should you do it to ensure you aren't breaking any laws?
Social Media Policies in the Age of Cancel Culture
Social media is a fact of modern life, and the line between what one posts on Twitter or Facebook as an individual and as an employee is becoming increasingly blurry, and may disappear completely. Does your company or dealership have a social media policy?
What Dealerships Needs to Know About Spear Phishing
All phishing attacks can potentially expose your dealership to malware that corrupts its computer network, or mines the data in its DMS without you knowing it. Spear phishing attacks are targeted to a single target, either an individual or an organization, and can be very difficult to detect until it’s too late.
Defending Your Dealership Against Phishing Scams
Phishing attacks are a kind of social engineering – convincing people to behave in a particular way. And social engineering is far and away the greatest threat to the security of computer networks. Social engineering attacks account for 70 – 90% of all computer attacks.
Why Dealerships Should Obey the Safeguards Rule
Does your dealership have Safeguards in place to protect customer information? Or does your dealership just say that it protects customer information? The FTC recently found the latter to be a UDAP violation. New proposed changes to the Safeguards Rule will likely firm up this interpretation and make it more important for dealerships to have robust computer network security in place.
The Dealerbuilt Data Breach: What You Need to Know
What did the FTC have to say in their consent order against Dealerbuilt? It could have an impact on how dealers and other financial institutions (any company that processes customer data) do business. Under the Safeguards Rule, dealerships are required to do business with service providers who also follow the Rule.
The Canary in the Mineshaft for Discretionary Pricing?
Recent action by the Attorney General of Massachusetts could be a "Canary in the Mineshaft" for discretionary pricing. It may reasonably be assumed that similar actions may be spreading to other states and the federal level. If you don’t have policies and training in place that address discretionary pricing and its limits, now is the time to do so.
The Cost of Compliance is Going Up
One of the additions to the new Safeguards Rule is the addition of a CISO or Chief Information Security Officer to the requirements for companies that handle customer personal information. This could be one of the biggest expenses faces many small to medium-size businesses, not just car dealerships.
The Military Lending Act and GAP
If you're a dealer, you may be asking: can I sell GAP under the MLA? The Military Lending Act (MLA) has entered the headlines frequently since the Department of Defenses' reinterpretation in December 2017. Since then the MLA has affected dealers ability to sell GAP, credit insurance, and cash out. There has been much confusion and speculation about this issue.
Don't Stretch the Etch! Dealer Busted Payment Packing Window Etching
The New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's war on Payment Packing continues with current NY AG Barbara Underwood busting a dealer group in that state for "jamming" a window etch product on deals without asking the customer. They also charged wildly different prices for the product. Learn why payment packing can get you into hot water.
Moral or Ethical? Can You Train Employees to be Ethical?
Ethical or Moral? What's the difference and which can you train? People are often described as being either inherently good or bad, it's a matter of debate, but one thing is certain you don't want the bad one working at your dealership. But even good employee make ethical mistakes. What do you need to do to make sure your people know what's ethical in the car business?
What Do I Do If My Dealership Is Sued?
Catch some industry wisdom from a long-practicing attorney Jim Ganther. What are the best moves to make when something goes bad and a former employee or customer sues you? It may be tempting to try and cover your trail or make a slight change to the story in order to get away with something, but that may not be the best practice in the long run.
FTC Sweep Update: Stores Caught Falsifying Credit Information
Don't let the FTC catch you off guard when you haven't run a compliance audit in a while. Big penalties can be incurred by fraudulent advertising practices, especially when it comes to used car sales. It's also important to be honest in credit score reporting and background checks on customers. Used car dealerships and all dealerships will want to follow due process in all their transactions.
FTC Used Car Buyers Guide Compliance Sweep
The FTC just conducted a compliance sweep of dealerships in 20 cities nationwide. The FTC and its partners were looking for dealers who were not displaying the revised window stickers called the Used Car Buyers Guide. Jim explains why dealers who fail to comply with this regulation set off alarms at the FTC for further investigative action.
The Legal Importance for Training and Testing Your Employees
Training and Testing for competency are important in any industry, but they are especially important for automotive franchisees. Jim why training and testing is important for the longevity of your dealership and the strength of your employees.