What is just too much in competition?

Mitchell Brenner
I love competition! It makes me, and hopefully my dealership, better as it keeps you on your toes to keep thinking outside the box and come up with unique and interesting ideas. We all use SEM and SEO to get the jump on our competition and I for one would never begrudge a dealership for bettering me. I will, however, try to one up them next time. I also believe the expression All is fair in love and the car business is not true. I have always tried to do things on the up and up with fair competition without resorting to untruths. There is a dealer in our market that I feel is operating in a less than ethical way and I'm curious how everyone else feels. Is what they're doing part of the game or is it just over the line. What they are doing is getting P.O. Boxes in our immediate area, (Our Area Of Responsibility as Acura puts it) and putting up false Google Map locations (Their Princeton location is smack in the middle of Princeton University). We've tried diplomatic ways to get them to stop to no avail. They had pulled it down for a few months but now they're back with force. Is this fair business practice or over the line? If fair, then should I begin a war they can't win or, maintain my dignity and fight unfair with fair? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Jared Hamilton
This is a tough call. Unethical? Yes, i believe so. Enforceable? Well that's another story... I guess it depends on the Acura dealer agreement, something Im not familiar with. OEMs often will only enforce issues like this depending on who is having a better month. (Plus Im much more familiar with Chrysler and Ford dealer agreements... no experience with acura's) but it wouldnt hurt to talk to your factory rep. I know that one time we were invited to display cars at a big company's headquarters, we were excited to be invited but in the end had to decline the offer since their headquarters was in a competitive dealers area and our factory rep asked us not to go through with it. I think what they are doing is tacky. I also believe you can submit your position to google who according to their TOS would remove it. (So the Exec from google said last week when we were talking about a similar topic.) In practice however, google is often slow to respond. Often all you can do is stand tall and beat them on your terms. Or google bomb them... :-) j/k
Katrina VanTyne
Competition is what makes us work harder to be better at what we do. After all there wouldn't be Coke without Pepsi, or Nike without Reebok and the list goes on. That being said, I agree with Jared in that this practice is shady at best. And I would submit it to Google regardless of how long it takes them to respond. What kind of message are they are sending to their potential consumers when they send them to a fake address?

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