Notifications & Messages

Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
×
Jim Radogna

Jim Radogna President

Exclusive Blog Posts

What People Are Looking For In An Auto Repair Shop

What People Are Looking For In An Auto Repair Shop

Those who have been involved in some sort of accident have the next step of finding an auto repair shop. These shops are not all created equal as some are …

One Price Selling – What Are You Waiting For?

One Price Selling – What Are You Waiting For?

Most Dealers are closer to a One Price Selling sales process than they may realize. If you’re an excellent pre-owned dealer you’re basically no…

What Is Your Chemistry With Women Buyers?

What Is Your Chemistry With Women Buyers?

Wow, its December. Last month of the year. Now is the perfect time to begin to reflect on the customer processes, engagement and strategies you have in pla…

Want to Advance in Business? Here are a Few Ways to Stay on Top of Your Game

Want to Advance in Business? Here are a Few Ways to Stay on Top of Your Game

If it’s time for you to take the next steps in your career, there are some tried-and-true methods that can ensure your success. All business professi…

BDC training for 2017

BDC training for 2017

  We have a service and sales bdc team for each of our stores. One is a Hyundai store and the other is a Chevrolet store. We have Three sales Bus…

Is Your Website Provider Watching Your Back?

As I read through dealer websites, I’m often surprised at how many advertising violations I find. You would think that website providers would make sure that this doesn’t occur, right?

You should never assume that the company that creates and maintains your website follows all the laws and regulations governing advertising compliance. State advertising laws vary and the responsibility for compliance lies with the dealership, not the vendor. Here are some examples of what I’ve run into and issues to look for:

  • Disclaimers - Website providers sometimes include boilerplate factory disclaimers on inventory pages that identify vehicles by a specific VIN and price, such as:
    • “Advertised vehicles are subject to actual dealer availability. Certain vehicles listed may not be available, or may have different prices.”
    • “Pricing and availability varies by dealership.”
    • “Prices do not include dealer charges, such as advertising, that can vary by manufacturer or region, or costs for selling, preparing, displaying or financing the vehicle.”
    • “Images displayed may not be representative of the actual trim level of the vehicle.”
    • “Information provided is believed to be accurate but all specifications, pricing and availability must be confirmed in writing (directly) with the dealer to be binding.”

While these types of disclaimers may be appropriate when advertising a model line, they probably shouldn’t be associated with specific vehicles. Advertised vehicles that are identified by VIN are subject to prior sale, but they certainly should not be subject to “different prices”. You should also determine which charges are allowed to be excluded from an advertised price in your state.

  • Check to determine if all necessary disclosures are present on your site. For example, “advertised prices exclude tax, government fees, etc.” Again, do not assume that your website provider is utilizing language that is acceptable in your particular state or including all of the required disclosures.
  • Be sure that all disclaimers are clearly and conspicuously displayed and not buried away in a difficult-to-find link elsewhere on the site.
  • If payments, downpayments or interest rates are advertised, make sure that all of the proper Truth in Lending and state disclosures are included.
  • Ensure that lease programs are properly disclosed. Many factory national lease programs contain generic information that may not be sufficient or appropriate in your state.
  • Some states require that vehicle history, such as prior rental or demonstrator, is disclosed on vehicle advertisements. Does your website provide a way to include these disclosures?
  • Ensure that vehicles are promptly removed from the website after they have been sold. Some sites are linked to the dealer’s DMS and will remove sold units automatically, while others require vehicles to be removed manually. Sold units should always be removed promptly to avoid potential bait and switch advertising claims.

It’s never a bad idea to have your website thoroughly reviewed by a compliance professional. Remember, advertising violations can be easy for regulators to spot and difficult to defend against.

Gary May
Great post Jim! Simply put, take the "advertising" skin off of your article and ask the question again. 9 out of 10 times, the easy answer is 'no' when it comes to a website company doing what they say they'll do: compliance, SEO, specials, reporting and more. It's easily one of the lowest true returns for one of the dealer's best investment. Check me? Call and ask for something to be done that "should? take 6 hours or less of work, and let me know when its done....let alone the legal stuff you're talking about! Best regards, Gary May IM@CS

 Unlock all of the community & features  Join Now