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From: Jared Hamilton
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Rachel Boyle

Rachel Boyle Director of Marketing

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FTC says ditch deceptive ads: How dealerships can build trust with customers

Recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) crackdowns against dealerships have drawn attention to the changing dynamics of automotive advertising. While FTC interventions have caused turmoil for some, most auto dealers don’t buy into running too good-to-be true ads. Some dealers even pride themselves on being straight with their customers.

The challenge for these dealers now lies with shedding the “used car salesman” stereotype and better supporting consumers looking to trade in or sell their vehicle.

One dealership targeted recently by the FTC, placed website ads promoting dealer discounts and Internet prices, but failed to disclose consumers would have to qualify for a series of rebates not generally available. The second dealership advertised discounted vehicles on its website and in the local paper, but failed to disclose the discounts only applied to more expensive models. Over a year ago, five dealers falsely promised to pay off consumers’ trade-ins, no matter how much the consumer owed on their vehicle, on their websites and sites such as YouTube.

So, how can car dealerships shed the stereotype, spare consumers the confusing (and sometimes deceptive) advertisements and be more up front? The answer is simple: make consumers an actual offer. Not a ballpark quote or estimate, but a real, legitimate offer on their used car or trade in.

More than 150 dealers in the Midwest have turned to MaxTradeIn, a new online resource offering consumers a free and easy way to receive multiple offers on their vehicle, from trusted car dealers in their area, during a free 48-hour listing period. MaxTradeIn gives consumers the ability to interact directly with car dealers without the misleading ads and eliminates the stress of driving from dealership to dealership in an endless cycle of negotiation. In addition, MaxTradeIn’s vehicle listing process incorporates educational information for consumers, assisting them with building their used car listing to ensure they get the best offers from dealers.

“Our partnership with MaxTradeIn helps us stay in line with our long-term strategy, to earn business and fight for it,” saidBen Weir, general manager of Pearson Ford.“The service helps customers weed through confusing advertising done by some dealers and brings them right to our door more confident, educated about the process and ready to close.”

MaxTradeIn’s mission is to partner only with dealerships that want to provide transparency to their customers and build honest relationships with them. Dealerships, meanwhile, benefit by capturing high quality opportunities, increasing appointments, obtaining higher quality used car inventory and providing customers with an exceptional, no-hassle customer experience.

“I've been running a dealership for more than 18 years and sometimes it’s hard to play by the rules with our advertising—especially when bigger dealerships are running negative or deceptive ads and continue to win customers,” said J.R. Dugan, general manager of Dugan Chevrolet. “We’ve chosen to take the high road and do the right thing by customers and that’s paid huge dividends. That’s why our partnership with MaxTradeIn works so well. Transactions between my dealership and the customer are transparent and build trust.”

In addition to giving consumers an easy way to receive multiple offers on their vehicle from trusted car dealers in their area, MaxTradeIn enables consumers topublicly review dealers on the site and read reviews left by others.

“Our customers are going online more every day and becoming educated about the sales process,” saidRusty Lasley, Used Car Manager for Dugan Chevrolet. “We’re making sure that MaxTradeIn customers have a great experience and that they’re going online to review us, because online reviews couldn’t be more important these days.”

Founded by a team with more than 150 years combined leadership and sales experience in the automotive industry, MaxTradeIn has experienced rapid growth since first launching in Indianapolis, in late 2012. More than $145 million in offers have been made by over 150 dealerships who subscribe to the service, located in Indianapolis and Terre Haute, In; Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Louisville, Ky and Moline, Ill. To learn more about MaxTradeIn, visithttp://dealers.maxtradein.com/.

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