Over the last few years, dealers have been working hard to establish a positive online presence beyond just their website. It’s become standard practice for dealerships to be listed on websites like DealerRater, Cars.com, Edmunds.com, Yelp, and Google. The reason behind these listings is to build trust online and develop a brand presence.
After all, according to Autotrader’s Car Buyer Journey study, 60 percent of the time spent in the car buying process is in online research, with 78 percent using third-party sites or apps during the car buying process. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with compliance?
In this highly integrated world of online reviews and social media, it can be tempting for dealerships to use cookie cutter, online review vendors to boost positive reviews while minimizing negative reviews. For example, one widely used tactic is asking customers to leave a review while in the dealership, on a device provided by their sales or finance manager, which puts extra pressure on the customer to leave a positive review.
Another tactic that has been used across all industries includes using contract provisions, including online terms and conditions, to penalize consumers for posting negative reviews or complaints. This specific tactic has been ruled as illegal under the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA), which protects people’s ability to share in any forum their honest opinions about a business. Specifically, the CFRA makes it illegal for a company to use a contract provision that: Continue reading