It has long been known that buying a vehicle off of Craigslist or eBay is a risky venture. Educated consumers can spot the common fraudster a mile away. Criminals have a sordid history of taking advantage of people with deals that are too good to be true. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned consumers for decades about independent online vehicle sales.
In recent times, online vehicle sales have received a facelift by franchise dealerships entering into the virtual arena. Car dealerships are now capitalizing on this trend by moving into online sales. Can technology help to alleviate dealership fraud or only facilitate it?
Ways in which technology is benefiting consumers
According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, in 2020, there were 16,623 franchised new vehicle dealerships with more than 1.1 million workers. The majority of these have moved into online sales to stay current. They’re now having to deal with the following factors when selling cars to consumers:
- Educated consumers: Consumers are now entering showrooms armed with information and facts. Informed buyers are entering dealerships ready to buy. They are no longer relying on the smooth sales pitch of a salesperson that is more concerned with meeting their sales quota instead of customer satisfaction.
- Avoiding high-pressure sales: Many dealerships are offering a “virtual walk-around” tour that allows potential buyers to view their inventory without being distracted by high-pressure sales personnel.
- Trade-in estimates: The CEO of General Motors has said that 85% of their dealerships are using a tool called “Shop-Click-Drive” that allows buyers to get an estimate on their trade-in and apply for financing. By dealing directly with technology, discriminatory or predatory practices can hopefully be minimized.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) bots: Dealerships are using AI bots to answer clients’ questions and communicate with them directly. Cutting out the human factor can also decrease fraudulent practices.
Dealerships, along with the rest of society, are evolving at an incredibly fast rate. Technology has the potential to clean up dealerships’ dubious reputation. However, those that are set on committing fraud will surely evolve right along with technology.
If you feel that you have had the unfortunate experience of auto-dealership fraud, now might be the right time to explore your legal options.