AUTO PUNDITZ
  • Team Auto Punditz

Can a Dealership Website, Get You Sued?

All automobile dealerships today have an active website. Either the website is run and maintained by the dealership or they take the help of the OEM and run their website. And we also know that most dealers today are aware that an online presence is important, if not vital, for driving sales. What you might not know, however, is that your website poses perhaps the biggest lawsuit threat to your business today.

There seems to be a recent trend, where legal cases have started coming up with regards to website content. And it is costing the business thousands. By content, we mean that the discontinued cars, services that are obsolete, commitments that are withdrawn, and offers that are not valid anymore.


Unfortunately, most dealers are helping customers and busy with the million-and-one things they need to worry about, so company websites fall to the back burner (or are just outright ignored).


Knowing this, we’ll address the three most practical questions about the website:


#)Is this really a common issue?

#)How great of a legal threat is there if I do nothing?

#)How do I implement the necessary changes in order to be compliant?


How Often Is Web Content an Actual Problem?

The short answer? Way more than you think.


Today, with more than 90% of the urban and rural customers reaching out to you through digital platforms, the website is one of the most critical assets. In fact, the upkeep of the website is more important than the physical showroom itself. Often we do the mistake of not updating the right content on the website.


Dealers continue to have offers that were long discontinued or dealers continue to have cars that are no more being sold. Adding to this there are locations of the Google map which still show on the website and the dealership outlet must have been long closed or shifted.


All of the above are inviting trouble and customers today are not going to take these virtual commitments of yours lightly.


Also, If your site is easy to use and is updated with specific business details you’re going to get that business. This gives you incremental revenue from happy customers and avoids legal attention from irate customers


What Are the Legal Consequences of Inaction?

As web content becomes a more vocalized issue, you’re increasingly at risk of being sued by someone who tried to use your site and wasn’t able to or was misguided. You can also be sued by a legal team looking to sue owners for wrong information on the website. The payouts involved in these types of suits depend on a variety of factors, but the idea of calling your lawyer about a new discrimination case should leave any business owner shaking in their boots.


How to Get Started Making Your Dealership Website right?

The beauty of the internet is that as quickly as it changes and evolves, it also brings more and more tools and ways of making our life easier. The website updation issue is just the same and there are now automated ways to make sure your site is up-to-date with current offerings and regulations and the needs of your customers.


It’s recommended to invest in a solution that automates the updates with regards to the dealership's offerings and products, this can be done by pairing your website along with the OEM website or easiest being backlinking the key offer pages to OEM websites. We have various API options available to update the offers and schemes and EMI calculations. Also, staying in touch with the Marcom team at the OEM Level, ensure standardized communication to the customer across all channels.


Given the ever-changing dynamics, it's advisable to always have a dedicated resource to handle your digital asset. The website is your digital showroom on the web. Just like your physical showrooms require upkeep and maintenance, your digital showroom is no different.


The Takeaway

Once again, between the threat of legal action and the hit to your bottom line by wrong information/ incomplete information to the customers, we highly recommend a dedicated team & using a specialized content consultant to run the show for you. Not only will it be a major undertaking to figure out on your own, but it will also save you money, and energy if you’re burning precious time that you could be devoting to your customers. Your bottom line should increase and you’ll avoid, by all accounts, a very unpleasant phone call with your lawyer.