What dealers need most: transparency

The F&I experience needs to be more open, to allow consumers choice

Transparency appears to be at a premium in the automotive industry. We need more and we need it now.

At stake is our industry’s reputation. Transparency boosts that. The consumers’ best interest should always be top of mind. Being transparent with them allows that to happen.

The Federal Trade Commission recently rejected a request from a number of groups—the National Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Minority Dealers and American International Automobile Dealers Association—to allow more time to comment on the agency’s proposed rules on industry advertising and finance and insurance (F&I) practices.

Consumers for years have been demanding more transparency from dealerships. The FTC proposal would do away with junk fees and bait-and-switch advertising. These regulations would also require dealers to develop an information security program to protect consumer information.

Long story short: The FTC proposal is saying there needs to be way more transparency tomorrow than what exists today in car dealerships.

Transparency is something all consumers deserve.

DecisioningIT was built so that there would be a system that can align customers with what is in their best interest. Whether they’re seeing their financing options online for themselves or whether an F&I manager is turning their monitor and showing them all their options, the end goal is always the same: Transparency. It’s about letting the customer be involved in the process. They can see what’s happening and be educated.

This is a process that consumers are generally missing.

Our company is trying to bring options to the table—options for consumers and options for dealers. The focus cannot be on going to a single source to find financing for consumers. Even two options aren’t enough. They must be able to see all options and all offers from all lenders.

Every F&I manager’s goal should be to maintain openness and transparency with their customers. This is in the best interest of the consumer. They want to feel great about their purchase. They need to be able to see everything available to them. 

If a lender with which the dealer is not a partner but shows it will approve the consumer at the best rate, the manager can submit the dealership to be a partner with the lender and give the customer the best deal out there.

Think about your mortgage—your broker goes out there and gets the best deal possible for you and shows you all of your options. But this isn’t happening when people want to buy a vehicle. They’re told what the financing will be and that’s it.

Consumers have a right to ask questions. They are entitled to know what they’re prequalified for. This is in their best interest.

We’re closing gaps, we’re making connections and we’re trying to build a network—a network where everything is available for dealers and customers. Everything is visible and everything is transparent.

This is how we build a better narrative for our industry. We’re among the least trustworthy. Having this reputation is tiresome. It’s time to turn it around. And it starts with being open and honest with consumers.

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