DONNA HARRIS

Upfront pricing? Priceless!

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News

Should dealerships post prices on their F&I product menus?

That topic was recently discussed among members of a Facebook F&I managers group.

The finance managers who believe prices should be left off the menu argue that prices are a distraction that interferes with the sale. Customers who see the prices can get sticker shock and miss the finance manager's presentation on the product's value, they argue.

The members of the anti-price camp say they are quick to disclose the price when asked and that they have nothing to hide.

But I would argue that leaving out prices hinders sales.

I'm not paid to work in the box as you are, but I certainly can offer a customer's point of view. And here it is: On all menus -- from the ones I see in restaurants to those offered in auto shops -- I expect to see prices.

If I go to any retail store and the price isn't clearly posted, I will ask an employee what the price is. If I am pressed for time, I simply won't buy the product. I am usually suspicious of any vendor who is not upfront about price.

Menus are typically provided as a convenience for customers. If you're going to omit critical pricing information, what's the point of having a menu?

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