Sixty-five percent of dealers think that they are under scrutiny by proactive regulators, a March survey found.
But just 37 percent of dealers provide comprehensive compliance training to all of their employees, and only 23 percent employ a compliance officer, the survey found.
Meanwhile, 73 percent of consumers are more comfortable dealing with dealership staff that has completed compliance training and has certificates on display, the same survey, by auditing firm Total Dealer Compliance, found.
“For us, it’s important to survey dealerships and the general public and see what the general public thinks of compliance,” Max Zanan, president of TDC, told Automotive News. He plans to make it an annual survey.
“Consumers, regardless of location, all want a transparent sales process,” he said. “Being a compliant dealer contributes to transparency.
“Believe it or not, you don’t need to create a separate position” of a compliance officer, Zanan said. “The idea here is that someone at the dealership has to take on additional responsibilities and act as an officer.”
A lack of compliance costs dealerships an average of $792,000 in lost profit, TDC calculated.
“Our mission is to help them preserve income and not give it away in fines and penalties,” Zanan said.
TDC will audit a dealership and then determine whether it needs to take courses.
The survey also found that 65 percent of dealers have not had a comprehensive audit in the last 12 months.
TDC offers a cloud-based online learning program that includes over 20 courses in various departments, including sales, F&I, fixed ops, human resources and information technology.
TDC conducted the consumer portion of its survey March 11-16 and the dealership portion March 14-22. There were 200 consumer respondents. Representatives from more than 500 dealerships nationwide, across 20 brands, participated in the dealership portion.