The used-car business' reputation has made big strides since the stereotypical shady salesman wearing a loud sport coat, haggling endlessly with customers on a concrete slab with a ramshackle trailer over a vehicle that may end up being a lemon — leaving a sour taste in buyers' mouths.
Today, customer satisfaction is a key battleground in the pre-owned arena. Driving this change, in part, are the big specialty used-car retailers as well as startups that continue to disrupt the industry and provide stiff competition — especially for online shoppers — to the incumbent franchised dealers who rely on these vehicles for a significant chunk of their profitability.
The biggest of them, CarMax, is turning up the heat even more. As David Muller reported, the company is increasing its money-back guarantee on its vehicles to 30 days after purchase, up from the previous seven and a far departure from the common three-day return policy. It now offers 24-hour test drives for its vehicles.