Demo Plates – Who’s Responsible?

The question of how a dealership manages their dealer demo plates has probably been around for as long as demo plates have. It seems that no completely satisfactory solution has ever been found. Individual dealerships have implemented a wide variety of techniques to try to address this serious problem while countless others have virtually ignored it. Dealers have learned to live with the risk and uncertainty of not actually knowing where their demo plates are or what purpose they are being used for.

Insurance companies have adjusted their risk assessments and rates to compensate for the elevated liability exposure they are required to cover and every one in the industry has accepted that nothing can be done to improve the situation. After all demo plates are required by law in most states and quite frankly, in the interests of homeland security and public safety, should be required in every state.

Dealers that, in an attempt to resolve the dilemma of making demo plates readily available to sales people, are giving each salesperson a plate and charging a significant deposit for the plate only making the problem worse from a liability and law enforcement standpoint. By giving a sales person a demo plate and collecting a deposit the dealer may have given that person the right to use the demo plate 24/7 and possibly not even on dealer business. Read, “increased liability exposure!” The dealer is still responsible for the demo plate, perhaps even more so because of the deposit! In addition, a sales person that has lost or misplaced the demo plate is not likely to promptly report that loss to management. They will use valuable time searching for the lost plate, perhaps attempting to borrow plates from fellow sales persons, or disrupting business while attempting to avoid forfeiting their deposit. How long will it take management to realize a plate has been lost or stolen? All this serves to increase risk, since the dealer is responsible for the lost plate until it is reported to authorities. thorities.

Resolve all of these problems by utilizing a top quality dealer demo plate control system that has been designed specifically for the purpose. Such a system retains custody of the demo plates. Sales persons can obtain plates on demand by utilizing a unique key. Universal access to plates results in fewer plates being required for demo purposes. Security deposits can be required on keys just as they are required for plates. (Note: no dealership liability is associated with a key.) Lost or stolen demo plates are immediately identifiable and can be reported in a timely manner to limit dealership liability. Most importantly, salespeople will not be able to loan or borrow demo plates. Remember, a demo plate represents all the assets of the dealership when it is on the road. Dealers should not take chances with all that at risk.

Bernard Boule


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