Before we start exploring the reasons why every car dealer must conduct an on-site compliance audit in his car dealership, let us form an overview of its fundamental concept and notches of significance. There are federal guidelines that govern each department of a car dealership; for example, there is a Used Car Rule for the sales department and CAN-SPAM Act for the BDC department. It is mission-critical to adhere to these guidelines in order to improve customer experience and reduce liability associated with fines and penalties.
For the past few years, compliance is receiving a major share of the limelight from the automobile retail industry and for all the wrong reasons. For quite some time now, car dealers across the country are already suffering from a bruised reputation and to top it off, since car dealerships are sales organizations, compliance is oftentimes, not a priority. Multiple factors are responsible for driving the owner to get an on-site compliance audit for his car dealership- firstly, without a compliance audit, you can land yourself in serious legal trouble for violating the standard compliance practices and protocols. Secondly, the audits will help you uncover the problems that have been lying latent for long and resultantly reduce risks and upgrade internal control. And lastly, you can regain your peace of mind knowing that you are complying with the code of ethics and policies targeted towards all the departments and employees.
Compliance training is key to success. An on-site audit will determine if your dealership has an effective onboarding for new hires and regular training for existing employees. Auditors will be able to see what type of training is being conducted, its frequency, and if it is documented.
Like we have already mentioned, an on-site audit is the principal component of the comprehensive compliance program and has been delineated to cover all the crucial departments of a car dealership because getting it done in any other way might increase the vulnerability of the dealership and consequently, decrease its profitability. Furthermore, an on-site audit is effective because before fulfilling the prerequisites of compliance, the auditors are allowed to interview their employees and analyze their policies and procedures as well as check deal jackets.
Once all the stages of the audit are covered, you will be served with a report that includes the necessary policies for the dealership henceforth onwards, procedures and the best practices according to the legal clauses pertaining to it. Therefore, an on-site audit does far more than simply tightening the straps of compliance; it helps to uncover non-compliant behavior and improve customer experience.
Max Zanan is a seasoned automotive industry expert with 20 years of experience in sales, F&I and dealership consulting. Zanan started Total Dealer Compliance to enhance sales and promote best practices with automotive dealers across the United States. As Founder of Total Dealer Compliance and MAZ Dealer Services, Zanan utilizes all of the skills he has picked up over the years in order to cohesively mentor dealerships on how to increase revenue and profitability, and eliminate non-compliant practices in all departments. Zanan is a thought leader and frequently quoted in trade publications such as Automotive News, Fixed Ops Journal, and Auto Dealer Today.
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