The report released today by Which? Car purporting to detail the “dirty tricks” performed by car salespeople to part people from their money throws up a few interesting questions. On the one hand we have the general car buying public, a large percentage of who carry the perception that the world of car retailing is somehow “dodgy”. Then we have the car retailers themselves who balk at yet another consumer publication highlighting the apparently shady practises of a business supposedly bereft of morals.
It’s probably comes down to the “Daily Mail” mentality which states “all car dealers are dodgy because we say they are!” Speaking of the Daily Mail which photograph do you presume they used to adorn their reporting of the Which? Car report? Why Arthur Daley of course, who else? You can imagine the conversation in the sub editor’s office.
“Got another report about dodgy car dealers guv, do you know where the Arthur Daley picture is saved?”
Autoblog UK reported a number of car retailers quite rightly up in arms about the whole thing, with accusations of the compilers of the report living in the dark ages and regurgitating practises and vocabulary from a bygone age.
It’s true to say that some of the language quoted in the report as being used by dealers to describe certain individuals seemed slightly odd. “Wooden duck” for instance. We made a few calls around some of our trade contributors and no one had ever hear that expression and presumed it derived from fairground folk. Now if they’d said a “hands up Billy” then that may have resonated a bit more, but even so it is certainly a language that is dying out.
What this report does highlight is the work that still needs to be done in changing people’s perception of and attitudes toward the motor trade in general. Is the report the problem or are they just playing to the gallery as it were?
A lot of bad things were done to unsuspecting car buyers back in the bad old days, there is no denying that, but things have moved on so much since then and a lot of people have worked very hard to restore the reputation of the car retailing world and so are rightly very angry when reports like this cast one and all down with the sodomites.
There is a world of difference between sales techniques (just how long is the DFS sale going on for?) and ripping someone off and we don’t think a clear enough distinction has been made.
A smooth salesman is one thing but a con-artist is quite another. How many people in this day and age do the compliers of this report really believe will be taken in by these petty attempts to deceive? Just as there may be a small minority of people who may fall into that category there are only a small minority who think behaving like that will make them become salesman of the year.