|Web-based services for car dealers are abundant and the number grows daily. Most of these services are valuable, even necessary, tools for your dealership. The question is not, “do you want to sign up and use these services?” but, “can you do so safely?” and, “what to expect when using these services?” You should be concerned about privacy of information, accessibility and continuity of service. Your level of concern for these issues will depend on the services provided.|
|Web-based services can span a wide spectrum from purely informational Web sites to sites that require you to provide customer and/or dealership information which is necessary to render their service. The more sensitive the information being transmitted via the Internet the greater the concern for privacy issues. For example, retrieving vehicle history information presents no real security/privacy issues, as no sensitive information is transmitted to or from the service Web site. However, submitting customer credit applications when shopping for financing presents some real concerns regarding privacy laws. Identity theft possibilities and the proliferation or misuse of the information provided require some diligent inspection when considering new services. It is worth noting here that most identity theft is perpetrated by employees of vendors that may have access to sensitive or confidential information.|
Always read your license agreement. This agreement defines the responsibilities of the vendor and is where privacy policies should be defined. Other information to look for in your license agreement should include: requirements for data encryption, limited secured access to your services, methods employed to assure confidentiality of information either stored or retrieved from your service and assurances of employee confidentiality regarding information. The relevance of these concerns will range from none to extremely relevant based on the services you will be provided. Low or no relevance should be attached if you are merely retrieving information. The more sensitive the information you provide, particularly if your information is retained by your service provider, the more relevance you should place on each of the above mentioned concerns. Consequently, you want to be sure that when relevance is high more, not less, protections are in place.
Vol 3, Issue 2
Experts say new IRS rules are sparking a downward trend in refund amounts, threatening the loss of an annual catalyst for used-car sales.