NEW YORK — Results of an online survey conducted by a compliance auditing firm showed that consumers don't trust dealership business practices. However, the survey of 200 U.S. adults age 18 and older also showed that it doesn't take much for dealers to change consumer perceptions.

Conducted in July by Total Dealer Compliance, the survey revealed that nearly 65% of consumers polled believe dealership business practices are unethical. However, results also showed that more than 50% would be more likely to shop at a dealership that displays its code of ethics in the showroom.

“A code of ethics is designed to reinforce a dealers' personal commitment to quality service and high ethical standards,” said Max Zanan, president of TDC. “Our survey confirmed that the trust between the consumer and car dealer is truly broken. Ensuring a code of ethics is on display will be the first step in rebuilding the consumer’s trust, where compliance is of top priority.”

However, even with a large majority stating that they would be more inclined to shop at a dealership that posted its code of ethics, 40% of consumers stated that a visible code of ethics would not make a difference. This indifference, the TDC stated, highlights the common theme of consumer fatigue toward dealership sales processes.

“Car dealers have a lot of work to do when it comes to changing the public’s perception,” Zanan said.  “TDC’s survey further highlights the need for a strong compliance training program that will proactively mitigate risks while helping dealerships to build a positive reputation.”

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Originally posted on F&I and Showroom