Scam

How Do You Avoid Being Defrauded At Your Dealership?

Whether you work in the service and parts department or new and used car sales, there are fraud risks that some dealerships may not be aware of. The following are some common fraud risks in each of these departments, and solutions to the problems. 

Parts Department 

Problem: Management or staff substituting aftermarket parts for OEM parts. 

Solution: Has your staff been trained on the latest OEM repair procedures? The way many cars are repaired nowadays requires specific repair procedures using only factory-manufactured parts. Neglecting these repair procedures can cause damage to the vehicle and/or void warranties. Consider setting up an anonymous hotline where employees can report any fraudulent repairs. 

Service Department 

Problem: Sales staff releasing serviced vehicles before the customer pays. 

Solution: Consider having signs posted that prohibit anyone but authorized service personnel to release a vehicle back to the customer. Let your employees know that they’ll be held responsible for paying for any unpaid repair bills if they let a customer take their vehicle before the bill is paid for in its entirety. 

Problem: Service staff charging the manufacturer for warranty repairs they didn’t perform. 

Solution: All warranty repairs should only be authorized by the service manager or the assistant service manager, mainly because of their qualifications to manage the business side of the operations. Mechanics should be evaluated based on properly performing a warranty repair. Compliance requirements can also apply to any other incentives your dealership may provide your staff, such as bonuses. 

New Car Sales

Problem: Sales managers or staff issuing “dealership rebates” not approved by the manufacturer. 

Solution: Have your accounting manager make sure none of these rebates are present during a transaction. Also, require every team member on the sales floor to sign a statement acknowledging that “dealership rebates” are not allowed. 

Used Car Sales

Problem: Used car management team are purchasing high priced auction cars in exchange for kickbacks. The used car sales team is also wholesaling cars below their current book value. 

Solution: The accounting department should frequently monitor the amount used cars were purchased for at auction versus their current book value. Your accounting department needs to keep track of the cost of any used cars that come into your dealership. 

The Solution To It All

Let each department in your dealership know that you’ll be performing various check-ups to prevent fraud. It’s an inexpensive way to let your employees know you’re regularly checking in on them. What gets measured gets managed. Knowing that they are being monitored can help prevent fraudulent activities happening in any department. It’ll also give you peace of mind that your dealership is not doing any shady business. Not to mention, it also shows your employees you care about them and their job. It’s a win-win for all.

ReconPro Back Office 2.10.1.0

Generate the Statement Report for a particular invoice type and send alerts about approved inspections and invoices created by employees of particular teams

Improvements

  • Filter Statement Report by Invoice Type
  • ‘Team’ condition for ‘Invoice Approved’ and ‘Estimate Approved’ events
  • Showing Back Office invoices in the mobile app based on the client’s area

See the details of the improvements here.

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Street of SUVs

SUVs Are Packing Dealer Lots With More Coming

  • Nearly half of new vehicles sold are SUVs
  • Growth continues but seems to be slowing
  • Dealers are running out of space as vehicles sit longer

Over the past few years, SUVs have been an increasingly popular choice among consumers. Just this year, the sales of SUVs and crossovers increased by 1.6% in the first half of 2019. They also make up over 47% of the new-vehicle market sales. Car manufacturers can tell this is a popular choice among consumers, which is why they are releasing more models of different sizes and price ranges. It sounds ideal in the world of vehicle sales, but there’s also another side that is adding stress to dealers across the country. 

There is a big problem with the increasing distribution of these sport-utility vehicles. Dealerships are running out of space for these vehicles, and as a result, sales are dipping. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, “…companies are resorting to more sales promotions to keep inventory from piling up…And yet, automakers are getting ready to roll out even more sport-utility offerings in the next few years, further packing U.S. showrooms.” 

Take a look at this graph showing growth in U.S. SUV sales from 2015 to now. While growth continues, it’s less than half of what it was last year: 

Sure, this is a good thing for customers since they’ll have a hidden selection of vehicles to choose from and better deals. There are currently 96 crossover and sport-utility models on dealership lots as of this year, which is a significant increase from 70 back in 2014. A Bank of America report recently stated, “that figure is expected to rise to 149” by the year 2023. 

As mentioned above, with the continued rollout of these vehicles, it’s taking significantly longer for dealers to sell the cars. One thing is to give consumers several different choices. But it’s an entirely different thing when they have too many to choose from that they end up leaving the dealership without a purchase. According to data collected by edmunds.com, SUVs, and crossovers are sitting on the lot longer and longer each year. In 2015, the average amount of days these new vehicles were on the lot was 51. Last year, it increased to 63 days, and as of May, the average vehicle sitting for 2019 is 71 days. That is nearly 2 and a half months. Dealerships don’t need any more cars filling these lots. They’re past vacancy and beyond capacity. 

Car manufacturers don’t seem to be too worried, as they feel this is simply the future of the car buying process. Although sale rates may be decreasing, there’s still a demand for SUVs and crossovers. Bill Fay, Senior V.P for Toyota North America, even stated, “our crystal ball has this continuing.” 

The only thing dealers really can do is keep the promotions rolling, and the sales will follow. After all, SUVs are the most popular choice for consumers purchasing a new vehicle. From the looks of it, conventional sedans are steadily decreasing while SUVs have significantly increased over the past 4 years. Check out the graph below and prepare your dealership for the continuation. It’s only going up from here on forward. 

ReconMonitor Back Office 3.5.1

Manage repair order time records, view vehicle arbitration date, sort repair orders by RO number, pin saved searches, and much more.

New Features

  • Time Reporting
  • Arbitration Date
  • Sort repair orders by RO number
  • Pin saved searches

Improvements

  • Parts selection made easier
  • Search for repair orders by predefined time periods
  • Indicating received parts in parts & labor bundle
  • Search for repair orders by service name and task name
  • Indicating started services in repair orders
  • Showing repair order VIN in the same column with Stock#, RO#, and PO#
  • Showing the ‘Technicians’ column on the Repair Orders page
  • Some improvements in the ‘Phases’ filter on the Repair Orders page
  • ‘My Completed Work’, ‘My Work Queue’, and ‘My WIP List’ options have been added to saved searches on the Repair Orders page
  • Improved logic for tracking work status of repair orders at phase and service level

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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ReconPro mobile app 2.18.9 for iOS devices

Specify the ‘Arbitration’ date until which the vehicle must be inspected and returned to the seller if you find any problems

New Features

  • Specify vehicle arbitration date
  • Attach work orders to draft invoices regardless of sharing type
  • Prevent editing monitored work orders in particular phases

Improvements

  • Add inspection supplements with zero-price services
  • Improvements related to copying of inspection question services
  • Service default technician can be assigned to the service even if the technician does not belong to the service team.
  • Showing zero labor time value if a standard labor time is not available and the default labor time is not set for the labor service.

Fixed Issues

  • Wholesale service price was shown for retail customers if the wholesale customer mode was on

See the details of the new features here.

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4 Key Tips For Business Longevity

4 Key Tips For Business Longevity

  • Team
  • Community
  • Competition
  • Vision

Whether you’re own a dealership or an auto body repair shop, you want your business to be successful. Whether you’re a regional MSO or a stand-alone shop, the following are key tips that have been proven successful for long-lasting businesses. 

1) Employee Incentives

Let’s face it: work can sometimes feel like more of a routine without any variety than a place we look forward to going to every day. When your technicians know they are given a bonus for their billed hours, it encourages them to keep working hard to earn that incentive. Perhaps there’s a goal amount of collected money from your shop or a sales goal at your dealership. This would not only encourage your technicians but for the rest of your staff to work in unison to achieve that goal. 

2) Get Involved With Your Community 

Getting involved with your community shows that you actually care about people and not just making money. After all, without these same people, you wouldn’t have a business. Perhaps do a back-to-school fundraiser where proceeds go to a family in need or a charity of the customer’s choosing. The proceeds can be from repair service, car wash, or even purchasing a new car. It benefits the customer because of their vehicle need, it benefits you because you’re making money, and it helps the community as a result. 

3) Analyze The Competition 

You can’t own a business and assume that you’re the best across the board. The trick here is to find something you have that your competitors don’t. This is called competitive advantage. If you want your competitive advantage to stick, then make sure it’s something that can’t easily be replicated. An excellent way to determine why your customers choose your location over your competition is to simply ask them a brief set of questions. Understanding the source of your business is the first step in identifying opportunities. You can see what they prefer, where you’re excelling, etc. Also, include an area that gives a place for customers to write any areas where they feel your business can improve. 

4) Have A Clear Vision 

A business without a vision is like a car without gas: it can’t go anywhere. Having a clear vision for your business helps you focus on long-term goals. The trick here is those can only be met by successfully achieving your daily, weekly, monthly, etc. goals. Through attaining those goals and keeping focused on your vision, it inspires your team to achieve that vision.

Follow these four key tips, and you’re sure to have a business that is built to last. 

ReconPro Starter mobile app 3.5.5

Activate the mobile app on your device by entering the registration code that you automatically get as a text message after adding a new device in the Back Office application

New Features

  • SMS-based Device Registration
  • Work order service approval
  • Showing repair order phases and services in a single list
  • Auto-hiding completed and skipped services
  • Showing quick actions on the Home screen
  • Specify vehicle arbitration date
  • Manage services of repair order based on employee role

Improvements

  • Improvements in parts & labor bundle
  • Device’s ‘Back’ button is now supported
  • Showing question answers on printouts
  • Selecting multiple parts for a labor service has been improved
  • Showing disabled actions for repair orders, phases, and services
  • Showing warning messages about work order editing expiration
  • Indicating labor services with added parts
  • Showing started services with the appropriate status icon

See the details of the new features here.

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How To Avoid A Data Breach At Your Dealership

How To Avoid A Data Breach At Your Dealership

  • Keep What’s Needed
  • Be Aware
  • Be Prepared
  • Destroy Before Trashing
  • Button It Up & Lock It Down

Last July, almost 47,000 files of factory records from Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Tesla Inc., Toyota Motor Corp, and others were discovered in a data leak. The breach exposed company trade secrets that could be used by competitors to have an unfair advantage in manufacturing their vehicles. In addition, the data breach gave employee data, such as their names and ID photos accessible online. 

If you have a data breach happen at your dealership, you’ll not only lose revenue and customers, but your very reputation and brand could be ruined. Reputation is everything, as it is the very essence of who you and your brand are. If your customer’s confidential information is leaked due to a data breach, your dealership’s reputation will crumble. 

So, how do you avoid a data breach at your dealership? Below are ways you can develop a cybersecurity plan and prevent a data breach: 

Keep what you need

When you minimize the amount of collected information or data, this allows you to keep only the necessary information on file. Also, don’t have the data stored in many places. Keep it minimized to know what you keep and where it was kept. 

Cybersecurity awareness 

It’s crucial that all employees at your dealership are aware of the potential of a data breach and what they can do to eliminate it from happening. Assign a management team member to lead a cybersecurity training program. This education can inform your employees what information is confidential or contains sensitive data and what they can do to protect that data. Make it a requirement for employees to log off their computers and lock where they file confidential information at the end of each business day. 

Be prepared for the worst case scenario 

It’s important to be ready if and when a data breach does happen. Have a detailed and document Incident Management Plan already designed to guide you and your dealership through the incident. Have designated roles and assign responsibilities ahead of time, so it’s not a chaotic scramble figuring out who does what, if the breach were to happen. Most states have data breach requirements to follow. Already have someone designated for this and make sure your team knows who that person is. Otherwise, there could be fines and penalties. 

Destroy before trash

Simply deleting files or reformatting a hard drive doesn’t remove the data from existence. Use specific software that is designed to wipe the hard drive completely. All portable media, such as DVDs, CDs, USBs, etc. need to be destroyed. It’s best even to minimize the use of portable media, as these are more susceptible to be stolen or misplaced. Photocopy machines keep a copy of whatever document they scanned, so clear the data on there as well. Eliminate any paper trails by cross-cut shredding paper files before trashing any confidential information. 

Secure Computers and Laptops 

Passwords need to be changed regularly (i.e., once a week) and to something that doesn’t contain any personal information, such as name or birth year. Set up all computers or laptops to require someone to re-login if it’s been inactive for some time. Security software should be installed on all computers and laptops. This includes firewalls, anti-virus anti-spyware, and more, which keeps the security up-to-date electronically. Make sure every employee is aware of not keeping personal information on the computer or laptop unless it is necessary for business needs only. In addition, train your employees never to leave their computer or laptop unattended. 

There’s no saying if or when a data breach might happen at your dealership. But it’s always better to be prepared by practicing these safety tips to avoid it happening to you. After all, better safe than sorry. 

Image credit: blogtrepreneur.com/tech

ReconPro Back Office 2.9.4.0

See how much you need to pay your technicians for the work they perform, show vehicle arbitration date on printouts, subtract administration fee from technician revenue

New Features

  • Effective Labor Utilization Report
  • Configure showing arbitration date on printouts
  • Specify administration fee for commission calculation

Improvements

  • Showing time values as decimal hours in the ‘Timesheet Logs’ report
  • Showing vendor bill notes in the ‘Technician Commissions by Paid Invoice’ report
  • Showing ‘Customer’ and ‘Insurance’ as separate columns in the ‘Days to Complete’ report
  • Showing recipients from invoice batch emails in the ‘Emailed Invoices’ report
  • NetSuite SuiteTalk Endpoint has been updated to the latest version

See the details of the new features here.

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ReconMonitor Back Office 3.5.0

Sort repair orders within priority levels from newest to oldest and vice versa, view more information about important changes in repair order log

New Features

  • Sort repair orders by date within priority levels

Improvements

  • Improvements in repair order audit log
  • Showing ‘Days in Phase’ consistently on the Repair Orders page
  • Showing pending services with a gray background on the Repair Order page

See the details of the new features here.

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