September 18, 2020

Good reason to ask for customer info

TO THE EDITOR:

The Bloomberg article “Startup Digital Motors looks to give dealerships online chops” (autonews.com, Aug. 17) unwittingly fell into the free advertising trap by reporting a solution that has nothing new to offer and has the same flaws that make numerous other digital retailing solutions counterproductive to what consumers and dealerships really want and need.

CEO Andreas Hinrichs is critical of the process on dealer websites of requesting a prospect’s name, phone number and email. But without this, any payment information given to the prospect is probably wrong unless there is a hard credit pull. This is a huge, gaping hole in most of the solutions that assume the person has good to excellent credit in calculating payments.

Accurate digital retailing solutions use soft credit pulls at the very beginning of the process to ensure that the payment information is accurate without impacting the prospect’s credit score. They also use information from the soft pull to calculate a more accurate equity positioning of the trade-in. I suggest reporters dive a bit deeper before writing about solutions that are just designed to get prospects in the door and let the sharks handle the understating of payments the way they always have. It’s a continued bad look for our industry.

KEN LUNA, Vice president of strategic partnerships, Dealer eProcess, Oviedo, Fla. Dealer eProcess offers various Web-based solutions for thousands of dealerships.