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Does Your Dealership Preload Vehicles and Use Addendum Labels?

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Allan Tone is the CEO for Dealer Addendums.

Do you preload vehicles and use addendum labels? If so, there are a few things to keep in mind to accurately and professionally present options you offer your clients in this socially connected world. Before we begin, I want to clarify that I am not an attorney and you should consult your legal counsel for direction on these matters. These are just a few of the challenges I know my dealerships have encountered, and it’s always good to learn from their experience.

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Recently, a few of the dealerships I work with have been asked by their applicable Secretaries of State to remove addendum labels where vehicle options were displayed as a package with just one price for that package. The best practice is to, instead, list each item or option in the package, and then itemize each item and option so the price for each is explicit and clear to the consumer. Listing the retail prices for each item and then using a package price to add to the MSRP is OK, but every option needs a value associated with it. Another pitfall to avoid is allowing a discrepancy between the “Internet price” for a car on your Website that includes discounts and rebates and the “Lot Price” found on the addendum label, with no discounts or rebates but with options pricing added. This second concern is most often covered with a Website disclaimer, but in a socially connected world, consumers may note the difference and lodge a complaint. In the end, the disclaimer isn’t always enough. The best practice is to add the addendum information to your Website alongside the Monroney window sticker pricing and check to make sure they match. 
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In most state motor vehicle advertising codes, I have noted this language, “… the dealership addendum form shall not be deceptively similar in appearance to the manufacturer’s label….” Again, I am not an attorney and you should consult with your legal counsel for clarity around these matters, but it seems like a good idea to use an addendum label with your logo on it to avoid inadvertently mimicking the Monroney window stickers.

One final tip for best practices around addendum labels has to do with the prevalent use of handwritten addendum labels. There is a better way to both ensure accuracy and professional branding. Handwriting addendum labels is a laborious practice. Unless you hire your third grade teacher, handwritten addendums characteristically look unprofessional and they wind up giving your customers the impression that the information is arbitrary and negotiable. Also, handwritten labels tend to fade quickly, which only makes things worse. Type them, print them off your computer, hire a service or get a software program — but avoid handwriting your addendum labels. Marketing and branding is essential these days; present your very best with a clean, accurate and professional addendum. 

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