I’m no doctor but I’ve seen crazy. I’ve seen it walking around dealerships shouting obscenities, yelling at staff, slamming doors to the point of destruction and having such contempt for the customer that, well…..read on.
This is a story of a dealer who’d sold a former rental vehicle to a customer without disclosing it, which is illegal here in California. The dealership’s owner fits the description above; he flies into a rage at seemingly indiscriminate situations. His staff do everything they can to shield him from interacting with customers. It’s a dreadful situation but it’s ideal for illustrative purposes.
In this case, the customer demanded to talk to the owner. Not only had they sold him a former rental car without his knowing but the GM had told him the car had ‘one owner’ and had been driven by ‘a little old lady from Beverly Hills’. Really.
At this point, most dealers and staff would admit their error, ‘unwind’ the deal and refund the customer’s money. In this case however, Crazy stuck his heels in the sand for a several weeks because he’d made a lot of profit on the deal and didn’t want to let it go. Eventually, he gave up and gave the customer back his money. Sadly, his treatment of the customer had left this dealer open to retaliation. Shortly thereafter, the DMV came knocking at the door. The angry customer had connections with important state officials and was happy to tell them his story.
In the meantime, the former rental vehicle was placed back on the front line and soon the crackerjack sales team retailed the car again to an unsuspecting elderly couple. Guess what? They failed to disclose the ‘former rental vehicle’ status of the car again!
This fiasco culminated in the DMV assessing a fine of $100K and proposing closure of the dealership for three weeks. How does an owner allow things to get this bad?
Good business requires rational decisions. In this particular organization, the managers aren’t hired for their talent, they’re there to execute the decisions of a raving lunatic. Anyone talented doesn’t last in that environment. Those that stay are terrified to lose their jobs and are tormented daily by silly crazy behavior. Tormented people make costly mistakes.
Ultimately, the owner’s representative was able to mediate with the DMV and got the fine reduced to $15K with no closure of the store and three years probation. These events happened a few years ago before the online ratings websites were popular. Had this happened today, this dealer’s online reputation would be toast. There’s no excuse for crazy.