Dealership Text Messages: Will They Lead To A Lawsuit?

Dealership Text Messages: Will They Lead To A Lawsuit?



According to long-time BDC Manager Mark Winters, dealerships need to be careful. “In order for dealers to protect themselves, the best thing you can do is to err on the side of caution,” Winters explained. Dealers need to Err on the Side of Caution. Caution for what issue, in this case, Text Messaging. “We used our CRM system for our sales side and for the service side we used a chat vendor who offered texting,” Winters said.

Why do dealerships bother to invest so much into precise text messaging? According to Winters, unregulated texting is risky business. Winters said that, “if you’re not protecting yourself as a dealership, you’re going to be opened up to fines or even litigation.” The litigation that Mark talked about isn’t hypothetical. Numerous Media outlets reported on August 13th that a Federal judge has ruled to allow appeal in a case involving a consumer suing a business due to unsolicited text messages. The Consumer is seeking class-action status. The case was previously thrown out. Winters feels that a dealership that has control of its texting is safer long-term.

“Establishing a process inside the dealership that allows you to have an opt-in and an opt-out message. Something that’s recorded that you have on file, so that if there’s ever any question, you’re going to be able to pull that up at will,” Winters added.

Winters added that car dealers might not be aware what their sales and service people are saying to customers via their person cell phones, something that could cause problems down the road.


Jack Behar says:    
August 19, 2014 at 9:41 am    

 I agree. First and foremost don’t allow the sales rep to use their personal phones for texting prospects at your dealership. The prospect may verbally tell the sales person to text them, but without a opt in/opt out program, it opens Pandora’s box.

What dealers should use is a SMS platform that they have control of. Either using a SMS app that captures and stores all texts and requests permission to send texts to a specific number (Group texting is not allowed), and a opt out feature so the prospect can opt out if he decides he doesn’t want to receive any more texts.

The dealer can also provide each rep a dedicated mobile phone that captures and records all calls and texts which are then archived and can be accessed from a reporting site or through their CRM. This will prevent texting abuse and the dealer can manage each phone’s usage and operate within the guidelines of the law for states they do business in.

No matter the approach, dealers should always check with their attorney to be sure they are in compliance.

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