Most people that purchase a brand-new car from the dealer lot have heard about the forthcoming customer satisfaction survey that will be mailed to their home. While some dealers will ask you to fairly assess their performance, others will try to manipulate scores with overt suggestions and even begging. A recent study by automotive research firm TrueDelta of 1,700 survey takers showed that nearly half of all dealerships tried to manipulate satisfaction scores, and one in four were asked to provide perfect scores by dealer employees. In the end, all the cajoling worked, as one in eight admitted to inflating their scores at the behest of the dealership. The study also pinpointed which OEM dealers were the worst offenders, and BMW, Hyundai, and Nissan comprised the axis of manipulation.
As the scribes at Automotive News point out, satisfaction scores are big business, and everything from ad support to additional franchise opportunities are rewards for dealerships that score above average in customer satisfaction. Poor scores can result in the cold shoulder from the OEM to the Grim Reaper taking away the right to sell cars. Even when we actually buy a five-figure vehicle off the lot, most dealerships keep the pressure on with additional insurance or warranty coverage, inflated interest rates, and even the satisfaction survey we take months later. It's a wonder buying cars on the Internet isn't more popular.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]