• Sep 10, 2007
General Motors is throwing out the results of some recent customer satisfaction surveys because it says some of its dealers cheated. GM won't say how many surveys were tampered with or how many dealers are accused of doing it, but they are taking it seriously. A GM spokeswoman told Automotive News (sub. req'd.) the tampering was not widespread.
GM sends the surveys to customers' homes to reduce the chance of tampering, but some dealers have been known to offer customers incentives if they are allowed to fill out the surveys themselves. Customers can find it hard to pass up a free tank of gas in exchange for a 27-question survey they may not care about.

While customers should be upset that their dealer opinions might not be recognized by the company, but dealers accused of this have a lot more to lose. Automotive News says dealers are awarded bonuses according to their customer satisfaction scores and can make as much as $420,000 each quarter depending on the dealership's sales volume. With that kind of money, some GM outlets may find it hard to resist cheating.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 37 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I brought this up in another story similar to this one a few weeks ago. I knew of a dealer in our region that did bribe customers to bring in their surveys and have the dealership personnel fill them out. That was totally against the manufacturer's rules but they never got caught. We NEVER EVER bribed anyone when it came to filling out surveys. But we did have a copy of the survey when vehicles were delivered so that the customer would know to be looking for them. We would always ask them if they were 100% satisfied before they left but you would still get back surveys indicating that they had a problem. I didn't have a problem getting back a survey if the customer truly had a legitimate concern and answered honestly but sometimes you had to wonder what they were thinking when they answered the questions. "Was the vehicle ready for delivery when you arrived?" It would be sitting right out front, cleaned up and ready to just drive off and they would still answer "No". You just had to wonder what else you had to do.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or when they give you a bad mark for knowledge of other manufacturs vehicles, when you were never asked a question.
      • 7 Years Ago
      as someone in the industry, bmw, now mercedes, i actually worry about how this survey is represented to the customer. I've wondered if being candid and offering a comprehensive explanation as to the ratings and it's effects would weigh positively in the client's mind and perception of the experience and dealer as a whole. I'm aware you can't "Please everyone all the time" and their chance to fire back is to take it out on the survey. I do however feel that it is possible to get the survey as i've seen the perfect 100 at our dealership from a client advisor who was always upfront. The guys who aren't as forthcoming? They get burned when they spin or assume the client doesn't know. I've seen that happen as well.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM SURVEYS ARE SENT OUT 4-6 WEEKS AFTER DELIVERY........LEXUS SURVEYS ARE DONE AT DELIVERY..ENSURING A 100% SATISFATION. AT THE LEXUS STORE HERE THEY WILL NOT MAKE A DEAL UNLESS IT IS FILLED OUT PERECTLY! THAT'S HOW TOYOTA HAS THE WOOL PULLED OVER EVERYONES EYES. AND GM WILL SEND OUT A RE-CALL NOTICE TO BRING YOUR CAR BACK SO THEY CAN REPLACE AT NO CHARGE, ITEMS THEY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. LEXUS SENDS OUT A FREE OIL CHANGE AND CUSTOMER APPRETIATION INVITE TO THE DEALER....AT THAT TIME THEY FIX THE RECALL THAT ONLY SERVICE KNEW ABOUT. I HAVE WORKED FOR BOTH BRANDS. TOYOTA OWNS THE PUBLIC AND THAT DON'T EVEN KNOW IT.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hmm... how do you explain the survey my parents got.... several weeks later AFTER buying a car?

        Or the regular recall/service bulletins?

        I must obviously be lying even though I have the letters sitting on my kitchen table.
      • 7 Years Ago
      After the last time I visited my Chevy dealer for service on my Colorado, I was offered a full interior and exterior detail if I turned the survey in with all 5s before the end of the quarter/month (March) in addition to a gas card offered by GM. I wasn't happy with my service and let the caller know. Funny, I never received a survey...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bergstrom Automotive is pretty much the largest dealership in Wisconsin (in the north 2/3 of it, anyway), carrying GM, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche... the whole gamut.

      They send every customer out of their dealership at the end of a sale (or even a service), telling them that "if you can't give us anything other than a 'Perfect', come see our manager so we can find out what we can do to change your opinion of us."

      I can see a free tank of gas here, and a free oil change there happening.

      I've purchased 2 vehicles new from them over the past year and a half... and my most recent purcahse, about six monthes ago, caused me to go up the chain of command all the way up to the VP of the company, in the process garnering me three free oil changes, a free detail job, and the notion of them "owing me".

      At the end of the day, when I received my Pontiac survey from said horrible purchase, and after they had given me the free crap to "change my mind", I gave them I think a 2 out of 5 average.

      Idiots.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So why involve dealers in the survey process at all? For that kind of money, send out teams of students and have them scour car parks looking for vehicles of the right brand. Give them handheld PDAs so they can use the VIN number or license plate to determine if the model and year fit the required profile. If so, let them leave a flyer under the wipers inviting the owner to call the manufacturer's 1-800 number to participate in a customer satisfaction survey regarding their sales and service experience at their dealership. If they respond, are verified as the owner of a qualifying vehicle and answer all the questions, they are sent a free gift worth ~$20 for their trouble.

      That way, the fox isn't guarding the henhouse.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Saurabh: "Vee haf VAYS of making you give us good marks!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Every brand's dealers pulls this crap! They won't let you fill out a bad survey when your in the dealer, I know that for a fact. You have to talk to the manager and give the dealer the highest marks on the survey. Good for GM. Other brands should do the same.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When I bought my Mitsubishi, my dealer essentially attempted to bribe me by offering me a free oil change in exchange for a blank survey form. I reported them to JD Power, and JD Power retaliated by sending my email with name and email intact directly to the dealership instead of the manufacturer. This resulted in my dealer threatening me over the phone. JD Power is also a shady org in my opinion since clearly their attitude was "don't get caught" rather than doing the right thing and showing that there was potential for abuse in their process. Bastards. Please feel free to forward this comment to anyone you know at JD Power.
      • 7 Years Ago
      this is far from a GM-only problem....buuuut, if someone like Bob Lutz is reading this, I have two words for you:

      LUND CADILLAC (Phoenix, Arizona.)

      they are absolutely notorious for doing this. the dealer knows exactly when the GM survey will arrive, and just days before, they send a tin of Dutch butter cookies, and a sample copy of the survey with "VERY SATISFIED" checkmarks in red.

      I decided since they were obviously clairvoyant, there was no reason to send my own survey in when it arrived.

      I put the Lund survey in the envelope, red checkmarks and all, and sent it back to GM.

      if anyone here wants to nip this problem in the bud, do the same thing.

      AZMike
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nothing new here we did the same in the 80's 90's with Honda and burning registration cards,same with Mits.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, I work at a GM dealer so this is hilarious. We are at the mercy of GM's retarded rules and if we want money from them we bribe the customers to make sure that survey comes back with a perfect score. Every penny counts at any dealer I have been it especially now when dealers are losing by the thousands each month. Of Course we are going to bribe you we don't want to be laid off. Sadly this thing we are on right now will be the downfall of dealerships, they low-ball each other sending internet quotes(were the majority of the business is turning to) and hardly profit on new cars. I get so frustrated when people think we are all trying rob them blind. The average mark up between MSRP and invoice is only 6-7 percent and oh yeah no one ever pays sticker.
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