Some Tips From A Private Seller’s Video On YouTube

I hadn’t checked out my Tumblr account in a while so I decided to log on and look around.  I found this advertisement posted to YouTube in 2010 that I reblogged.  At the time, I was struck that this private seller (a term we use in the auto business to describe individuals who sell their vehicles to other individuals and do not go through dealerships) came up with an effective advertisement for his BMW.  I think the video and the lessons car dealers can learn from it have held up well over the years.  Here are my takeaways:

  • Full Disclosure:  The seller clearly communicates what shortcomings the car has, any mechanical defects and anything else that a potential buyer may find material.  When sellers provide more information, buyers are likely to feel more confident in selecting one vehicle over another.  Are you effectively disclosing the good and the bad (if any problems exist) with your inventory? 
  • Creativity:  The seller certainly thought outside the “fifth concentric box” to make this ad stand out.  Everything from narration, shots of the vehicle, clever ways to highlight features/issues (see: signs) and music make this video very memorable.  What are you doing to try to cut through the clutter?
  • Contact Information:  The seller provides his contact information in the video itself and the listing.  Potential buyers would have no difficulties understanding how and where to contact the seller.  Do your ads clearly notify how buyers may contact you?

Keep Out Of Legal Trouble At Your Holiday Party

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It’s that time of the year again when many companies celebrate the upcoming holiday season by holding parties for their employees.  While these events are intended as an opportunity for your staff to relax and enjoy themselves, they can be a hotbed of potential liability for you and your business.  Even if you hold your event off-site, the law may hold you and your staff to the same level of conduct required in your actual workplace.

There are many potential legal issues that may arise out of activities occurring at holiday parties.  Here are several best practices that can help you avoid liability:

Keep company behavioral policies in effect:  While you want your employees to enjoy themselves, remind them to keep their conversations and conduct appropriate.  If your employee handbook addresses certain conduct as inappropriate, that conduct should not occur at your holiday party.  Harassment and safety considerations should remain intact, and you should ask your managers to monitor your employees’ behavior at your party and quickly address inappropriate conduct.  You may wish to distribute a written statement to your employees reminding them to adhere to company policies while at the party and encourage them to report their colleagues’ offensive behavior to the appropriate supervisors should such conduct violate the policies stated in your employee handbook.

What happens at the holiday party may not stay at the holiday party:  You should be mindful that you employees will likely bring their smartphones or digital cameras to your holiday party.  With a few clicks and within moments, something that occurs at your party may be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or other social media websites and made available for the rest of the world to see.  Images, videos or other recordings from your party may portray your staff and business in a negative light, alienate potential customers, or show conduct that violates state or federal law, depending on what your employees upload.  Keep in mind that whatever you say or do, or whatever your employees may say or do, may end up online.  If you do not have a written social media policy, you should develop one now.  If you already have a written social media policy, or your employee handbook addresses social media use by employees, you will want to remind them that their conduct on social media will be governed by the same polices in effect at their workplace.

Watch the alcohol consumption:  For a host of reasons you should consider not serving alcohol at your party.  Depending on the laws of your particular state, you may find yourself liable for actions of employees who became intoxicated at your holiday party and subsequently injured themselves or others.  If you decide that you will make alcoholic beverages available to your employees, consider limiting the amount of drinks they may consume.  You can use a ticket or voucher system to effectively curtail alcohol consumption, avoid open bars altogether, and have an early “last call.”  Also encourage employees to utilize designated drivers or make taxi or shuttle service available at no charge so your employees can get home safely.

Image Courtesy of Telegraph UK

The FTC Sticker ≠ Your Written Warranty

 

Federal law requires dealers to provide a written warranty to customers whenever a warranty is offered on a vehicle.  Most dealers believe that giving the consumer a signed copy of the FTC sticker fulfills this obligation.  Unfortunately, the FTC sticker alone is not enough.  To be fully compliant, a dealer should provide a separate document fully disclosing any applicable warranties that may come with the vehicle purchased.

The Warranty Disclosure Rule requires dealers to disclose the warranty coverage offered on the vehicle as well as the consumer’s rights in a separate, single document that is clearly worded.  This is in addition to the disclosures made on the FTC sticker.  The language for this requirement is clearly stated on the FTC sticker itself:

“Ask the dealer for a copy of the warranty document for a full explanation of warranty coverage, exclusions, and the dealer’s repair obligations.”

Your warranty disclosure document should contain the following:

  • Name and address of buyer.
  • Information on vehicle purchased (VIN, make, model).
  • Duration of limited warranty, both miles and time.
  • Limited warranty terms.
  • Components covered.
  • Excluded items.
  • Procedures to obtain warranty services.
  • Area for consumer to acknowledge receipt of document (signature and date).

You must be careful when drafting a warranty disclosure document.  Not only must you contend with requirements mandated by federal law, but many states also have their own supplemental requirements that may exceed what the federal law demands.  For advice on what your warranty disclosure document should say, contact your attorney or whoever assists your dealership with legal compliance.  Also, you can find an example of a model warranty disclosure document in the excellent legal resource book for dealers, Auto Dealer Law.