What Am I Agreeing To?

What are you agreeing to? It’s a common question from customers when the time comes to finalize the paperwork, and you do your best to explain it all. The problem with contracts and agreements is many times we think we know what they say, but in reality, the wording and meaning can be altered and confused. Which begs the question, do I really know what I am agreeing to? This question is especially important for any contracts that you as a dealer sign. Whether the agreement is with a lender, an advertising partner, or a vendor, it is important to take the time to fully understand the terms. For example, a dealer in California recently sold an expensive vehicle to a buyer that needed financing. Upon bank approval the vehicle was delivered and the paperwork sent in. A few months later the lender still had not received a payment, and upon investigation, it was discovered that identity theft and fraud were involved. The customer is nowhere to be found and the bank wants their money. The dealer was contacted and informed that according to their agreement, in the case of fraud, the dealer is liable to the bank for the balance of the loan. Thank goodness for insurance right? Maybe not, as some policies do not cover identity theft cases. Had the dealer known that they were responsible in a case like this they may have taken a few additional steps to ensure they were protected. This is also true of advertising partners. Auto Ad Manager has had multiple dealers relate horror stories of problems with former advertising partners, especially in relation to their domain name registration. Typically, a dealer should always register their own domain name. However, a friendly offer from an ad partner to do that for them is gladly accepted by some. When it’s time to try another solution though, the claws come out and ad partners have been known to hold domain names hostage. The dealership has the domain name plastered on license plate frames, business cards, and ads. Now they have to change internet addresses and this can be a slow and expensive process. Sadly, if the ad partner has a clause in the agreement that states they own your domain name if they register it on your behalf, their isn’t much legal recourse. Perhaps migrating the domain name to a third party before you cancel your agreement is the best option. Auto Ad Manager has always held that the dealer is the owner of the domain name whether we register it for them or not, and is quick to transfer to a third party or new provider whenever needed. The moral of the stories: Always know what you are agreeing to.