It's Still Up To You
So I’m going to bring back a topic that I discussed a couple of times already, which is compliance as it relates to fraud. Maybe because I was just in a webinar about it with AFIP; or perhaps because I recently read a few articles. Either way – it is a topic on my mind, and I think it merits another look with everything still going on. I had previously written about identity theft with digital retailing and then about a potential rise in fraud. These were always caused for concern, but with the coronavirus halting many in-person transactions, it gave scammers another avenue to work over dealers if they’re not vigilant or were new to online transactions.
Unfortunately, these are problems that aren’t going away any time soon, and Finance Managers are key players in this process. Finance Managers are the last line of defense. When I was in Finance, I was taught that one of the most important aspects of my job description is protecting the store. One of the topics we discussed today during the AFIP webinar is fraudulent deals and what to do if you come across one.
If I were ever handed a deal that seemed sketchy or made me uncomfortable in some way, I would do everything I could possibly do to verify the details of the customer and discuss, with not only the salesperson but with my GSM as well. We would then work together to either verify the deal or nix if necessary. If the deal seems shady, it probably is, and the last thing I ever wanted was my name signing off on that deal since I’m the one responsible. In my opinion, one deal is not worth the potential backlash and headaches. I’m good. I’ll pass.
Is there a bulletproof way to completely avoid fraud and scams and all that? Maybe there are dealers out there who have the process down pat and are 100% compliant and fraud-free, but in my opinion, we aren’t perfect. The key is to be consistent. Have a process, be vigilant, and ask those out-of-wallet questions. Verify all information. If they’re not coming in, do a FaceTime call or Zoom meeting so you can see your customer. Use your eyes and your instincts. Protect yourself the best way you can.
So nobody is perfect. One or two is bound to get by you throughout your career. Most of the time, it can be recognized pretty quickly, and the recourse doesn’t hurt as much. However, the pandemic resulted in DMV offices closing all over the country, and those that could not do tags/titles electronically face massive backlogs. It’s already going to be painful to get through everything that had piled up during the shutdown, but sadly that isn’t the only issue.
“Without the ability to process vehicle registration and titling data under lockdown, state governments couldn't perfect vehicle liens — legally verify that the lender owns a vehicle and has the ability to repossess it if a consumer doesn't pay back their loan. For lenders that purchased vehicle installment contracts in those states, not knowing the reason behind a delay in processing a customer's documentation could expose them to fraud.” – Automotive News
Yup. Fun problems to have, right? And then what happens to that deal? The dealership has to buy back that contract. It’s a lot of responsibility to lay on the Finance Managers – protect the store, protect the deal, verify information, avoid fraud, be compliant, submit apps, structure deals, sell back end products, protect the customer, the list goes on. But that’s the job. The Finance Manager has to be the jack of all trades and the master of multitasking. The sales team and sales management are the arms and legs to help in the process, but the finance person is the body that has to hold it all together.
So don’t skip that step. Be on top of your game. Follow the process. Be diligent. And of course, make that money.