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So, today one of my sales reps had his day ruined with this email:
Good morning, Ted,
So glad you are back on the grid.
I have a concern and that is that when I spoke with USAA, they told me about a service they offer which is to look for the best price for a car. I used it and was given a price of $27,025 for the car we are purchasing, although without the leather seats. We are blaming ourselves for not shopping around, but we are hopeful that you can give us some leeway on the price you quoted.
I have attached an image of what USAA came up with.
We had sold this customer an in-transit unit that has just arrived and were getting in touch after a power outage (hence the "back on the grid" comment) to schedule a delivery. They, in turn, called their insurance company to switch insurance. This insurance agent apparently thought this was an opportune time to refer the customer to the USAA Zag affiliated car-buying program.
The result? We now have an unhappy customer who no longer trusts us and are destined to either lose a car deal on a car we've installed something like $2000 in options on or have a horrible survey from our manufacturer. Thanks USAA!!!
Furthermore, this is the third time this has happened in something like the last 60 days.
This customer already has a non-refundable deposit at my store. Of course, we don't try to keep deposits of unhappy customers (we want to sell a car and build a relationship, not keep $1000-$4000). I'm just trying quickly dispel the notion that the USAA agent is looking out for the customer's best interest. They're providing a MISERABLE customer experience for that customer and could be costing them even more money in the long run.
Before you think that maybe I'm upset because we're not signed up, note that we are a Zag dealer, and our pricing is pretty low. It is not bottomed-out net-net like some of our closest competitors. I don't even have an issue with the concept of Zag. I like the notion of affiliate-recommended buying and find that being the second-cheapest dealer is the best position. I do have an issue with the data they're taking from us and will be using in their TrueCar acquisition of ALG. But I'm digressing from my true complaint.
I want to focus on USAA. This is total BS. The Zag agreement has all sorts of restrictions on USAA purchases- you can't even try to sell the customer a cheaper financing rate than USAA (here's the verbage from the contract:)
- Dealer shall accept USAA financing through USAA's loan check, official check or eFunding processes.
- Dealer will not offer or sell other financing to USAA Program customers.
- Options such as GAP coverage, extended warranty, VIN etching, or other similar products may be offered if the customer specifically requests them.
In turn, though, USAA can gladly take away my customers and send them to other dealers and ensure that they will not be satisfied with their experience at my store. How is this fair? Why wouldn't we have a nice, symbiotic, mutually-beneficial experience for our customers?
Obviously, I'll be recommending we take our business away from Zag as I'm sure they support these practices (my General Sales Manager is currently trying to reach a Mr. Mayer who we are told is the Director over our various account managers - his # is 1-800-200-2000 ext. 8268) and that will solve our issue of whether or not we're not allowed to try to take business from USAA.
Have other dealers run into this? How are you handling this? Anyone have any idea on how to stop this? (I hope to start some buzz here.)