Goodwill Repairs After a Sale

A happy customer is a good customer.  However, not all customers can be happy customers.  This can be especially true of car dealers making repairs to a vehicle after a sale.  Let's take a look at “goodwill” repairs.  Those vehicles sold as-is and without a warranty, service contract, or other legal obligations to make repairs. 

Just make them sign a side note!  A side note might not always be the best approach.  Making a customer incur additional fees can be problematic….especially when the car was recently sold with any representation of the vehicle being in “good shape” or “serviced.”  You could also find yourself facing disputes for charges on a contract or buyers order when it contains a fee for “make ready” or other similar item.  Lastly, side notes can just lead to confusion in accounting and collections. Which payment comes first each month, the side note or the contract? 

So why should a dealer consider making goodwill repairs?  To keep those customers in their cars and making payments.  This is a good practice for a number of reasons.  To be able to monitor your vehicle for any repairs being made and keep that customer coming back to your dealership.  As most dealers know, if the car is in running condition then the customer is more likely to continue to make payments.

So what about those customers that are turning your goodwill into a service nightmare?  At some point as-is needs to be as-is.  Watch those representations! Be careful about what you say about the condition of the vehicle and your goodwill service.  Don't turn a goodwill repair into an extended warranty.  The more you discuss a vehicle's condition, the more likely that you may inadvertently reveal a known defect with a vehicle.  Such as repairs made on behalf of a prior owner, etc.

Regardless of the timing of a goodwill repair, get a signed full general release for everything done.  This could help in the event if there is a misrepresentation lawsuit brought against you at a later date.  Especially when the “free” extended warranty expires.  

Lastly, you may want to check online reviews and social media. If a customer is disparaging your dealership about the condition of a vehicle sold, you may want to request the customer delete or revise the review prior to performing any good will repairs.  In the alternative, reviews of goodwill repairs are likely one of the best practices to recruit new customers.


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