Lockdown Deliveries Now Allowed – But Car Dealers Will Face Challenges
24th April 2020
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed that car dealers ‘are all able to continue to sell cars remotely and deliver cars, as long as they follow clear guidance from Public Health England to protect both employees who cannot work from home and their customers’, in a statement issued to Car Dealer Magazine.
This confirmation will no doubt be welcome news for many dealers up and down the country. Although plenty of car dealers have been continuing to sell vehicles via their websites, they have been postponing deliveries until the current lockdown is lifted – driven by the absence of definitive rules for car dealers, having judged it to be non-essential work and travel according to the original government guidelines.
Now that some clarity has been given, more dealers will feel comfortable that deliveries are permitted under the government restrictions. If deciding to offer a “contactless” delivery whilst the lockdown is in place, there are a few challenges they must face, not only with the logistics of the delivery itself, but also that this type of sale could be considered a distance selling scheme.
Contactless Delivery Considerations
The vehicle will need to be prepared for delivery, which may mean workshop staff working on it, as well as it being cleaned, so it may be handled by several people in the business before the delivery driver picks it up. Dealers must take steps to ensure anyone who comes into contact with the vehicle is given appropriate protective equipment and that they follow the handwashing advice regularly.
Creating a checklist of items on the car with full cleaning instructions, including what materials they must use to ensure the exterior and interior of vehicle is thoroughly sanitised, is a good idea, as well as other considerations, such as putting disposable protective covers on the seats prior to the delivery to the customer.
Dealers should agree with the customer exactly how the delivery will take place in advance, particularly regarding where the car should be left if the property does not have a driveway or parking, and how to handover the keys in the safest way possible.
As part of preparing the vehicle before it is given its final sanitising clean prior to delivery, consider making a personalised video explaining all of the controls of the car and anything else you would normally go through with the customer at handover. You can send this to your customer on the day of delivery.
Having the customer’s vehicle driven to their home with a second driver following and bringing the first driver back would not be an option due to social distancing rules, so the delivery itself will likely need to be via transporter, flatbed or appropriate vehicle and trailer. The driver should also carry relevant paperwork in case of an enquiry by the police, who are routinely stopping vehicles in an effort to enforce social distancing.
Drivers should keep a supply of cleaning and sanitising equipment for a final cleanse of any vehicle areas the driver has had contact with in moving the car off the transport. Additionally, customer signatures can be substituted for photographic evidence of the handover taking place, however digital signatures could still be carried out if preferred.
If collecting a part exchange, dealers will be relying on the customer to have cleaned the car thoroughly and adequately before collection, which carries risk. Dealers should send the driver armed with appropriate personal protection equipment and cleaning materials to thoroughly sanitise the vehicle before moving it onto the transportation vehicle.
Under the scheme rules, consumers have cancellation rights that some dealers thinking about offering online sales and delivery may not be aware of, notably that you must tell the customer they can cancel their order up to 14 days after their order is delivered, and they don’t need to give a reason for cancelling.
If you don’t tell the customer about their right to cancel, they can cancel at any time in the next 12 months. If you tell them about the right to cancel during these 12 months, they have 14 days to cancel from when you told them. Dealers should look at adding appropriate wording to invoices, order forms and their online terms and conditions to cover this. If you don’t have your own legal advisors to help with this, Motor Trade legal solutions providers Lawgistics have published their suggested wording here.
For users of our dealer management system, DragonDMS, we can edit the disclaimers on car sales invoices and order forms if you wish to make any amendments, just contact our Support Team as normal.
Moving Your Sales Process Online
Car dealer websites have now become a virtual showroom, and with the current situation, more people are spending time online than ever before.
Offering part-exchange valuations, vehicle reservations, optional extras and the ability to apply for finance are all online features that your website should be utilising, especially now. Dragon2000’s latest integration with Codeweavers enables customers to complete the car buying process online, with dealers simply needing to make the delivery arrangements after payment has been made.
Our Mobile Apps that integrate with our dealer management system, DragonDMS, can also help dealers with some of the contactless delivery processes. The APPraise mobile app can be used to create personalised sales handover videos to send to your customers, while the Workshop App has the Vehicle Health Check tool which can be used to create a customised cleaning checklist for your valeting staff to follow, which can also be sent to your customers for their peace of mind.
Car dealers deciding to offer end-to-end online sales with delivery before the lockdown restrictions are lifted should take time to prepare a comprehensive contactless delivery plan and ensure that, before the first delivery is arranged, all of the necessary processes and procedures are in place to safeguard the health and safety of their staff and customers.
For further details on our DragonDMS dealer management system, car dealer websites or mobile apps, please contact our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01327 222 333.