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Dealership Sells $27,000 Car to 86-Year-Old Man Who Came For Oil Change | DrivingSales News

Dealership Sells $27,000 Car to 86-Year-Old Man Who Came For Oil Change

July 15, 2014 0 Comments


Sometimes a dealer handles a tough situation just right. In this case, so right that it has made the rounds in national news, and yet, it was just a matter of them doing what needed to be done. They cancelled a vehicle sale.

This story begins with an older man, Frank Merlino. He’s an 86-year-old Florida resident who suffered a stroke during the first week of June. The following week ,on June 16th, Merlino took his vehicle to a dealership for an oil change. In the automotive industry, fixed ops are often viewed as a potentially large and untapped revenue source. In this case, that revenue was found, Frank drove off in a new car.

He drove into the dealership driving a 2011 Honda Fit and left driving a Honda of the 2015 model year. The details of the sale, specifically how Merlino managed to buy the vehicle, haven’t been readily available, however, his family was concerned that their family member, who is believed to have been showing signs of dementia, was able to sign by the dotted line for a new car and maintenance contract.

In all Frank signed on at $459 per month on a seven-year vehicle loan. The asking price was $27,000. What ensued is to be expected: Outrage. Merlino’s family was very unhappy and spoke to the local TV station about it. What could the dealership say to defend against such an allegation? We don’t want to get sued.

The dealership that sold the new car to Merlino didn’t want to face any legal troubles over not selling Frank the car because of his age. This is technically correct, give or take the details of the sales process, however, the next step is where this dealership shined.

Upon prodding from the Merlino family as well as local news coverage, the dealership cancelled the sale to their longtime client, Frank Merlino.

In one swift motion this dealership made a decision to not become the next public relations failure in the retail automotive industry.  Case to that point is the dealership that we reported on last week that ran into confusion over the difference between a $66,000 and $25,000 golf tournament prize. Their response was to dig in their heels, and according to social media they’ve lost a lot of sales over it. Certainly, they could learn a lesson from this Florida dealer.  One easy takeaway is that public perception is good for your community standing and bottom line.

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.

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