16 Jun Simple Fixes for Common F&I Problems
The F&I office has always had a weird Jekyll and Hyde reputation within the dealership.
For decades it was the source of some of the worst stereotypes in the industry…fast-talking types who engaged in the most unethical nonsense to pump up the PRU. Generations of car buyers often say they would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than sit in the F&I office,
On the flip side, with skilled staff, a dealer could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars every month added to the bottom line.
It’s important to keep an eye out for some common problems within the F&I department, though. Hopefully, your dealership doesn’t have these issues but if they do, there are some easy fixes that can keep your store compliant and your staff working at a high level.
Short Cutting on Docs/Stips
Watching the quality of the deal jackets is critical to staying within compliance. If you audit deals (and if you don’t, you should) and see missing fields on the credit app or no copy of stips for income verification, address it immediately. An F&I manager that short cuts the paperwork is likely hiding more than you think.
Checklists for docs and daily/weekly audits can uncover unethical practices and potential fraud in the F&I office. Dealerships have been fined and even shut down in years past due to everything from falsified stips to disappearing down payment checks.
Taking the time to check every deal will always be worth it.
Payment Stuffing Is Still A Thing
One of the worst and most reviled F&I practices is payment stuffing. Yes, it still happens, even today. If the buyer is looking for a specific payment, the F&I manager will load up as much product as they can to match the payment and try to make it seem like those products are required for approval.
The sad thing is that some buyers aren’t aware that the practice is against many regulatory requirements and that it’s costing them more in the long run.
An easy fix is to not only conduct regular deal audits but to also update and enforce your store’s compliance policies. Scare the you-know-what out of your F&I managers by making it clear that unethical practices will not be tolerated.
Come check out the TruCompliance program we offer to help keep everyone current on Federal regulations. No excuses for a ‘Mr. Hyde’ at your store.