Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Unhappy Car Buyer Gets 110,000 Views on YouTube

I was browsing through the website of a prominent dealer-chasing law firm this morning (I know, I have weird hobbies), and came across a posting about a dealer with a link to a YouTube video. This dealership is part of a good-sized group that is very well-regarded in the area. As I am personally acquainted with this dealer group, I can attest to their integrity and dedication to customer satisfaction. So, when I clicked on the YouTube link, I expected to see another unconvincing customer with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. Well, I wasn’t disappointed – the customer bought a cheap older car and expected it to run like a brand-new Mercedes.

Not surprisingly, the video attempted to make the dealership look terrible and completely at fault. But here’s the thing - this video wasn’t an amateurish clip of a customer ranting and raving, it was obviously professionally done. So well done in fact that I suspect most consumers viewing the video would find it believable.

Then I noticed the view count on the video. Just short of 110,000 views so far, most of which are from the last month or so. Needless to say, I was astounded! One car deal, one customer, one dealership, over 100 thousand views? No way, this has to be a mistake.

Sadly, it’s no mistake. Here’s how it happened:

The video was produced by a consumer group who naturally had an agenda of their own. While the customer’s initial complaint was that the car had problems and he wanted his money back, a good portion of the video dealt with how the customer was saddled with an unfair arbitration agreement by the dealer. Now, according to the clip, the poor customer can’t get his day in court, has had to wait years for his arbitration hearing, has little or no chance of winning in arbitration because it’s skewed towards the dealer, and all kinds of other nonsense.

The arbitration issue is what caused this video to go viral. Consumer groups and plaintiff’s attorneys have been lobbying against arbitration agreements for years. This is just another sneaky way to promote their agenda. There are now links to this video on consumer sites, legal blogs, you name it. The worst part is that the video shows up on page one when you Google the dealership or search on YouTube. It’s just a darn shame.