How Far Will You Go To Get a Sale? Hold Customer Hostage?

hostage tied up

We all work hard to get a sale. We use various tactics to drive home the deal. But would you physically prevent the customer from leaving until they’d signed up? Is that going too far?

Reports are coming in from the US (where else?!) that a dealership has done just that, with staff deliberately blocking a customer’s car in so they couldn’t leave the site.  According to US car geek website Jalopnik, a Maryland-based consumer protection attorney, Daniel Whitney Jr. has handled two cases recently where dealerships used ‘false imprisonment’ when trying to force a customer to taking their deal.

Yep, a classic ‘stealership’ move. The customer won’t accept your deal? Then just stop them leaving until they do!

Mr. Whitney’s blog (False Imprisonment Lawsuit Filed by Auto Fraud Attorneys – Whitney, LLP ( reports:  “After signing a contract for a new car, our client realized that she had been charged more than she agreed to pay. The resulting dispute lead to the car dealership manager trying to force her to sign paperwork that she did not want to sign, and was not necessary, given that the sale had been completed. She refused, and despite the the threats of the manager, went back to her car to try and leave. However, when she returned to her car, she found herself blocked in by another car that the manager had an employee park directly in front of her. It is was only after calling the police that the dealership allowed her to leave.”

Now let’s think about this story spreading on social media and the damage this case is doing to that dealership.  Never mind what may happen if the customer wins her ‘false imprisonment’ case. 

I think we can safely say this is one tactic that NTK Motors’ resident sales training expert Simon Bowkett will not be adding to his armoury.