Retail Front

Tales From the Dealership F&I Front


Frustration can reign when showroom salespeople and finance and insurance managers clash at auto dealerships.

The dealership finance and insurance manager was miffed.

A fellow employee on the sales floor didn’t like the way she was going about trying to secure auto financing for a customer. So he phoned a bank himself to speed things up.

Apparently he didn’t mind stepping on a colleague’s toes or confusing a lender who wonders why different people from the same dealership are calling about the same would-be loan.

He just wanted to make the sale, no matter what. That zealousness can cause grief to an F&I person whose job description includes following a specific process, making sure everything is in order and complying with all the rules and regulations affecting a car sale.

Those regulations and disclosure requirements increase time spent in the F&I office. But typically the customer wants to spend as little time as possible. That puts F&I in the middle of two conflicting interests. Things really get bad when a salesperson butts in.

An F&I manager tells of a salesman who is less than truthful with customers during the sales process. He takes shortcuts for fear of losing the sale. The F&I office then is expected to fix flawed deals.

“My point is that the truth will always come out, so why not deal with it in the beginning rather than have me deal with it,” says the F&I manager.

When it reaches the point of the F&I office redoing or undoing deals, customer satisfaction suffers, and “customers are less open to looking at any F&I product regardless of need,” he says. “I pride myself on being ethical. It really upsets me when people feel we are dishonest.”

Ideally, the sales and F&I staff work together. But that’s easier said than done.

“Is it just me, or does there seem to be daily big-time disconnects (among) the sales people, sales management and F&I?” asks an F&I manager.

Alas, no, it’s not just him.



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What's Retail Front?

Blogs about automotive retailing, commenting on news impacting the business of selling vehicles.


Steve Finlay

Steve Finlay is the editor of WardsAuto Dealer Business magazine and a senior editor for His journalism career started 42 years ago as a crime reporter. A Michigan native, he likes...

Jim Ziegler

Jim Ziegler, president of Ziegler Supersystems, is a trainer, commentator and public speaker on dealership issues.
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