Knowing what to look for when you’re trying to buy a new or used Jeep is important, but it’s just as important to know what you should watch for and avoid. These red flags are immediate indicators that you’re dealing with a person or company that is going to do anything to get your money, rather than actually giving you proper customer service and placing your happiness above everything else. As you look at different Jeep dealerships both online and in person, keep things warning signs in mind and if you see any of them, or more than one, keep on looking. There are plenty of bad dealerships, but finding the perfect Jeep Dealership can be easy if you know what to look for.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that no list like this can be 100% inclusive. You might see warning signs or red flags that aren’t here and get a bad feeling about a dealership. Whenever that happens, trust your instinct – you have these kinds of instincts for a reason, usually due to bad experiences when making other purchases. Listen to your proverbial gut and when you think something is too good to be true or feels wrong, then get out of there and take your business to a different dealership.
Just like any other shopping these days, you’ll probably start your new car shopping online, which means you’ll end up looking at dealership websites. Think of the website as the first impression a Jeep dealership can make on you. It’s important to keep your eyes open for red flags on the website, just like you would at a physical location.
Red Flag #1 – Poor Organization
The moment you arrive at a Jeep dealership’s website, look at how it is organized and the overall layout. It should be easy to use and functional – with clear markers for different sections of the site and menus that make it easy to navigate. You should have no problem finding the information you need and moving around on the page should be simple.
Why is this important? Well, poor organization shows the business might not know what it’s doing, at least when it comes to modern sales methods. It could also show that the dealership isn’t willing to invest in its online presence and website. These are both fundamental problems with the company that is indicated by poor website design.
Red Flag #2 – Lack of Inventory
One of the first things you should look for on a Jeep dealership’s website is the inventory that the business has for you to check out. If you see a very poor inventory, then this is definitely a red flag of a dealership you might want to avoid. Now, that doesn’t mean that greater inventory is always better – but a lack of inventory could mean the dealership is struggling, or perhaps they don’t prioritize their customer’s needs. Either way, you should see a small or poor inventory as a warning sign the dealership is not great – plus a small inventory means you have fewer vehicles to choose from.
Red Flag #3 – Lack of Pictures
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the inventory, but as you are looking at the Jeeps on offer, there should be pictures of the vehicles for you to see. You don’t need to have a full vehicle tour available for each model, but there should be an image you can see to show you that the vehicle actually exists before you ever go to the lot. A lack of pictures is a big warning sign that perhaps they are trying to get you to the lot with false information or, again, that they have poor organization. Keep in mind, they might not have pictures for every used vehicle, as this inventory tends to fluctuate pretty frequently, but you should see some.
Red Flag #4 – No Contact Information
This might not be the first thing you think of when looking at a Jeep dealership website, but it’s important. You’ll probably see one phone number displayed prominently, which is good, but you should be able to find other contact information pretty easily. This includes hours for the dealership, and each part of it, along with phone numbers for each part of the business. If you can’t find phone numbers to reach them easily now, then how hard will it be to get in touch with someone after you make a purchase?
Red Flag #5 – No Names
Finally, check for an “About Us” section or similar part of the Jeep dealership’s website. You should be able to find at least one person’s name – usually the owner – and perhaps names for managers at the lot too. This shows that people at the dealership want to build trust with you before you even arrive. A lack of any names at all is a big warning sign that they lack pride in their dealership and the people who work there.
Once you go to a Jeep dealership, then there are some additional red flags to keep in mind and watch out for. While one of these might be something you could ignore, any combination of these is a big warning. And if you see all of these together, just get out of there right away.
Red Flag #6 – Dark and Dirty
Think about the first impression the physical dealership makes on you when you first show up – it should be well-lit, clean, and inviting. A Jeep dealership is just like any other company and should be operated in a way that makes you want to actually give the dealer your business. If the dealer is dark in the evening or at night, while still open for business, and/or dirty, then this shows you there are problems with leadership and functionality at the lot. The dealership should be clean and well-lit so you actually want to go there and look at vehicles – if you feel uncomfortable, then turn around and go somewhere else.
Red Flag #7 – Miserable Employees
As you first arrive at a Jeep dealership, pay attention to the general sense of happiness and attitudes you can see on the faces of employees. In general, you want to see that the people working there look like they are at least somewhat glad to be there. Unhappy employees are usually unhappy for a reason.
Now, everyone has a bad day, and we all know what it’s like to just not want to go to work sometimes, but in general, you want to see that there’s a generally positive attitude. If every employee at a lot looks absolutely miserable, then that usually means something is wrong higher up. That’s a big warning and means you should get out of there and take your business elsewhere.
Red Flag #8 – Deals Seem Too Good to Be True
This is something to keep in mind both online and at a Jeep dealership, but always watch out for any deal that seems impossibly good. Excessively low prices advertised can be a way to get people onto a lot and sell them on something much more expensive. These kinds of “bait and switch” tactics are a sure-fire sign that you’re dealing with a bad business.
A Jeep dealership should always treat you with respect and honesty, and that means being upfront about what things cost. While you can certainly find good deals and sales, especially at certain times of the year, you know when something is just way too good of a sale. Watch out for these kinds of things, and make sure you choose a dealership that deals with you honestly.