Dealerships Fake/Alter Customer Satisfaction Surveys To Get Marketing Money From Toyota

We recently posted about a couple who went into a Toyota dealership, got a little ticked off, and were refused a car. Not because she had poor credit or was acting a fool in the store, but because she and her husband were “in a bad mood.”

The customer’s husband suspected that the salesman refused to sell his wife a car because he was afraid of receiving a poor customer service survey from them. It turns out that he may be on to something, if what our tipster says is true. He claims that his roommate used to be a CSR for a Toyota dealership and it was the roommate’s job to make sure the customer either did not fill our the survey or filled our paper surveys so the answers could be changed or poor reviews thrown out.

The tipster writes:

Toyota pays each dealership an extra amount of money for marketing based on the customer satisfaction surveys that are given to each customer after they purchase a vehicle. If they do not score a 90% or better they do not get the extra money each month, (part the extra money is then distributed to the employees so there was significant incentive to get positive surveys) anything less then a 5 on a 1 to 5 scale will reduce your customer satisfaction score. My roommates job was to get those surveys back to the dealership (while they are still not filled out) by offering free tanks of gas, carwash etc, and to not let the customer fill out the survey online. My roommate would then fill the survey in for the customer online (using as many different computers as possible, in case Toyota was looking for a repeat IP address) or fill in the paper survey and return it to Toyota. If the survey was already filled out they would either change the answers or throw the survey away so that Toyota never received it. It was a constant battle each month to try and change enough surveys to counter balance the surveys that people submitted without returning them to the dealership. If you want to get the free incentive and still get your opinion heard, fill out the survey online and then take the paper copy to the dealership for the free tank of gas. I do not know if all the Toyota dealerships work this way but the way the system is set up I imagine that many do it this way.

Obviously, Toyota’s incentive program needs a bit of work.—MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Leonid Mamchenkov)