Paying For A Test Drive?

Dumb idea of the week: charging customers for test drives.

Just when you thought you've seen it all.  *Sigh.*

If Connecticut were trying to come up with a new slogan - we might want to consider "at least we're not California."

The price of gas in CA is so high that car dealerships have started charging for test drives.  You can see the story by clicking here.

Granted, they aren't hitting potential (or not-so-potential-now) customers with a FEE.  But they are requiring that they return the vehicle with the same amount of gas that was in it before the test drive.

I'm trying to figure out how this idea could have possibly been conceived.  Here's what I'm thinking:


The holiday party starts out classy.  The employees and their significant others enjoy a nice prime-rib dinner (correction - soy steak - it IS California).

The music transitions from Michael Buble to Notorious B.I.G.  The new sales guy sneaks into the corner and slips some Bacardi 151 into the company punch.

Next thing you know, the crew has racked up a $37,000 bar bill thanks to those shots of Johnny Blue.

"How are we going to possibly pay for this?" asks the controller.

"I've GOT IT!" says one of the execs.  "Let's charge for test drives!"


I conducted a non-scientific survey of our staff at Carter Chevrolet and Mazda of Manchester.

I asked them how they'd react if I told them we were going to require customers to top off the gas after a test drive.  Here were their reactions:

-"Remind me....WHO hired you again?"

-"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.  I'd pay for our customers gas out of pocket before I'd allow that to happen."

-"I thought you were joking when you said you wished you had Kahlua in your coffee this morning.  Apparently you actually put some in there."

-"No.  No.  No flipping way."

-"I think that's an insanely petty thing to alienate a customer over."

Well, there you have it.  Paid test drives: NOT coming to a dealer near you any time soon (at least not from us!).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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