Used cars salesmen do not rank highly on the list of “trust in professions”.
Not very high at all!
At the top of the list you will find doctors, nurses and firefighters.
At the lower end of the list you will find insurance salesmen, politicians and lawyers.
At the VERY bottom of the list in an American survey you will find “car salesmen”!
A trade where trust is not a highly valued word! Transparency
So when a Japanese used car exporter (basically a car salesmen) tells you to just “trust” them most sensible people will ignore that comment. They will also assume, because the request to “trust” was brought up, in actual fact there is or will be mistrust somewhere in the relationship. Somewhere in the relationship or financial contract there will be some opaque or non-transparent area.
The biggest abuse I have seen in my 22 years of exporting cars out of Japan have been in 3 areas:
1. The original kms of the vehicle have been adjusted to make the vehicle more valuable than it really is.
2. The condition of the vehicle is lied about.
3. The purchase value (auction price) of the vehicle has been hidden from the buyer. If the vehicle was sold as a dealer stock vehicle, then that is up to the buyer to decide whether that is of fair value or not. However, if the buyer is purchasing through the auctions, sets a budget and then purchased a vehicle through those auctions but the value of that vehicle was adjusted up to increase the sellers margin, that is dishonesty.
Of those 3 above abuses, the first 2 have become difficult in recent times to continue.
Number 1: Auction sheets, chassis numbers and deregistration documents have become a prohibitive force against odometer adjustments. It is close to impossible to purchase a car through the auctions in Japan without a true knowledge of the odometer reading of that vehicle when it was sold. Also, a car exporter in Japan can be jailed under Japanese law if an odometer is adjusted. This problem still exists even by some of the larger exporting companies. It exists usually on a car exporters stock page.
Number 2: If a car is bought through the auctions, most sellers reveal the auction sheet, although many do not give a translation of this auction sheet. It is hard to hide the fact therefore that this vehicle was repair history. However, if a car is sold on a dealers stock page without this auction sheet, the real condition of the car can still be hidden.
The third abuse in the trust relationship with a used car exporter can still be continued, especially under some circumstances. The biggest car auctions in Japan are the USS auctions. In the past the sell price was “quite” available. This is important for future reference if you wanted to buy a similar vehicle. In the last few years the sell price of a vehicle in the USS auctions has become rather hidden, on purpose, by the auctions themselves, to protect their dealers. What is TOTALLY UNKNOWN, are cars bought in negotiation. Apart from the buyer and seller and auction, no other company has knowledge of this price. This price was available in the past.
So cars bought in the USS auctions, after the purchase day, all price history of that sale price is lost. Also, negotiated sale prices remain totally unknown. This opens the door for abuse.
But if you are being transparent as a company, there are ways to keep a trust relationship with your customer rather than just asking them to “trust me”. After every purchase, we are sent an invoice from the auctions, something like this:
The chassis number has been crossed out in red for privacy sake of our customer, but with this invoice from the auction, the sale price is revealed. 58,000 yen.
On request, we do mind, in fact we ENJOY proving/confirming the purchase price of your vehicle.
The 3 biggest abuses listed above:
1. Odometer adjustment. When purchasing through the auctions, this can not be hidden.
2. Condition of the vehicle is lied about. Before purchasing we provide an accurate translation of the auction sheet, and will not purchase until you have a clear understanding of that sheet.
3. Sale price abuse. We don’t tell you to “trust us” but prove the trust with an invoice from the auction upon request.