Data protection in the car dealership

Data protection cannot be transferred 1 to 1 from one company to another. The implementation of the GDPR in car dealerships poses particular challenges for those responsible. In the following, we would like to discuss some of the special features of data protection in car dealerships.

Data protection in the car dealership is end customer business

In the end customer business, it is particularly important for companies to protect the rights of the data subjects. Customers may react angrily if they are dissatisfied. As a result, they often ask for their data to be deleted and no longer want to receive advertising from the dealership. Special attention must then be paid to ensuring that the right to erasure under Art. 17 GDPR is identified as such and forwarded to the responsible parties at the dealership. These must carefully examine whether the right can be fully complied with or whether, for example, the right can be exercised. Invoices are still subject to further retention.

Adhere to deadlines for data subject rights

The effort involved in checking deletion requests should not be underestimated. In doing so, the company should comply with the time limit set out in Art. 12 para. 3 DSGVO to respond to deletion requests always keep in mind. A month goes by quickly, especially if employees are not sufficiently trained and do not recognize requests for data subject rights as such or do not take them seriously at first and simply ignore them.

It is essential to train employees

For companies, it pays to train their employees on data protection. If such training is neglected, it may happen that employees ignore the rights of those affected or even treat customer data carelessly. The employees of the car dealerships have a lot to pay attention to in terms of data protection, especially in direct customer contact.

Copies of ID and salary slips

If the responsible company underestimates the importance of its employees in terms of data protection compliance, it can be costly. Copies of identity cards and salary statements and similar sensitive data are sometimes requested from customers in the context of a car purchase or a test drive, copied and then, in the worst case, openly filed in a transparent film on the sales desk in the showroom.

Various customer loyalty programs

The implementation of the GDPR in car dealerships also causes difficulties when using various customer loyalty programs. It is important to respect the right of objection of the data subjects according to Art. 21 para. 2 GDPR to be taken seriously in the case of direct marketing. It is fatal when car dealerships use different systems that do not communicate consistently with each other or are not properly maintained. If the dealership fails to clearly define responsibilities, advertising objections from customers may not be considered.

Storage of customer data in the showroom

The storage of customer data in the exhibition room is unfavourable. When implementing the GDPR in the dealership, those responsible should ensure that customer data is not stored there. Customer traffic in the exhibition space is constantly running and unauthorised persons may gain access to personal data such as purchase and lease agreements. In case of doubt, the sales staff should be provided with lockable cabinets so that documents can be quickly locked away in case of short-term need.

Screen lock in the showroom

The salesman’s workstations in the showrooms of the car dealership also pose a risk of fines if the workstations are not blocked when the employees leave. The staff’s argument that they only went away for a short time does not hold up. You are quickly distracted from your daily work, approached by another customer, still want to get documents from your colleague and in 5 seconds the unlicensed person will be able to use minutes to get data. Responsible persons should therefore pay attention to training employees. A written instruction is often not sufficient to adequately sensitize employees to the handling of customer data.

Data protection audit helps with self-assessment

If responsible parties are unsure about the implementation of the GDPR in the dealership, data protection audits can work wonders. They help in the detection of vulnerabilities. If you find in the audit that the processes that were supposedly implemented have been ignored or “adapted” by employees, you now have the chance to improve. In addition, data controllers often get the impression that it is sufficient if they have trained their employees and documented everything in terms of data protection. However, especially in the end customer business, many mistakes happen in the handling of personal data in everyday work. If problems only come to light as a result of customer complaints or with the supervisory authority, there is a risk of fines. A data protection audit can therefore help in advance to identify problems, raise the general awareness of all employees and avoid fines.

Data protection in the car dealership as a quality feature

Ultimately, the dealership’s customers will also appreciate the prudent handling of their data. Data protection is increasingly seen as a quality feature. If data protection is treated too laxly, customers quickly get the impression that they are not in the right hands, not only when it comes to data protection, but also when buying a car. However, anyone who handles customer data in a data-protection-compliant and professional manner will have an easy time gaining and maintaining the trust of their customers!

Book your data protection audit now and check how well you are really positioned.