In recent months, consumer centers across Japan have been inundated with complaints about Bigmotor Co., a major used car dealer embroiled in a fraudulent auto insurance claims scandal. Customers have come forward with shocking stories of predatory sales tactics and verbal abuse experienced at the hands of Bigmotor staff. These revelations have shed light on a distorted corporate culture that prioritizes profits over customer satisfaction. This article delves into the accounts of victims and explores the systemic issues plaguing Bigmotor, urging the company to rectify its practices and ensure no one else becomes a victim of their unethical conduct.
Unethical Sales Practices
Pressure to Purchase
One common complaint shared by many customers is the relentless pressure to buy a vehicle from Bigmotor. A 30-year-old man from Chiba Prefecture recounted his experience of being coerced into a purchase. He had initially approached Bigmotor to evaluate his car after being involved in an accident. However, upon arrival at the dealership, a staff member informed him that he needed to buy a vehicle to proceed with the assessment. Feeling compelled to comply, the man reluctantly requested a list of used cars available for purchase.
Lack of Transparency
Customers have also voiced concerns about the lack of transparency in Bigmotor’s sales process. The same man from Chiba Prefecture expressed his surprise when he was informed that he couldn’t see the car he was interested in until after it was delivered to him. This lack of opportunity to inspect the vehicle before making a purchase decision raises suspicions about the condition and suitability of the cars being sold.
Another disturbing revelation is the alleged practice of pushing customers into signing contracts without their consent. The man from Chiba Prefecture, after initially requesting only a preliminary screening for a car loan, was shocked to receive a call from a loan screening company stating that he had passed the screening and the contract procedure would proceed. This unauthorized progression to the actual contract left the customer feeling deceived and manipulated.
Verbal Abuse and Intimidation
In addition to the predatory sales tactics, customers have reported instances of verbal abuse and intimidation by Bigmotor staff. The same man from Chiba Prefecture, after filing a complaint with Bigmotor’s customer service, was confronted by an enraged staff member at his home. The worker unleashed a stream of abusive language, leaving the customer feeling frightened and threatened. It is alarming that Bigmotor employees resort to such aggressive behavior when faced with customer complaints.
Toxic Corporate Culture
Insights from former Bigmotor employees shed light on the toxic corporate culture that fostered such abusive behavior. Dealers were allegedly encouraged to keep reluctant customers in-store for extended periods, hoping to pressure them into making a purchase. Managers, on the other hand, faced constant pressure from senior executives to boost earnings. When performance fell short, these executives resorted to hurling abusive language at the managers. This highly stressful and toxic work environment undoubtedly contributed to the unprofessional conduct displayed by Bigmotor staff.
Company Response and Accountability
Acknowledging the Issues
Bigmotor President Shinji Izumi, who assumed his post in July, acknowledged the existence of a distorted corporate culture within the company. He admitted that excessive performance management and unreasonable target-setting had created an environment where staff worked for the benefit of the company rather than the customers. This acknowledgment is a step in the right direction, but concrete actions must follow to address the systemic issues at hand.
Customer Service Shortcomings
Despite the complaints received, many customers have expressed dissatisfaction with Bigmotor’s customer service. The man from Chiba Prefecture, after reporting the verbal abuse incident, received no apology from the company. This lack of accountability further erodes customer trust and highlights the need for significant improvements in Bigmotor’s customer service practices.
Path to Redemption
In response to the scandal, Bigmotor has stated that they are investigating the facts surrounding the allegations. They have apologized for causing trouble and concern to their customers and promised to respond to consultations with greater sincerity moving forward. However, it is crucial for Bigmotor to not only rectify individual cases but also implement systemic changes to prevent the recurrence of predatory sales tactics and abusive behavior.
The scandal surrounding Bigmotor Co. has exposed a dark underbelly of predatory sales tactics and verbal abuse within the used car industry in Japan. Customers who have fallen victim to these unethical practices have bravely come forward, shedding light on a corporate culture driven by profit at the expense of customer satisfaction. Bigmotor’s acknowledgment of the issues is a positive step, but true redemption can only be achieved through tangible changes and a commitment to prioritizing ethical conduct. It is our hope that this scandal serves as a wake-up call for the entire industry to uphold the values of transparency, integrity, and respect for customers.