DEALER RIGHTS, RISKS AND OBLIGATIONS
The AADA has been approached by several Dealers who have expressed concerns over clauses in contracts with some third party service and DMS providers. In particular, these clauses seek to impose levels of control and ownership over Dealer-held customer data. There have been reports of customer data being passed onto third parties and used for commercial purposes without obtaining a Dealer’s consent. It is incredibly important that Dealers assert their control and ownership of all customer data when entering into contracts and we would strongly urge all members to seek expert advice before signing such agreements.
Dealers would recall from the recent public hearings of the Senate Inquiry into Manufacturer / Dealer relations that the issue of customer data was highly contentious and questions about who has rights to ownership of customer data were raised in the line of questioning put to Manufacturers by the Senate Committee members.
The growth in online sales continues to add value to customer data which is equally as important to third party providers as it is to the Manufacturers. It is critical that Dealers fully appreciate the importance of customer data and know who has access to it in the Dealership and outside of it.
The attached advice is provided by HWL Ebsworth lawyers at our request and provides information about the legal obligations that Dealers need to consider when handling customer data in the dealership.
Section 3 of the attached advice is particularly important for Dealers as it deals specifically with what to be aware of when entering into contractual arrangements with third party providers who may have access to customer data.
We would advise all Dealers to be aware of these limitations and consider obtaining specialist legal advice when entering into contracts of this nature.
Dealers should not rely on advice given to them by third party providers or assume that contract terms are lawful and free of Dealer liability.