Subaru Claims Dealership Falsified Customer Surveys To Avoid Termination

Illustration for article titled Subaru Claims Dealership Falsified Customer Surveys To Avoid Termination

Whenever someone buys a new car automakers use survey data to determine which dealers are treating customers right and which ones aren't. Now Subaru is going after a California dealership that they say falsified these reports in order to hide their poor customer satisfaction.

According to Automotive News, Subaru of America is suing South Coast Subaru for breaching the dealer agreement contract. The suit alleges that the dealership forged more than 200 customer satisfaction surveys to improve the dealership's reputation and avoid termination. Subaru claims that customer emails were either falsified or missing on sales paperwork, and that managers instructed employees to fill out surveys during their lunch breaks.


"Defendants prevented Subaru from discovering the actual customer satisfaction level of Subaru retail customers at South Coast Subaru by providing sham customer surveys to [Subaru]...Subaru did not, does not and will likely never know the actual customer satisfaction levels of Subaru retail customers at South Coast Subaru."

The report says that in 2012 South Coast did not meet its contractual requirement to provide a high enough customer satisfaction rating for a sustained period of time. Subaru then implemented a "notice of requirement to cure." If the dealership failed to take action it could have resulted in termination of their franchise agreement. In 2013 South Coast made it out of the "cure program" thanks to improved customer satisfaction surveys. Now those gains are being called into question.

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As someone who's worked in the industry, I've watched as dealer employees changed the addresses and phone numbers in the records for Customer's they knew would give them a bad survey...