CAR Dealer Magazine founder James Baggott hosted a live question and answer session with Lawgistics on YouTube today (Mar 24) – and hundreds of people logged on to see what the company had to say on a variety of Covid-19 related subjects.
Baggott began the session by saying that the pandemic had caused major issues across the country and that most car dealerships were now closed – and he added that there was a huge number of questions to be answered and that business owners were desperate for information.
On the panel were Lawgistics consultants Nona Bowkis, Jason Williams and Kiril Moscovchuk – and straight away it became apparent that their phone lines had been incredibly busy lately.
Bowkis pointed out that although there had been a lot of advice from the government to date, there hadn’t been a lot of detail – and ‘that’s why we’re trying to pump out legal updates all the time’.
Among the subjects discussed were the arrangements for key workers to get their cars serviced and MOT’d – something that is allowed because garages are allowed to remain open.
Bowkis confirmed: ‘Selling cars in car showrooms is a no-no but a lot of people are asking how they can get into distance selling because that is a way the people can get some income while observing all the things we’re supposed to be doing around Covid-19.’
The next topic of conversation revolved around staff being put on furlough leave with Moscovchuk explaining that it is ‘essentially a leave of absence’ with a member of staff retaining their employment as an alternative to being laid off of made redundant.
He pointed viewers in the direction of two templates recently published by Lawgistics, designed to be used by dealership bosses who are minded to put staff on furlough leave.
And he advised employers to check the employment contracts of their staff to see who was eligible for the scheme and that it was down to employers to devise a selection process.
The panel then moved onto a discussion around dealerships’ cash flow and possible redundancy situations after the three months of the furlough scheme.
Next up was distance selling, previously mentioned by Nona Bowkis – and it was over to former trading standards officer Jason Williams who provided useful insight into a way of operating that many dealers won’t have been involved in before.
He mentioned that one possible obstacle was actually getting vehicles delivered to consumers bearing in mind rules around social distancing: ‘It may well be that they have to get a professional delivery agent to take it there, park the car on the side of the road, and drop the keys and the cancellation notice through the letterbox.’
The Q&A session ended with quick-fire questions from dealers who had been watching the discussion and James Baggott said afterwards: ‘I was delighted with the way the session went and many thanks to the experts from Lawgistics for getting involved.’