In last week’s Carnival of Wheels, the semi official pizza wagon guy of The Garage, Kevin told a tale of two garages. Within this tale he brought up the topic of the cash discount. We’ve all heard the bit. “I’ll give you a discount if you can pay by cash.” A little extra bit of discount is always a good thing right? Well, maybe not always.
What might be a simple goodwill gesture, could be an act of theft. Depending on your local tax laws, it could even fall into tax fraud territory. While the tax fraud issue isn’t likely to impact you, the consumer, it will affect the business owner down the road. Theft on the other hand affects everyone, both morally and financially. We’ve all seen the signs in the Wallymart bathroom that say Theft costs us all.
So how can you tell whether the offer is an honest act of business kindness or a thieving scumbag trying to pad his pockets? Well, it’s pretty easy really, just look around. Are you in a single bay independent shop, dealing with the guy who owns the place, or are you in a big shop with many employees? It doesn’t matter if it’s a dealership, national chain or a large independent shop, chances are the guy you are dealing with doesn’t own the shop. If he doesn’t own the shop, chances are that he’s trying to scam the owner in order to make himself a bit of extra cash. Along the way, he can offer you a deal to make it look sweeter than it really is. In reality, that little gesture is a criminal act and depending on your local laws you could even be implicated by accepting the deal!
So before you go ahead and accept that cash deal, know who you are dealing with and make sure they have the authority to actually offer the deal.