The old stereotype of the smarmy, cigar-chomping car salesman bamboozling naive customers is disappearing, thanks to the Internet and Web sites likewww.carfolks.com.
Elyria entrepreneur Mark Dubis, who started Carfolks.com two years ago with partner David Hein, said online reviews like those made popular by eBay.com and Amazon.com are helping people find the best car dealers.
"The Internet is one big neighborhood, and people are checking with their neighbors," Dubis said. "The Internet has empowered the consumer."
A former vice president of marketing for KeyBank who worked in the automotive retail and finance industry for more than 20 years, Dubis noticed customers had ample opportunity to vent on the Internet about bad dealers.
"But dealers didn't have a way to address complaints," he said. "Great dealers didn't get credit for doing things right. Providing consumers with information about good dealers, and rewarding dealers for doing things right, is our goal."