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Vehicle Protection Association Acts In Advance of Missouri Attorney General Enforcement Cases Against Certain Automotive Service Contract Vendors

Industry trade association notes the Attorney General's lawsuits intended to protect consumers while citing progress on industry reform via the VPA's Certification-Audit Program and new Standards of Conduct.

Selbyville, DE, November 12, 2009 – The Vehicle Protection Association (VPA), an association recently formed to protect purchasers of automotive service contracts, today welcomed Attorney General Chris Koster to the campaign to further improve the vehicle service contract industry. The VPA, while not prejudging the merits of these lawsuits, will continue working with all of its member companies to help ensure every company is in full compliance with the law while preserving the ability of consumers to obtain beneficial service contracts.

The VPA believes that activation of its Certification-Audit Program, announced in late September, and the implementation of its Standards of Conduct for association members, announced this month, will help to rein in any consumer-unfriendly actions that threaten the integrity of the vehicle service contract industry. In addition, the VPA welcomes the opportunity to partner nationwide with Attorneys General on their common goal of protecting consumers from bad actors or companies that refuse to make the needed changes.

"This is an industry that offers considerable value to consumers who wish to protect their investment in their vehicle. Unfortunately, however, the industry has been tarnished by the actions of some companies," said Larry Hecker, executive director of the VPA. "It is our goal that the VPA’s self-regulation process, coupled with continued scrutiny from outside consumer protection entities, will ensure that consumers are appropriately protected."

Certification-Audit Program Improves Industry Transparency

The VPA's Certification-Audit Program allows consumers to determine whether a service contract vendor is in compliance with Vehicle Protection Association standards. None of the companies subject to the new lawsuits were certified as compliant by the VPA.
Many VPA members are currently undergoing certification inspection. The certification process comprises a third-party compliance review that thoroughly evaluates the company's adherence to the VPA Standards of Conduct and applicable laws, rules and regulations.

"We're very impressed with how the association’s members are aggressively and proactively changing their industry. The association’s rigorous certification process is focused on legal compliance and consumer protection,” noted Betty Montgomery, Former Attorney General from Ohio. “Firms that want to treat consumers right are eager to set themselves apart from those who don't, and the Certification-Audit Program is a great vehicle for doing so.”

Industry Standards of Conduct Set the Bar for Good Behavior

In addition to its Certification-Audit Program, the VPA has recently defined Standards of Conduct that are applicable to all VPA members. Members who violate the Standards of Conduct will lose their membership in the VPA. Among other topics, the standards address marketing practices, mandatory disclosures and refund procedures.

"Our Standards of Conduct will be vigorously applied to help protect the best interests of the consumers," notes Hecker. "These Standards are part of a much larger VPA program that is underway to encourage industry members to comply with industry best practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. In the future, as a result of our efforts, consumers will know which vehicle service contract vendors they could and should work with and can then rest assured that they will be treated fairly by these vendors 

The Standards of Conduct are available to view here.

About the Vehicle Protection Association

The Vehicle Protection Association (VPA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing firms that are active in the automotive service contract industry. Members include service contract finance companies, marketers, administrators, insurers, and software providers. VPA currently has more than 50 members. The organization is committed to promoting regulatory compliance among members, educating consumers on their rights, protecting consumers, and otherwise ensuring the integrity of the automotive service contract industry.

For more information:

Chris Carenza, Executive Director
Vehicle Protection Association (VPA)
Phone: (314) 667-5654
info@vpainfo.org

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