Vehicle Protection Association (VPA) Cites Industry's Progress While Supporting Criminal Charges Against US Fidelis Founders
Industry reform initiatives protect consumers against bad actors who fail to do right by consumers.
Selbyville, DE, June 20, 2011 -- The Vehicle Protection Association (VPA), an association formed to protect purchasers of automotive service contracts, today announced that it applauds the criminal prosecution of vehicle service contract companies that break the law and do not adhere to industry standards of conduct. The VPA also notes that, as a result of industry reforms implemented, in part, by the VPA, consumers can rest assured that they will be treated right when they do business with VPA member firms.
This week, the founders of vehicle service contract provider US Fidelis surrendered themselves to authorities on criminal felony charges of unlawful merchandising practices, stealing and insurance fraud. US Fidelis closed its doors in 2009. Among other things, the indictments allege that the company's founders kept refunds that were due consumers; charged fees in excess of the amounts stated in their contracts; and misled consumers into believing the company was affiliated with auto manufacturers and dealers.
While the justice system will ultimately determine whether US Fidelis founders are guilty or innocent, the VPA applauds the prosecution of bad actors who jeopardize the reputation and integrity of the industry, an industry in which the vast majority of companies follow applicable laws and do right by customers.
"This industry now has zero tolerance for companies that don't play by the rules, and we applaud the efforts of all enforcement agencies that support our core mission of maintaining the integrity of the vehicle service contracts industry," said Larry Hecker, executive director of the VPA."Buying a vehicle service contract remains an excellent purchase decision for consumers who want to protect their investment in their vehicle, but consumers should deal primarily with VPA-certified companies as these are the only companies that have gone through a rigorous, independent certification process that ensures that they do right by consumers."
VPA Reforms Make a Difference
With the backing of a large number of reputable companies in the industry, the VPA has worked tirelessly to promote regulatory transparency, education and accountability for marketing and servicing automotive service contracts.
In 2009, the VPA adopted its initial Standards of Conduct with the goal of helping its members to comply with federal and state laws and regulations, as well as helping to protect the best interests of the consumers. A copy of the VPA Standards of Conduct is available for public viewing at http://www.vpainfo.org/docs/VPA-Standards-of-Conduct.pdf.
"The VPA has worked vigorously with state attorney generals and consumer protection employees to develop our Standards of Conduct," commented Hecker. "The sale of virtually every direct marketed vehicle service contract sold today is recorded and subject to review to make sure that consumers receive full disclosure, a chance to review their entire agreement, and the ability to get a full refund within 30 days of purchase if they are not satisfied. The result of our work can be seen by the dramatic decrease in consumer complaints at the states attorney generals' offices, as well as at the Better Business Bureau."
In addition to its Standards of Conduct, the VPA's Certification-Audit Program allows consumers to determine whether a service contract vendor is in compliance with VPA standards. The process includes a third-party compliance review that thoroughly evaluates the company's adherence to the VPA Standards of Conduct and applicable rules and regulations. A list of VPA certified-companies is available at http://www.vpainfo.org/Certified-Companies. The VPA strongly encourages consumers to only purchase vehicle service contracts from VPA-certified companies.
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 payment provider companies, marketers, administrators, insurers, and software providers. VPA currently has more than 50 member companies. The organization is committed to ensuring 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, visit www.vpainfo.org.
For more information:
Chris Carenza, Executive Director
Vehicle Protection Association (VPA)
Phone: (314) 667-5654