The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Although summer is almost here, the VPA’s dedication to our mission of providing value to our members shows no signs of slowing down. We are hard at work planning our Annual Meeting, which will take place in Las Vegas this September. We recently hosted a Florida workshop for our members that included valuable information and speakers, bringing the most recent developments and cutting-edge business tips to our members.
The Florida workshop focused on certification, legislation, compliance, and reputation management along with comprehensive approaches to improving customer retention through correct sales practices and customer service. Our attendees also learned about cutting-edge reputation management techniques and heard directly from Verfi, a company that specializes in this area. We reviewed customer-friendly banking and service practices including state-by-state requirements for the industry. We’re also introducing member workshops in St. Louis and Southern California. More details on those member workshops will be forthcoming.
Additionally, we’re constantly monitoring for potential legislation that might impact our members, and acting proactively to meet and confer with various regulators and legislators who are important to our industry. Through our VPA legislative team, the VPA successfully amended harmful legislation in Maryland to permit an obligor’s agents to sell vehicle service contracts in that state. The amendment will take effect in October 2016. We have also initiated and continue to maintain proactive educational contacts with regulators to prevent issues before they arise. In March 2016, the VPA engaged in meet and confer discussions with Missouri regulators and enforcement staff, and staff from other states where our members do a lot of business like Florida.
The VPA is taking a more proactive and transparent approach with regulators and our members. We continue to monitor and, sometimes behind-the-scenes and other times publically, address problematic marketing activities that we become aware of. We are actively monitoring and secret shopping members, and proactively bringing activity that we believe violates our Standard to the attention of our administrators and payment providers.
The VPA’s legislative team also engaged the Louisiana legislature, which, under pressure from dealership and other groups attempted to continue blocking our industry, and convinced them consider regulating the sale of vehicle service contracts in that state. Our VPA bill is pending. While it will require a multi-year process to open Louisiana, we are proud to have a VPA bill that will fulfill stage one of our two-year plan to fully open the state for our members.
The VPA Board has approved a bold initiative to fund a multi-prong initiative to open California. At the direction of the Board, we are assembling a plan to bring together legislative, public relations, and a sub-committee of concerned members that will work this issue from a multi-prong approach. It will include consumer testimonials, results (savings) data, and other needed information to persuade the California legislature why comprehensive, positive service contract legislation is needed to permit Californians more choice and options. We expect to have the pieces of this plan together by summer and start on it immediately. The VPA’s new President, Paul Chernowsky, has initiated a plan to improve the reputation of our industry through transparency and reporting. All too long our industry has suffered from a relatively small number of marketers who engage in practices that make the whole industry look bad. As members, you have received and will continue to receive our email updates and requests relating to marketing reporting and relationship transparency. We are reaching out to several of the states to work with them in our mutual efforts to keep the industry compliant with all rules and regulations. We need everyone’s cooperation in this effort. A compliant industry helps all of our members, and while we all know how easy it is for one member or non-member company to criticize our efforts, it takes much more time and effort to get involved and engage in the work constantly needed to ensure fairness and consumer protection.
And finally, the VPA is updating its membership records. Please forward the information requested as soon as possible. You should have each received a membership reporting form. If you have not, please email email@example.com. Please return the requested information by June 10, 2016.
We welcome your comments and suggestions to improve the VPA and increase the services it is able to provide its members. Please email me with any questions, suggestions or anything else you need. My direct line is 954 343 6959.
Annual Meeting is Around the Corner!
The VPA is holding its annual meeting in Las Vegas on August 30 and 31. We have a new, upgraded location at the Encore Hotel (part of the Wynn property) and we will again have a full and valuable program. For those of you who attended our last conference, you remember the presentations by the FTC relating to consumer protection and their “wants” for the industry, and the comprehensive amount of updates and compliance information that you could immediately take back to and implement at your company.
Registration is open now for the conference so visit the VPA’s website and register today. Our event occurs during the same week as the F&I Industry Summit and we have secured preferred room pricing at the Encore Hotel for this entire week, so please take advantage of this before our room block sells out.
As a reminder, the Annual Meeting will kick off with an evening reception evening, with the full program taking place the following day. We’re looking forward to our return to Vegas, and as in years past, this event will be an exciting learning experience complete with compelling speakers, networking, industry updates and information to help your business succeed.
We’re in the process of designing the agenda and meeting format right now. Do you have any suggestions to share? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep you updated with more details as they become available.
VPA Regulatory/Legislative Update
As an association dedicated to upholding the highest standards in the vehicle service contract (VSC) industry, we continue to monitor and track proposed and passed bills and regulations that pertain to our industry. Maryland recently enacted legislation requiring a vehicle service contract payment provider to maintain insurance reserves sufficient to cover each contract sold.
Through our legislative team, the VPA successfully amended the legislation in Maryland to permit an obligor’s agents to sell vehicle service contracts in that state. The amendment will take effect in October 2016.
In Louisiana, our team is moving to amend a proposed house bill that will prohibit the sale of vehicle service contracts in that state. We have been successful in amending that legislation which removes the prohibition but it still needs to pass in both houses.
We will be providing more information on this at the upcoming VPA conference.
BPA Call Recording Program Update
BPA is reviving the Call Recording program. Effective June 1, 2016, BPA will be sending out random requests for phone calls to every marketer known to us in the industry. Those calls will be evaluated for compliance with best practices and legal requirements. Results will be provided monthly to the Board of Directors. To make this a success, we remind the marketers to provide the requested calls within 5 days and for the payment providers to provide the VPA with a list of contracts on or about the 1st of each month. The BPA Call Recording Program Update is a valuable compliance tool for our industry and helps us assure the states that the VPA is serious about self-regulation.