The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
Friday, July 10, 2015
Although summer is officially under way, there are no signs of slowing down here at the VPA. We are busy planning the Annual Meeting, which will be held this September in Las Vegas. The survey distributed last month concerning the Annual Meeting has helped finalize the event format, speaker selection and presentation topics. Continued feedback concerning the Annual Meeting is greatly appreciated.
We have been hard at work to reach the goals and priorities set for 2015, which will ultimately enhance member benefits and create new opportunities for growth. We’ve successfully kicked off a series of Town Hall meetings (see below), where members can meet with our Legal Counsel, Greenspoon Marder and discuss issues in the industry.
Last month, we outlined several of the key initiatives VPA has under way. These initiatives include: webinars with VSC regulatory updates and current events, guest speakers across a variety of topics, educational and risk management programs, organization outreach to attract new members and more. At the VPA, our goal is to equip members with the best possible benefits and tools in the industry. Your feedback is very important to the success of this Association. Please send your thoughts and concerns on the above mentioned topics to Libby at Assistant@vpanet.org or Chris at Chris@vpanet.org.
Executive Director, VPA
Annual Meeting is Coming Together!
Following our announcement of the Annual Meeting last month, we have had several companies express interest in sponsoring this event and we are always open to more.
A big thanks goes out to all who took the survey last month providing feedback on the content and design of the Annual Meeting. We are incorporating your suggestions as we finalize the meeting’s format and agenda. If you did not have a chance to take the survey or if you have additional suggestions, please feel free to send any ideas and concerns to Assistant@vpanet.org. We will be sure to keep you updated on the specifics of this event as they become available.
As a reminder, the Annual Meeting will kick off with a reception on Tuesday evening, September 8, with the full program to follow on Wednesday, September 9, in Las Vegas at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. We’re looking forward to our return to Las 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.
If you are interested in sponsoring a portion of the meeting, please see available sponsorship packages here and complete a Sponsorship Form available here. Furthermore, registration for the Annual Meeting is still open; you can access registration forms here. For more information on the Annual Meeting, please visit the VPA website.
Town Hall Open Forum Meetings with VPA Legal Counsel
Following the recent selection of our new Legal Counsel, Robby Birnbaum and Rose Schindler from Greenspoon Marder, we have officially kicked off a series of Town Hall meetings. These meetings allow members to meet face-to-face with our Legal Counsel and have an open conversation about issues in the industry.
We are in the process of scheduling more Town Hall meetings during the upcoming months as we plan to interact with as many call centers as possible. This open forum is a great opportunity to provide updates on our progress and receive feedback on what you would like to see from the VPA. Our inaugural event kicked off at a dinner at Favazza’s on The Hill in St. Louis, focusing on selected call centers in the Metropolitan area. Because of the success of our first event we are now planning additional Town Hall meetings in Florida and California.
Board of Directors Nominations
The VPA is now accepting nominations for the next Board of Directors. If you or someone you know would like to be considered for one of the four open seats, please fill out the nomination form available on the VPA website.
Forms must be signed, scanned and emailed to Chris Carenza at Chris@vpanet.org by August 7, 2015. Each company is permitted only one nomination and the nominee must be in good standing with the VPA.
Following the nomination deadline, an email will be sent out containing information pertaining to the voting process and the ballots for this year’s Board Elections.
Please feel free to contact Chris Carenza at Chris@vpanet.org or (314) 667-5654 with any questions or concerns.
Missouri Department of Insurance License Enforcement Efforts
In an effort to assist call centers in hiring only those with a Motor Vehicle Extended Service Contract Producer License, we would like to provide clear directions for how they can properly vet potential candidates.
In the last six months, enhanced enforcement has been implemented by the Missouri Department of Insurance to deny licenses to those who have lied on applications, faced felony charges, evaded taxes and other various offenses.
Information on licensed agents and enforcement actions taken against agents is publicly available on the Missouri Department of Insurance website. This website details the names, addresses and the reasoning that agent candidates have been denied licensure. This resource enables call centers to easily add those denied a license to a “do not hire list,” and ensuring that only validly licensed agents speak with consumers about the sale or negotiation of a contract. Directions on how to access this database are below.
To access this database, please visit the Missouri Department of Insurance website and access the Insurance Agent/Agency Search page. Click on the License & Contact Info button and insert the agent’s name and pertinent information to verify active licenses. To find discipline records and violators of Missouri Insurance Laws, click the Enforcement Actions button and search for agent by name or license number.
The following are just a few examples of enforcement actions that can be found on the Missouri Department of Insurance website:
- Desmond Lamar Anderson, 504 San Juan Dr. St. Charles, MO 63303 [View PDF here]
- Refusal to renew license due to delinquent tax obligations he had not previously reported to the department.
- Timothy Farris, 403 Howard St., Clarksville, MO 63336 [View PDF here]
- Forfeiture of license due to failure to disclose misdemeanor charges for property damage, theft, trespass and domestic assault.
- Annelouise Gibson, 453 Bent Oak Dr., Lake St. Louis, MO 63367 [View PDF here]
- Forfeiture of license due to failure to disclose misdemeanor charges for resisting a peace officer and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
- Marcus William Harris [View PDF here]
- Refusal to issue license due to failure to disclose criminal history, delinquent tax obligations and child support obligations on his application.
- Latasha Denise Martin, 1340 Kyle Drive, St. Charles, MO 63304 [View PDF here]
- Refusal to issue license due to failure to disclose criminal history on his application.
- Cory Meng, 832 Green Lantern Lane, Ballwin, MO 63011 [View PDF here]
- Forfeiture of license due to failure to disclose a misdemeanor charge for simple assault to a federal officer.
VPA Regulatory/Legislative Updates
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. This month, new Legal Counsel, Robby Birnbaum and Rose Schindler, provided a summary of the recent rulings by the FCC clarifying its position on the TCPA and automated dialers. For additional information on proposed bills and regulations relevant to the VSC industry, please visit the legislative reports available to members only on the VPA website.
In June, the FCC had a major announcement and webinar clarifying their continuing strict policy on “No autodialing to cell phones.” The Open Meeting was for the FCC to rule on twenty-one pending Petitions for Declaratory Rulings, which were seeking clarification on various aspects of the TCPA. In essence, the 3-2 vote made one thing crystal clear:
“The FCC believes that no telephone calls should be made to anyone unless the person receiving the call provided express consent.” If one understands and abides by this principle then you are safe. However, failure to comply with this regulation, could subject businesses to lawsuits with damages ranging from $500 - $1,500 per call/text.
Time Warner Cable to Pay $229,500 for Robocalls
Another Plaintiff Wins Verdict Against Auto-Dialer
On July 7, 2015, a Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of plaintiff who received incessant robocalls from Time Warner Cable’s interactive voice response system.
Over the course of a year, Araceli King received a total of 153 robocalls, which were intended for a Mr. Luiz Perez. During numerous conversations with Time Warner, King repeatedly identified herself, expressed that she was not Perez and would like to stop receiving harassing messages.
While Time Warner Cable attempted to argue that they were not liable under the TCPA, Judge Alvin Hellerstein stated that they should have taken accountability and tried to locate Perez instead of continuing to harass King. This plaintiff’s judgment solidifies that individuals bothered by relentless robocalls now have recourse against companies using automated dial systems. Read more about this story here.
Call Monitoring Program Results
To further promote compliance among our members, we are continuing to publish the results of the BPA Quality call monitoring program. To view results from the call monitoring program, please see the June Call Monitoring Report available in the Member’s Resources section of the VPA Website. This information is only accessible to current members.