VPA Voice Newsletter

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
July 25, 2014

Director's Corner

This week, CNBC television series American Greed aired a segment on the unethical and illegal practices of US Fidelis. This is a story that dates back to 2006 and unfortunately portrays our industry in a negative light at the hand of a few bad actors. The VPA took a proactive approach in addressing this situation.

The VPA has spoken out and issued a statement this week validating the importance of a vehicle service contract for many consumers and encouraging them to consider VPA-certified companies. We also added a new page to the VPA website that advocates for the progress the industry has made since US Fidelis first made headlines. Consumers performing online searches for the American Greed episode and information about extended car warranties (the language used in the segment) will see this new page rank toward the top of their search results.

I encourage you to read both of these statements and continue your efforts to strengthen and protect the reputation of the VSC industry.

All the best,
Chris Carenza
Executive Director, VPA
email: chris@vpanet.org

ALERT: Robodialing is Back

Last October, we issued an alert about robodialing and since then, we’ve become aware of some call centers using outbound telemarketing by auto-dialers that may not be in compliance with state and federal laws.

If you are accepting live transfer voice calls, your company may be at risk of becoming a robodialing victim. The industry standard for being the target of a law enforcement or regulatory agency is whether you knew or should have known, which means actual notice isn’t required.

If you accept live voice transfers, have your sales representatives ask consumers how they were dialed and if they were asked to press 1 to be transferred to the call center. If consumers report that they had to press 1, immediately stop leads from that provider and notify Chris Carenza.

Please contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org or 314-667-5654 with any questions.

WARNING: National Do Not Call Registry Reminder

In an effort to continue educating our members on regulations affecting our industry, we wanted to provide some important information for our sellers and telemarketers to remain in compliance with federal and state regulations regarding Do Not Call registries.

1. Access to the National Do Not Call Registry

All sellers covered by the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) must pay for access to the National Do Not Call Registry before they call or cause a telemarketer to call consumers. Telemarketers can be granted access to the National Registry through their seller-client’s unique account number. However, before placing calls on their behalf, telemarketers must ensure that the seller-client has paid the appropriate annual fee.

Sellers, and thus the telemarketers hired by sellers, that don’t pay for access to the National Registry are liable for any calls made to consumers, even to numbers not on the National Registry. Violators are subject to fines of up to $16,000 per violation, and each call may be considered a separate violation.

Access to the National Registry costs an annual fee of $58 per area code, or $15,963 for access to every area code in the registry, whichever is less.

2. State Do Not Call Registries

Some 13 states still administer their own do not call registries; you can see a map of those states here. Thus, sellers and telemarketers should check with each state to determine what is required for compliance at the state level.

3. Transmitting Caller ID

Telemarketers are required by FCC rules to transmit caller ID information regardless of calling system. Caller ID information must include either the calling party number (CPN) or automatic number identification (ANI) and, when available, the telemarketer’s carrier.

4. Calling Consumer Cell Phones

According to the FCC, it is unlawful for any person to make a call using an automatic telephone dialing system or pre-recorded voice message to any telephone number assigned to a paging service or mobile telephone service. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.

The laws involving the legality of solicitation calls are very complex. The VPA recommends that you review the FTC and FCC websites and seek legal counsel from an experienced telemarketing lawyer before using these methods or any information found on your own.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding DNC compliance, visit the VPA website for more information or contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org

VPA Regulatory/Legislative Updates

VPA Legislative Monitoring Report

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. No new relevant bills were signed into law this month. To review the complete list of pending bills and regulations as well as a brief description of each, please visit the June Memo and Legislative Monitoring Report available to members only on the VPA website.

Follow Up: Webinar on Cancellations and Refunds

Last month we held a webinar for those interested in learning about the best practices for handling cancellations and refunds. This webinar was extremely successful, with many people afterward asking for access to the content of the webinar. We now have a recap of the original webinar and what was discussed on the VPA website for your review at anytime.

Keep an eye out for more webinars from the VPA in the near future.