VPA 2012 Annual Meeting

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
September 21, 2012

Director's Corner

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this year's Annual Meeting a huge success. It was truly a TEAM VPA effort, and a great launch for this year's theme of "Taking It To The Next Level Together!" Thanks to your support, we're excited to report that it was the VPA's best attended Annual Meeting to date.

Some of the highlights included: Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Reppert made a powerful law enforcement/regulatory agency presentation as he pointed out that Western Union suffered a $90 million verdict when they failed to exercise due diligence regarding their agents; Sears was liable for $62 million when the court ruled they knew, or should have known what their business partner was doing; and in his criminal prosecution of Transcontinental and its owners, he said the court actually ruled that the product itself was a valuable product, but the conviction was based on it being sold by illegitimate means. His very valuable advice for all entities in the space: "Don't stick your head in the sand like an ostrich because that's not a defense for your company if you have a rogue employee."

Special thanks to Paul Chernawsky and Helen MacMurray for providing us with helpful tips and updates on some of the new programs being implemented this year. And we're also very grateful for the spirited presentation of Bryan Dodge, on "How to Have Your Best Year Ever!" Btw, have you made your list of goals for the year and sent them to Bryan yet? "Please say thank you!"

Since The VPA Voice is your newsletter, I wanted to pass along some of the comments/feedback we received from our members who attended the Annual Meeting. We appreciate these kind words, and encourage all members to let their voice be heard:

"It was a very satisfying experience to be able to attend the Vehicle Protection Association Annual Meeting and see how professional and productive the Association has become over the past few years. Much progress has been made and the Association has had a very valuable impact on an industry that was in great need of a clear course. The VPA has definitely helped steer this industry in the right direction and with assistance from a strong leader and an engaged Board of Directors, I know they will continue to make progress for years to come." - Marcy Johnson

"I really enjoyed this year's Annual VPA Meeting. The two speakers provided useful information to grow our industry as well as ourselves." - Sandy Gordon

"It's exciting to watch where the VPA is going. The record attendance and relevant discussions coupled with the cooperation amongst direct marketers, administrators and finance companies make it obvious that everyone shares in the same goal of promoting fair business practices throughout our industry." - Brian Becker

"It was great to see the progress that is being made. Between adjusted dues schedules, call recording programs and overall cooperation, the VPA looks to be making leaps and bounds to progress our industry in the right direction." - Nils Flodberg

"Great job. Super convention. Best yet." - Carter Patterson

"The Annual Meeting of the VPA in Las Vegas this year was great. The agenda for the meeting was concise and the speakers offered challenges to each individual and the industry as a whole. I believe the level of participation and the vibe of the meetings will have a very positive effect on partner company relationships and future decisions which will result in industry cooperation and improved customer satisfaction, which ultimately mirrors the goals of the VPA and its member companies." - Ken Brotherton

"Great industry support in coming together to continue the unified effort in building a better and more regulated sales process!" -- Kimberly Wakefield

If you have any additional feedback from the event, please email me at chris@vpanet.org.

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


Board of Directors Election Results

This year's election resulted in four members taking positions on the Board: Brian Becker, Paul Chernawsky, Jason Schmuck, and Kimberly Wakefield; Ex Officio appointments were made for Carter Patterson and Rob Shuster. At the conclusion of the Annual Meeting the new Board convened and elected the following as Officers for the upcoming year, Brian Becker as Chairman, Paul Chernawsky as Vice-Chairman, and Jason Schmuck as Secretary-Treasurer

Welcome to all our new board members!


Revised/updated VPA Standards of Conduct

After months of working on this project, and substantial feedback from every level of our membership, the VPA Board has approved new standards of conduct for the industry. The updated revisions on the standards of conduct create a current uniform code for the entire industry, including all levels of business entities in the space. As Bruce Reppert said in his presentation, "If you have a good business model and you follow the Standards of Conduct, chances are you'll never get a phone call from me." The new standards are available to download from the VPA website.


Call Storage Program

The new VPA Call Storage Program will launch on Nov. 1, 2012. It will be tested in several call centers at that time. When all the bugs are worked out and it has all the features that are required, it will then be rolled out to all call centers. The Program will create a "call recording vault" for each finance company. The VPA board has instructed Skyline Graffix, the program developer, to utilize the highest levels of security available to ensure that only authorized parties can access each call recording. This program is a critical part of the required due diligence on administrators' and finance companies' part as well as a tool to better create a level playing field for all call centers in the industry.


VPA Member Benefits Section Access

In the wake of US Fidelis and other state/federal enforcement actions, the VPA has identified some of the conduct that courts found to violate the law. Some examples, which by no means are exhaustive, are as follows:

  • Referring to sales persons as "warranty specialists"
  • Mailers that offered to "renew," "extend" or "reinstate" a factory warranty
  • Using a person's personal or vehicle information, or implying they had it, to confuse a consumer that the seller was the manufacturer
  • Issuing refunds/failing to issue refunds in an arbitrary fashion
  • Failing to disclose the existence of important conditions, exclusions, waiting periods and deductibles
  • Misrepresenting to prospective purchasers the scope of the coverage of the vehicle service contracts offered for sale
  • Making it difficult for consumers to cancel their vehicle service contracts and/or charging cancellation fees that are not provided for in the actual Vehicle Service Contracts

One of your member benefits is for the VPA to help ensure you are in compliance with the Standards of Conduct. So the VPA is launching a website and mailer review program to help members identify problematic language. When we review your mailers and your websites and identify any SOC violations, we will help you develop effective marketing pieces that comply with the Standards of Conduct and all applicable laws.

Please join the VPA on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 1:00 pm CST/12:00 pm, EST, for a brief webinar (approx. 30 min), which will provide an overview of the Website Review Program. Webinar information can be found in the VPA Members' Section of our website.


Call Center Compliance Webinar

Another member benefit is our effort to address concerns voiced about non-compliant new call centers, which has led us to offer a members-only webinar for all new call centers. Let the VPA help you conduct due diligence by encouraging your business partners and especially, new call centers, to participate in this free webinar, taking place Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 1:00 pm CST/12:00 pm EST., and will be approx. 1 hour long. It's also a great tool for current marketers' new staff members and will help level the playing field so that all call centers comply with the updated Standards of Conduct. Participants will be able to ask questions and will cover the most important issues of compliance, including call recording, verification scripts and mailers/websites. Register for webinars by visiting the VPA Members' Section of our website.


Member Showcase

The VPA Voice will periodically feature members who have made an effort to "give back to the community," in one way or another. In addition, we plan to have a press release associated with the feature, and then place it on the website for further goodwill press. If you would like your company to be featured in this manner, simply contact the Executive Director for more information on this member benefit.

This month features Certified Marketer, Shari Smith, and Vehicle Assurance, who is actively involved with Every Child's Hope (ECH), a Missouri nonprofit that works to prevent and treat the abuse and neglect of children.