The VPA Voice - VPA Newsletter
         
 

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
October 31, 2013

Director's Corner
 

This issue of The Voice features many important updates and announcements. Since the last newsletter, we were able to compile a thorough recap of the 2013 Annual Meeting. From networking opportunities to speakers to attendee turnout, the event was a huge success. In fact, the meeting was attended by 106 people – 86 members and 20 non-members. We would like to thank you again for your support and commitment to the VPA.  
 

As always, your feedback is very important to the success of the Association. We will be sending out surveys asking for feedback on the annual meeting. If you'd like to send comments ahead of the survey, or if you have specific questions you think we should ask, please email Kari Petersmith at kari@vpanet.org. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
 

On behalf of the VPA, I would like to recognize newly certified member, Imperial Auto Protection. Congratulations and welcome to the Certified Marketers Council. Also, please welcome the VPA's newest member, Ensurety, Inc.!
 

All the Best,
 

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

 
 
 

License Renewal Update – Missouri
 

A significant number of VPA members will need to renew their license to sell vehicle service contracts in Missouri in the near future. Although the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) should be sending a reminder note to you 60–90 days before your license expires, you should proactively go to their website and take care of the renewal yourself. If you would like to take care of your license renewal now, here is a convenient link for you to visit the Missouri Department of Insurance website, which will walk you through three simple steps.


If you have questions about the online process, please contact the Missouri Licensing Section at 573-751-3518 or licensing@insurance.mo.gov. For general questions or comments, feel free to contact Kari at Kari@vpanet.org.


 

VPA Annual Member Dues and Certification Application Fee Reminder
 

As you may recall from last year, the VPA annual member dues were reduced from $2,500 to $2,000. This reduction went into effect on Dec. 1, 2012. We will continue this lower rate during the upcoming year which will remain in effect for Dec. 1, 2013 when annual dues for 2014 are due for all members. Annual dues not received by Dec. 31, 2013 will be considered delinquent and the membership will be canceled.
 

The application fee for VPA certification was also reduced last year from $1,000 to $500 beginning Dec. 1, 2012. We offer these reductions as economic benefits because we strongly encourage members to go through the certification process. Please note that the reduction is only for the VPA application fee for certification and is exclusive of the legal fees that the certified auditor will charge.
 


 

PACE Leadership Summit
 

VPA Executive Director Chris Carenza attended the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) 2013 Leadership Summit recently in Washington, D.C. as a guest of PACE CEO Phil Grudzinski (who he met at the Democratic Attorneys General Association's (DAGA) Fall Policy Conference in September in Louisville, Kentucky). The Washington Summit included the opportunity to meet congressmen and other policy officials, including Indiana's Attorney General Greg Zoeller who delivered the keynote speech and Scott Pluta from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Summit focused on several areas of importance, including consumer class actions, how to deal with consumer complaints when the CFPB is involved, obtaining express consent and the importance of maintaining overall compliance. A recap of the event can be found here. If you have questions about the event, please contact Chris at Chris@vpanet.org.
 


 

Regulatory Updates
 

VPA Legislative Monitoring Report & Memo
 

As an Association dedicated to upholding the highest standards in the vehicle service contract space, 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 October Memo and Legislative Monitoring Report on the VPA website.  
 

State of Wisconsin Mail Solicitation Update
 

The State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance reminds marketers that all mail solicitation must identify the name of the Wisconsin warrantor and/or warranty plan administrator or property service contract provider and contain a statement that the company is not affiliated with the manufacturer of the vehicle. These requirements were put in place after consumers reported confusion as to what company was actually providing the coverage. Some believed the offer was from their vehicle's manufacturer or dealer.  
 

State of Texas Update
 

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has proposed amendments regarding the warrantors of vehicle protection products program which would change fee amounts. The proposed amendments to Section 71.80 reduce registration and renewal fees as part of the Department's annual fee review. A copy of the proposed regulation can be found in the Member's Section of the VPA website.  
 

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org.
 

 
 
 

VPA Robo Dialing – ALERT!
 

The VPA was recently alerted that there is a robo dialing scam going on in our industry. This is a very serious situation that affects all of us. If you are accepting live transfer voice calls, you are at a high risk of becoming a victim of robo dialing. Keep in mind that the standard for being the target of a law enforcement regulatory agency is WHETHER YOU KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN about the activity; actual notice is NOT required!  
 

The scam works like this:
 

  1. A robo dial lead generator will start dialing phone numbers. The robo call will notify the person that their factory warranty may have expired and to press 1 for more information. They are then prompted for the model year of the vehicle and told that somebody will call them back shortly.

  2. Five minutes later a live caller will contact the consumer and then transfer them to the call center, which may or may not be aware that the callers are first being robo dialed.

What you should do:
 

If you accept live voice phone transfers, it is very important that you have your sales representative ask the consumer how they were dialed and if they were asked to press a key to be transferred to them. If the consumer reports that situation to your sales rep, then you should immediately stop all leads from that lead provider and give Chris Carenza a recording of the call, the date and time it took place, and the name and contact information for your lead provider so that they can answer to the state Attorneys General office, the FTC/FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
 

If you do not report such activity, then you are at RISK that somebody else will report them at which point your organization may become a target for the AGs, FTC, FCC and CFPB. We have already received reports of call centers and lead providers involved in this activity and we are actively pursuing this investigation. We strongly suggest that you take immediate action to stop such activity and contact us with any information you may have on this situation.
 

Please report any suspicious activity to Kari or Chris at 314-667-5654 or kari@vpanet.org or chris@vpanet.org.
 

 
 
 

Call Monitoring Program – Update
 

This month BPA Quality instituted another automatic system in which they will individually contact each marketer to let them know their calls have been scored and evaluated. If you have any questions or comments about your grades, feel free to submit those on the BPA Quality Builder and the escalation will go to Kari as well.
 

Regarding the portal and uploading process, feedback has been very positive. We have been working diligently with BPA Quality and VPA members to make the transition as smooth as possible. Most issues have been resolved; however, if you are still experiencing problems reviewing grades, uploading calls or logging in, please contact Kari at kari@vpanet.org.
 

 
 
 

BBB is Cracking Down
 

Based on recent news reports, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is cracking down on the vehicle service contract industry. We are aware that they are specifically looking at marketing materials and cancelation/refund policies and procedures that have resulted in consumer complaints. On the BBB's 2009 list of industries receiving the most consumer complaints, the VSC industry was fourth. By 2012 the VSC industry dropped out of the Top Ten, which is a testament to the great strides we have taken to address these issues. It is very important that you consider this a cautionary warning to continue to maintain compliance with all state and federal laws, ensure ethical business practices and deliver excellent customer service.
 

 
 
 

Member Showcase
 

Run with the VPA!
 

On behalf of the VPA, Chris Carenza would once again like to express his appreciation for your thoughtful and generous donations to Team For Kids. As mentioned in last month's newsletter, Chris is participating in the 2013 ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 3. With your support, $6,000 was raised for Team for Kids, an organization that provides free or low-cost fitness and wellness programs to underserved children who would otherwise have little access to physical activity. Each year, Team for Kids programs help more than 200,000 children in more than 800 schools and community centers across the world.  


Chris, along with the VPA, would like to recognize the following companies for their generous contributions. This was truly a team effort!  



VPA Sponsor BPA Quality

VPA Sponsor EFG Companies

Platinum Sponsor Forte

VPA Sponsor MacMurray Petersen & Shuster

VPA Sponsor Mepco

VPA Sponsor Moxy Solutions

VPA Sponsor Omnisure

Platinum Sponsor Paylink Payment Plans

VPA Sponsor Skyline Graffix

Run with the VPA donator