The VPA Voice - VPA Newsletter
         
 

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
November 13, 2012

Director's Corner
 

This issue of The Voice covers many topics as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday. We are pleased to announce some positive press for the industry in an Angie's List poll. We are continuing our analysis of all protocols and procedures for the VPA, including the website, and will update those as they are addressed. We have many new changes/programs to announce: on December 1, we are synchronizing lower member dues and lower certification fees with the $3-6-10 program. We are also in the process of implementing the new call storage program, and a new call monitoring program. Since the Annual Meeting we have already received applications for new members, and look forward to many more with the implementation of these programs; and we have another special member to highlight in our Member Showcase.
 

We want everyone in the VSC industry to know that the VPA is here for you to have a Voice in helping to maintain self-regulation and achieve a level playing field. Our bottom line is to encourage businesses, not crush them. Please feel free to contact me at anytime to discuss how we can be of service to you.
 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES!
 

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


 

Angie's List Poll-Positive Press
 

Consumer ratings site Angie's List recently conducted a nationwide poll (featured on KMOV.com), asking people different questions about their auto service contracts. Because polls can be a great indicator of current trends, and based on the Angie's List data, it looks like the compliance efforts of members of the VPA and others in the industry are beginning to make a difference after years of negative press in the past. Although there are still some companies out there who continue to cause problems, the VPA is working hard to help the industry make a strong comeback so that our image throughout the industry is not tainted by a few "bad apples." We look forward to more positive stories in the media about our members, like our feature story in this issue's Member Showcase.
 

 
 
 

Annual Member Dues Reduction, and
VPA Certification Application Fee Reduction
 

Beginning next month annual member dues will be reduced from $2,500 to $2,000. This reduction will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2012, when annual dues for 2013 are due for all members. The VPA is actively working to increase membership to effectively promote self-regulation and create a level playing field for everyone in the industry.
 

The application fee for certification will be reduced from $1,000 to $500 beginning Dec. 1, 2012 as well. We hope that this reduction will encourage members to become certified and join the association. Please note that this reduction is only for the VPA application fee for certification and is exclusive of the legal fees that the certified auditor will charge.
 

 
 
 

$3-6-10 Contract Fee Program
 

As was discussed at the Annual Meeting, about two years ago the VPA lowered its annual membership fees, and the administrators began forwarding a $3 per contract fee to the VPA. This change greatly stabilized the VPA finances and ensured the association could continue to promote self-regulation and a level playing field.
 

In recent months, certified call centers and VPA members expressed that they get more value from taking the steps to become certified and/or members and comply with the Standards of Conduct. The VPA raised these issues with the Administrator's Council, and from that process came a recommendation that the per-contract fee structure be revised to reflect the commitment that members, and especially certified members, made to stabilize the industry and promote self-regulation. They recognized that working with call centers that are members and/or certified lowers their own potential liability for non-compliant call centers. Thus, they unanimously supported a revised fee structure of $3 for certified members, $6 for members and $10 for nonmembers. The VPA Board approved these fees, effective Dec. 1, 2012, with the hope to incent all call centers throughout the industry to join the VPA and become certified.
 

 
 
 

FTC Robocalling Alert
 

The Federal Trade Commission announced that they filed suit against five companies who were selling credit card services that the FTC claimed were of limited or no value through robodialing. Even though these companies hired others to make calls on their behalf, the FTC alleges in each case that the defendants themselves are legally responsible for making the illegal robocalls. The five cases are part of a federal-state interagency effort to crack down on illegal robocalls. The court in each case shut the business down at the FTC's request. The FTC is seeking to keep the companies closed permanently as well as disgorging all profits the companies made and to refund every consumer who purchased the services.
 

 
 
 

Regulatory Alert!

Can We Sell in Kentucky Yet?
 

Soon! Kentucky passed a bill earlier this year that is now effective that exempts service contracts from the definition of insurance (KY HB 417). However, the Department of Insurance (DOI) hasn't completed its process of repealing all of the regulations that prohibit the sale of service contracts by third parties. The DOI is accepting comments on the repeal through the end of November. The VPA will be submitting comments strongly supporting the immediate repeal of the regulations. The VPA will continue to closely monitor this matter and immediately notify our members when the repeal is final.
 

 
 
 

Call Storage Program
 

The VPA's new call storage 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.
 

 
 
 

Call Monitoring Program
 

The VPA would like to commend Helen Mac Murray, VPA legal counsel, and her staff for initiating and establishing a call monitoring program and laying a solid foundation. We're going to take the program to the next level by negotiating with BPA Quality, an independent third-party company with over 20 years of experience, to provide an outsourced call monitoring program. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org.
 

 
 
 

Website Review Program
 

One of your member benefits is for the VPA to help ensure you are in compliance with the Standards of Conduct. Helen Mac Murray and MPS Lawyers will continue with the VPA website review program, which launched on Nov. 1 and helps ensure member company websites comply with the SOC and all applicable state and federal laws. We've seen great responses so far and expect this program to be another success.
 

 
 
 

Mailer Review Program
 

Similar to the website review program, the VPA will help members review mailers and any other marketing pieces to identify and fix problematic language and ensure all mailers are in compliance with state and federal laws. For more information, contact Chris Carenza at chris@vpanet.org.
 

 
 
 

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. If you would like your company to be featured here and on the website, please contact Chris Carenza for more information on this member benefit.
 

This month the VPA would like to recognize Sandy Gordon of Omnisure for her commitment to Manna on Main Street, an organization in Philadelphia dedicated to ending hunger in the North Penn region through the provision of food, education and social service counseling and emergency referral. Sandy recently participated in the second annual 5K Race & 1 Mile Fun Run and plans to volunteer at the local soup kitchen with her family on Thanksgiving.