The VPA Voice - VPA Newsletter
         
 

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
December 23, 2013

Director's Corner

We want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year! I want to thank all of you for your continued support and commitment to the VPA. We are finishing this year strong and have a lot to look forward to in 2014!

We have several important updates in this issue of The Voice, but first I would like to welcome the VPA's newest members Liberty Protection Group, and GAPP USA, LLC. I'd also like to recognize three of our members recently approved by the Board for recertification – Atlas Auto Protection, Service Protection Direct and Pinnacle Automotive Protection – and the newly certified Imperial Auto Protection. Congratulations!

As we approach the holiday season and head into the new year, it's an appropriate time to reflect on the progress we've made over the last year. We've made tremendous strides implementing new programs and maintaining our commitment to upholding the highest industry standards. At the VPA, we're committed to continuing our efforts to take this Association to the next level in 2014. Your feedback is a crucial part of the success of the Association as a whole. Please feel free to reach out and let us know how we can be of service to you.

All the Best,

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

 
 

The VPA Reminds VSC Call Centers to Provide
Timely Cancellations and Refunds

Business partners are urged to assist in the cancellation process when issues arise.

When consumers aren't able to obtain timely refunds from providers, it is a serious issue for the VPA and our industry. Several attorneys general recently issued press releases regarding the distribution of 19,000 checks paid to consumers who had disputes with US Fidelis, many of which involved cancellation/refund issues. We are on alert for consumer issues regarding failure to refund customers in an appropriate or timely manner.

Some business partners have stepped up to handle issues that arise during the cancellation and refund process and we encourage all business partners to do the same. Consumers who are unable to get a cancellation processed from a vehicle service contract provider are urged to contact the claims number on their policy and request their cancellation. Any problems should be reported directly to the administrator on the contract, or consumers can also contact the VPA More information is available on the VPA website.


VPA Annual Member Dues and Certification Application Fee Reminder

The VPA is committed to promoting fair business practices and exceptional service in the vehicle service contract industry. VPA membership equips automotive protection providers with the tools and resources needed to maintain regulatory compliance and adhere to the industry's highest standards. See the VPA website for some of the benefits of membership. In addition, VPA membership assures customers that your organization is dedicated to ethical business and cost-effective operating practices.

Last year (effective Dec. 1, 2012), the VPA annual member dues were reduced from $2,500 to $2,000. This reduced price will remain in effect for 2014 annual member dues, which were due Dec. 1, 2013. Please see the VPA website for membership renewal forms. Please note, annual dues not received by Dec. 31, 2013 will be considered delinquent and your membership will be canceled. Feel free to contact Chris with any questions at chris@vpanet.org.

We strongly encourage VPA members to go through the certification audit process. The application fee for VPA certifications was also reduced last year from $1,000 to $500, as of Dec. 1, 2012. 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.


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 and no new bills/regulations were introduced this month. To review the complete list of pending bills and regulations as well as a brief description of each, please visit the November Memo and Legislative Monitoring Report on the VPA website.

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


VPA Robodialing – ALERT!

The VPA is continuing its investigation of the reported robodialing scam going on in our industry and would like to reiterate how serious of an issue this is. If you are accepting live transfer voice calls, your company may be at a high risk of becoming a robodialing victim. On a recent trip to California I visited a company that was allegedly selling these types of leads to VSC marketers in our association.

The industry standard for being the target of a law enforcement or regulatory agency is whether you knew or should have known about the activity, which means that actual notice is not required.

This scam can happen a few ways:

1. In one scenario, a robodial lead generator will dial phone numbers to notify people that their factory warranty may have expired and ask them to press 1 for more information. Then, the consumer is prompted to provide the model year of the vehicle and told someone will call back shortly. A live caller then contacts the consumer about five minutes later and transfers them to the call center, which may or may not be aware that the callers are first being robo dialed.

2. Similar to the first scenario, a robodialer will call consumers and screen them to determine if they are interested in a vehicle service contract. If so, the consumer is then provided to the call center as a warm transfer lead.

What can you do if you accept live voice phone transfers? Have your sales representatives ask the consumer how they were dialed and if they were asked to press 1 to be transferred to the call center. Don't become a victim of this scam. Ask consumers if they were asked to press 1.

If consumers report that they had to press 1, immediately stop leads from that provider and notify Chris Carenza. Please provide Chris with a recording of the call, the date and time it occurred as well as the name and contact information of the lead provider. The lead provider will then have to answer to the state Attorneys General office, the FTC/FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Please note that if you do not report such activity, you are at RISK of being reported and becoming a target for the same organizations.

We are actively pursuing this investigation and have already received reports of call centers and lead providers engaged in this activity. We strongly suggest that you take immediate action to stop such activity and contact us with any information you may have on this situation. Report any suspicious activity to Kari or Chris at 314-667-5654 or kari@vpanet.org or chris@vpanet.org.

 
 

License Renewal Update – Missouri

Please note that a number of VPA members will need to renew their license to sell vehicle service contracts in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DFIP) should send a reminder 60-90 days before your license expires, but you can visit their website to take care of license renewal now. Check out the Missouri DFIP website which conveniently walks you through the 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.