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First In-Person Conference in Over a Year Lifts Spirits of Attendees

By Shaun Petersen

It was an honor, privilege, and a whole lot of fun to be a speaker during the recent Compliance Unleashed 2021 in Dallas last week.

It was extremely satisfying to see so many dealers and other industry professionals assemble to gather information on how to run their businesses more effectively, and importantly, to do so with confidence that they are operating within the laws, rules, and regulations that govern the automotive retail industry.

Seeing old friends and making new acquaintances was very welcome. This being one of the first “in-person” events of 2021, it should be a bellwether that live events will once again be the cornerstone of education and training for many dealers and a great way for vendors to engage dealer prospects.

Judging by the visible smiles, handshaking, and numerous interactions during the sessions, breaks, and beverage sharing events, the attendees definitely missed the time spent with their colleagues.

Jason Gosnell, our senior vice president of Business Development, said dealers were very interested hearing about new ways to invest in their businesses with the products and serves provided by the numerous sponsors at the show.

“It was great to see so many of our clients and catch up after such a long time,” Jason said. “Everyone was happy about seeing each other face to face. This event was about reconnecting with our clients. We also met some new prospects, and we’ll be working with them in the weeks ahead.

“There are a lot of good things happening in the BHPH business right now, and there will no doubt be a lot of opportunities in the future.”

I had the honor of being selected as a speaker during the conference, and gave a presentation on Voluntary Protection Products: Compliance Issues to Consider.

While some may have believed legal and regulatory compliance were put on the back burner during recent years, they were still on the stove. Now, the flame has been turned up once again, and dealers should pay close attention.

Just this past week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reached its most recent
 consent order against 3rd Generation — doing business as California Auto Finance — alleging the company charged interest for late payment on its loss damage waiver (LDW) product without its customers’ knowledge.

Disclosure, transparency, fairness, and honesty should be the key drivers in all the products and services dealers provide their clients every day, every time.

During my presentation I pointed out that voluntary protection products such as service contracts, Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) waiver and window etching have been and remain a profit center for franchise and independent dealers across the country.

While some have questioned the value of these “add-on” products to consumers, less attention has been given to their cost. Consumer advocates claim these products are often offered at closing and melded into the total cost of the vehicle without full transparency. In fact, regulators are sometimes left wondering what consumers actually pay for these products.

Even more troublesome is that some dealers offer different consumers different pricing for the same product. Inconsistent pricing can lead to price discrimination, which can result in fines, lawsuits, and, of course, loss of reputation.

At Buckeye Dealership Consulting, we make compliance a priority and encourage you to do the same.  To learn more about the products and services we offer, and the compliance issues you need to consider, please contact me at spetersen@buckeyereinsurance.com.