SELBYVILLE, Del. — The Automotive Warranty & Service Contract Association, which was formed in 2008 to promote regulatory transparency, education, and accountability for the marketing and servicing of extended automotive service contracts, changed its name to the Vehicle Protection Association (VPA).
The VPA will continue to operate with that same core charter but, in light of recent industry events, will now aggressively expand its focus to emphasize consumer protection.
In May 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit against three companies that bombarded consumers with allegedly deceptive "robocalls" in an effort to sell them vehicle service contracts under the guise that they are extensions of original vehicle warranties. According to papers the FTC filed with the court, the robocalls prompted tens of thousands of complaints from consumers.
"Recently, we have had a handful of bad actors tarnish what is otherwise a very reputable and professionally run industry," said Larry Hecker, executive director of the VPA. "Our members are very concerned about this and believe the bad actors should be punished to the full extent of the law. We will also be aggressively implementing a series of initiatives that we believe will ensure that consumers are protected going forward, and that they can continue to reap the many benefits of these service contracts."
The name change, approved by the organization's members on July 16, was made to more correctly define the scope of the organization.
"We, at what is now the Vehicle Protection Association, believe in clarity when dealing with consumers and members," added Hecker. "We hope that with this change in name, we are able to minimize consumer confusion regarding our industry terminology and can begin to take industrywide steps to improve consumer protections."
"The core of our business is helping people to care for what for many is their most prized possession and most valuable asset, their vehicle," noted VPA member Kevin Orr, who runs Mechanical Breakdown Protection, a service contract administrator in Lee's Summit, Missouri. "We are committed to doing everything we can as an association to offer repair coverage beyond the term of the auto manufacturer's warranty and do so in a responsible manner that does right by our customers."
The organization's website, which currently resides at www.warrantybestpractices.com, will shortly be moved to www.vpfacts.com.