What Is the Role of a Service Provider?
Say you need to go to the doctor because you have a pain in your stomach. You call the office to make an appointment. You explain your symptoms, let the receptionist know you’d like to get in as soon as possible, and make the appointment. You don’t expect the receptionist to provide a diagnosis or even recommend a specialist. No, you’d expect to meet with your expert physician and let the healing begin.
Service providers to dealers and finance companies in our industry can be something of a doctor in as much as they can educate, train, support you in the use of GPS devices to protect your collateral and manage the health of your finance portfolio. We are not, however, the specialist who can, or should, make specific recommendations — especially when it comes legal and regulatory compliance.
We can, and do, assist our clients with information to help them avoid trouble. For instance, we highly recommend full disclosure to your customers when devices are placed on vehicles. We want to assist in helping you stay in your lane, but it’s not our role to advise as to what the local, state, and federal rules are governing your business model, in your state.
Here’s what we do recommend. Become an active member of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) and its affiliated National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers (NABD) through your affiliated member state association. Each state association and NIADA proactively works to find the latest information on legal and regulatory compliance and share that information with its members. They host classes, workshops, and issue updates via direct and social media communications. If you are not currently, you should consider joining an NIADA Dealer 20 Group. The group moderators provide a vast amount of information, and fellow group members share their personal experiences and wisdom.
We sit on the NIADA BHPH Commission, which is charged with monitoring and serving as the voice for the BHPH members. The commission ensures that NIADA continues to provide professional, effective representation of the BHPH industry before Congress as well as any federal and state regulatory entities that oversee the industry. We are very involved in advocating for the industry, and support the association’s lobbying efforts, and assist with educating legislators and regulators about the needs and nuances of the BHPH and subprime marketplace.
Finance companies have a wealth of information available to them. Associations like the National Automotive Finance Association (NAF), Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), and the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) among others monitor the legal and regulatory landscape, and share that information with their members. Here too, national new and used dealer associations work closely to monitor information for finance companies.
Also, there are a number of attorneys specializing in the subprime and buy here pay here marketplace. Hudson Cook LLP is one of the top in the country, but there are others as well. You can always check with your state dealer’s association to find a law firm or business dedicated to automotive finance compliance.
Laws, rules, and regulations continually change and are often updated. It’s important for you and your business to be on top of this information. Make the calls, spend some money, and make sure your business is healthy.