Automotive Dealership Compliance: Disaster Scenario

The commotion in your service department sends a shockwave throughout your dealership, and you, the dealer, arrive just in time to witness one of your service techs being handcuffed across the hood of a vehicle in for service.

Your tech has been accused of stealing the checking account number from an old checkbook register in a service customer’s glove compartment, and then draining the customer’s account.

So what are the boundaries of an automotive dealer’s liability because of your rogue employee? Compliance certainly can’t be an issue because your DMS representative and even your garage liability carrier have assured you that with their particular compliance solutions, you are totally compliant.

However, the victim’s attorney, the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum & Howe, later requests a copy of your dealership’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Safeguards Rule Policy and documentation of total staff training (have your service people been trained?) as required by federal regulations. You contact your trusted DMS and garage liability representatives for their help to furnish the documents, only to discover there are none! When they assured you that you were compliant, it turns out they meant you were only compliant with scans for the Red Flags Rule, OFAC and Do Not Call, or in other words, only a small portion of required automotive dealership compliance.

Although the Safeguards Rule does not provide for identity theft victims to directly recover losses and damages, rest assured the victim’s attorney with use your “willful non-compliance” to force a huge settlement, or use it as the highlight of their opening statement to the jury in litigation against you… and you know how juries just love car dealers. And need we mention the potential for class actions with some regulations?

But it only gets worse. Now the feds are investigating and are looking for what they term, “an atmosphere of compliance”, and they also demand to see the same documentation of compliance performance as requested by the victim’s counsel. So what is your liability with the federal government? The fine is $11,000 per day, retroactive from May 23, 2003!!! In other words, tens of millions if they so choose.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, there is no such thing as “fine insurance” provided by your garage liability carrier; they’ll represent you, but you’re on your own when it comes to paying the fines and penalties.

Automotive Dealerships – Creating And Maintaining An “Atmosphere Of Compliance”.

So what about the other federal regulations such as the Red Flags Rule, The Do Not Call Act, and the Patriot Act’s OFAC, and FINCEN regulations? They, too, require that dealers have in place a formal written Policy and documentation of formal staff training for each.

And then there are other dealership compliance regulations where the lack of staff training has cost dealers hundreds of millions over just the past few years; Truth In Lending fraud issues, Sexual Harassment, Diversity issues and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Here are some examples:

– An automotive dealer loses $92 million in a jury verdict because a salesperson said just one thing wrong regarding the Magnuson-Moss’s “warranty of fitness for a particular purpose”.

– A dealer is forced to settle a diversity harassment claim for $400,000.00.

– Several dealers, managers and salespersons across the country served prison terms for fraud and Truth In Lending violations.

– A car dealer settles a sex-and-age discrimination case for over $1.5 million.

In each instance, there was no evidence the automotive dealer was promoting an atmosphere of compliance… specifically, no formal dealership compliance training.

So how can automotive dealers create and maintain an atmosphere of compliance?

1. Appoint a Dealership Program Coordinator to oversee your dealership’s compliance performance.

2. Have in place all required Dealership Compliance Policies signed by employees.

3. Provide all designated staff training at least once a year with documentation available for government inspection or litigation actions. (Note: Simply allowing staff members to read and sign your required dealership Policies IS NOT considered training under these regulations.)

4. Provide all compliance training and required signed Policies as a part of your hiring process complete with documentation.

5. Perform annual compliance inspections and audits annually, once again, with documentation on file.

The Question: “Did the dealer do everything within reason to prevent this violation from occurring, and if so, where is the proof?”

Virtually all automotive dealership compliance fines, penalties, litigation or arbitration decisions revolve around this single question.

In fact, any attorney worth their pinstripes will tell you that the only true dealership compliance litigation defense is to be able to provide documentation of compliance performance – again, specifically, staff training.

Lawmakers understand that you, the dealer, can’t possibly watch every move each of your employees make while conducting business, but they do give you the opportunity to perform dealership compliance elements in order to mitigate liability, or even in some instances, to benefit from safe harbor status.

Therefore, in the eyes of the law, any dealer that chooses to ignore required compliance performance has no respect for the consequences, and generally, the juries and the feds use that opportunity to pile it on.

There is only one way to get the “compliance monkey” off your back? Take care of it right now!

Source by Larry M. White

Automotive Dealership Management Daily Action Steps

Dealership Management is a "big to small" daily thinking and management process. The Service Manager or Fixed Operations Director that can see the "big picture" and then make it into small Action Steps that can be communicated clearly, are measurable and can be implemented is way ahead of the next guy who only focuses on the "big picture . "

As a Leader in your Dealership (Dealer Principals included), the ability to take the biggest challenges and break them down into small chunks of Actionable items is a highly prized and trainable skill. Here are 3 steps steps you can take to start making big mountains into little hills.

Start by measuring the most important Key Performance Indicators every day. This one step takes all of the "this month is terrible" and "I'm having a bad quarter" feelings of doom and gloom out of the equation and lets you focus on the most important pieces of the Profit Puzzle.

How does this happen? When you begin to break down the whole Service Department Operations into smaller pieces of "What can we do today about the Effective Labor Rate?" Egypt "What can I do today to change my Additional Service Requests conversion rate" then you can make real changes where they need to happen … on the ground floor.

This daily monitoring and measuring results results as long as you do something with the information you have collected.

That leads to the second step. Take Action.

After you have measured used and monitored you will have a complete set of good and not so good statistics that will give you some idea of ​​the direction you need to take. That's why it is so important to do it daily. Remember, the goal is to make small corrections to stay on course. In other words, change the big picture with small adjustments, not remake the big picture.

If your Service Advisor has an off day in ASR conversion, make a note of it, and then ask the advisor at the earliest opportunity, "I noticed that yesterday did not seem to go so well for you regarding ASRs. ? " This constant "course correction" will yield sustainable progress.

Lastly, keep your personnel informed.

Tell them, inform them, and communicate with them on a daily and regular basis, not just the "Do you have a minute" conversations that always seem to have a negative connotation.

Have other conversations that start off with "Hey, Mr. Jones was very happy with their car yesterday" or "" Wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job and I am counting on you to lead the way "and other similar conversations . These will keep the personnel up to date and make them feel they are part of the team.

Breaking the "big picture" down into small Actionable Steps is the first step to sustained and reliable Profit. Measure and monitor on a daily basis, take Action on the data collected and keep your person informed and up to date. Before you know it, you will have months of consistent Profit.

Source by Leonard G. Buchholz

Telangana Schools to be Half-Day From March 15

New Delhi, Mar 12: In a relief to thousands of students, Telangana education department has curbed school timing by half, beginning from March 15. The department has issued a memo to all regional and district educational officers.

The circular reads, “Schools i.e. primary, upper primary and high schools of all managements i.e. both government, government aided and private managements will function from 8am to 12.30 pm”.

The department has taken this decision in view of heatwave blowing during the summer. During summers temperature rise to very high level making things difficult for the people. People are seen walking on the streets with their faces covered to beat the heat. School children generally fall sick during this time.

Teachers also demanded the government to reduce the school hours owing to soaring temperature in various parts of the state. Last year, parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are facing a heatwave with the mercury hovering above 40 degrees.

As many as 167 people died reportedly due to heat wave related problems last year. May and June are typically India’s hottest months, when temperatures regularly exceed 40 Celsius in the run-up to the monsoon rains, but the severity of the heat this year has caught many off guard.

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The Revolution in the Auto Industry in India

The first car came to India towards the end of the end of the nineteenth century. This distinction goes to Mumbai than known as Bombay where it appeared in 1898. Soon three more cars followed and by 1910 the number of cars on the road in India had jumped to 1025.

After that first import the Indian Auto industry remained static for a long time till Independence. Most of the cars were imported from UK and Europe and the elite consisting of Maharajas and rich business men were the main users. The Mercedes was the car most beloved by Royalty and a lot many of them found their way to India from Germany.

With the dawn of Independence in 1947 the situation did not change much, as the country adopted a socialistic policy and cars were classified as a luxury. With the result that for almost three decades the Indian car industry was at a standstill. The Government banned imports and in the name of self reliance gave licenses only to 3 car manufacturers like Hindustan Motors, Premier Automobiles and Standard motors to manufacture cars in India. The models churned out were obselete and in a controlled economy these car manufacturers thrived.

The son of India Gandhi Sanjay must take some credit for where India is today. In late seventies and early eighties he experimented with a small car called the Maruti. An untimely death in an air accident put paid to his dreams. But the government stepped in and invited Suzuki of Japan to make small cars. These cars were a runaway success and the earlier manufacturers of the obsolete cars fell by the wayside. In due course premier and Standard shut shop and only the Birla Hindustan motors is barely surviving.

However the monopoly continued and Suzuki had a field day in a controlled market. But things changed in 1991 when Dr Man Mohan Singh ushered in an era of liberalization. India which for decades had been a poor cousin of the bigger players suddenly became a hot market. The big names like Toyota, Honda, GM and others entered into the market.

Things have developed further with the Dilip Chhabria Design Pvt Ltd (DC Design) competing with Pininfarina and Bertone, the Italian standard in international car designers. Thus concept cars, prototypes and limited-production custom made models are also available.

Presently, availability of finance at relatively low rate of interest as well as availability of new models has stirred the demand for vehicles and a strong growth of the Indian automobile industry. Cheap labor and low production cost have resulted in the best of cars from Skoda and not forgetting the Mercedes and BMW to enter India. Foreign investment norms and import of technology have benefited the automobile Industry. The production of total vehicles has increased phenomenally and will touch 10 million in the next couple of years

However a look at the global auto industry shows that all is not well. Recession is rearing its head and the auto industry is ailing. The gap between the manufacturing capacity volume and the assembly volume is growing by the day and has the worried the manufacturers. This has led to cut throat competition in the industry. Cost reduction initiatives have become the rule in the industry today. This is where India scores. Cheap labor and better infrastructure hal attracted a lot of manufacturers to India.

The automotive Industry in India is now working in terms of the dynamics of an open market. The Government of India has reversed its decades old policies and is now keen to move ahead.They would like to create a business environment conducive to the growth of the auto industry. India is heading towards becoming a global Auto hub.Truly a revolution has taken place.The future can only be bright.

Source by Madan G Singh

Retail inflation at 4-mth low of 4.44% on cheaper food, fuel

Milk and its products too were less expensive with inflation print of 4.21 per cent, cereals and products at 2.10 per cent, meat & fish at 3.31 per cent while for eggs the prices grew at a slower pace of 8.51 per cent.

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Fake Education Boards: Data Not Available,Says HRD Min

New Delhi, Mar 12: The HRD Ministry today said it does not maintain any data of fake education boards found functioning in the country.

The minister of State for HRD, Upendra Kushwaha, said in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha that “some instances of functioning of fake education boards have come to the notice of the Ministry”.

“The Ministry, however, does not maintain any centralised data regarding fake education boards functioning in different parts of the country,” he added.

The minister stated that state governments and police authorities have been asked to identify fake education boards functioning in their jurisdiction and register cases against them for misleading people.

In a recent incident, the UP Special Task Force (STF) busted a fake education board that had been running in Lucknow under the name of Uttar Pradesh State Open School Board (UPSOSB) since 2013, and had study centres in seven states.


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Car Paint Restoration Tips and Techniques – Paint Stripping and Sandblasting

Auto body Repairs Using Sand Blasting Equipment:

A restoration requires you to make a choice as to which method you are going to use. In order to do this you really need to categorize the levels of restoration.

Category One – Light to Medium fix ups

Mechanical repairs and repainting

The basic mechanical work is done first to ensure safety of the vehicle components. This followed by minor body works and refinishing touch ups.

Mechanical repairs with replacements and refinishing

Some mechanical parts are replaced as needed. Little more detail is required in the bodywork.

Category Two – In Depth Restoration

Similar to the mechanical repairs with replacements with the refinishing more in depth. Some taking apart of the vehicle is required to attend to rust and corrosion of key parts. Items have to cleaned, refurbished or replaced such as drive train parts, suspension and underbody parts. Close color match of body is required and trim may need replacing. Cars restored under this category are often pampered and not used on a daily basis.

Category Three – Just off the Assembly Line

Restoration here entails making the car look like it’s just been manufactured. Showroom quality. No body fill can be used in these restorations as well as fiberglass body panels except for some Corvettes.

Category Four – Show Piece

This is the museum category and is really not applicable because they are those that are only found in the Museums.

Getting Down to Sandblasting

Sandblasters work off of compressed air and are either pressure feed or suction feed which are the cheaper of the two. The only drawback is that part of their energy goes into drawing up the material however; they don’t require an expensive pressure tank. Pressure feeds do require a pressurized tank, but they work extremely well.

Sandblasting is effective cost saving and messy. Should only be done outdoors. With the right grade of sand the results taking it right down to the metal and removing the rust pits. It works effectively on other parts as well. Make sure you apply a flash rust treatment to prevent rust till you get the primer on.

The one thing to remember about sandblasting is do not over do it. As soon as you hit the bare metal stop.

You can use silica sand for various other grades just be sure to be careful with what you use. For light touches, you can use the ground or English walnut shells.

The siphon blasters are a lot less expensive than the pressure blasters. Remember to remove the hardware and trim before blasting and make sure you wear the proper body protection as well ensuring you have a proper hood and gloves. Preferably, a supplied air hood would be ideal.

Sandblasting can be extremely effective provided the right techniques, tools and materials are used in a safe environment. Many individuals are against sand blasting because of the damage it can cause. They are right it can work against you but only if you go beyond what is required. The whole key to success is stopping when you hit the bare metal.

Source by Mario Goldstein