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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

M A S S A C H U S E T T S / N E W

E N G L A N D

DEALER NEWS O FFI CIAL PUB LI CATI O N O F THE M A S SACHUSE T T S / NE W E N G L AND IND E PE ND E NT AUT O M O B ILE D E ALE R S A S S O CIATI O N

Regulatory Landscape Feeling Tougher? Y O U ’ R E

N O T

A L O N E

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• ADVERTISING OR MARKETING? • CREDIT REPORTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW • FULL-SERVICE AUCTIONS

DALLAS, TEXAS Permit No. 2079

PAID

PRSRT Standard U.S. Postage

Visit us at w w w.miada.com

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MARKETING NEWS

Report: Expect to See More Hybrids

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MAGAZINE CONTENTS

06 10 12 16 22

Advertising or Marketing? Credit Reports: What You Need to Know Form 8300 Reporting Full-Service Auctions Compliance Overdrive

BOARD OF DIRECTORS President of MA John Elefetherakis John’s Auto Sales 617-628-5511 johnnycars@comcast.net

Treasurer of MA Eric Schneider The Garage 508-583-5955 rickthegarage@gmail.com

VP of MA Bob Hayes Auto Towne Rentals Inc 781-878-9656 bobh4433@aol.com

Clerk of MA Melissa Otis Oakland Auto Sales 508-822-8822 oaklandautosales@aol.com

ADVERTISERS INDEX

ADESA........................................................................... 15 Ally................................................................................. 11 AutoTrader.com ...............................................................3 Auto Use........................................................................ 18 Dodah.com .....................................................................7 Lynnway Auto Auction......................................................5 Manheim.com ...............................................................17 Manheim New England........................ Inside Front Cover NIADA Certified............................................................. 20 Persian Acceptance Corp............................................. 19 Protective ........................................................................9 Southern Auto Auction.................................... Back Cover Stream Companies ............................. Inside Back Cover Voisys ........................................................................... 22 Westlake Financial........................................................ 13

MIADA/NE OFFICE FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER OF MIADA/ NE, PLEASE CONTACT THE MIADA OFFICE AT 781-278-0077 OR INFO@MIADA.COM NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION WWW.NIADA.COM • WWW.NIADA.TV NIADA HEADQUARTERS: 2521 BROWN BLVD. • ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203 PHONE (817) 640-3838 FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT: TROY GRAFF (800) 682-3837 OR TROY@NIADA.COM.

The MA/New England Dealer News is published bi-monthly by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Services Corporation, 2521 Brown Blvd., Arlington, TX 76006-5203; phone 817-640-3838. Periodicals postage paid at Dallas, TX and at additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to NIADA State Publications, 2521 Brown Blvd., Arlington, TX 76006-5203. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Independent Auto Dealer or the National Independent Atomobile Dealers Association. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or their identification as members of MIADA or NIADA, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services featured. Copyright © 2011 by NIADA Services, Inc. All rights reserved. STATE MAGAZINE MGR./SALES Troy Graff • troy@niada.com EDITOR Andy Friedlander • andy@niada.com ART/PRODUCTION MGR. Christy Haynes • christy@niada.com PRINTING Nieman Printing

Expect to see more hybrids cruising around the world’s highways in the next few years. According to market research report distributor ReportStack.com, the global hybrid car market is expected to grow at a rate of 18.92 percent over the next three years. The cause for the potential double-digit growth: increasing global oil consumption, the report, titled “Global Hybrid Car Market 2011-2015,” explained. Moreover, as governments around the world try to cut down on fuel emissions, the hybrid car market has “been witnessing an increase in initiatives by governments to create awareness and acceptance of hybrid cars,” the report said. The report also cites labor arbitrage, such as the various advantages offered by the hybrid car to the end user, such as energy efficiency, less pollution, better performance, reduced dependency on natural resources and more, as reasons for the hybrid market expansion. That said, even with the push from politicians, the high cost of hybrid cars is acting as a barrier to the market growth, the report said. ‘’With the time and research on the development of the battery systems of hybrid cars, the overall cost of batteries and total cost of ownership will decrease,” an analyst from the publishing automotive team said. “By 2014, the total cost of ownership of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a battery of 10 kilowatt-hours will be below that of an internal combustion engine vehicle, and by 2017, the total cost of ownership of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a battery of 15 KWh will be lower than an internal combustion engine vehicle. “The total cost of ownership of battery electric vehicles will be less than an internal combustion engine vehicle by 2020 with the development of batteries. This reduction in cost will fuel the growth of the global hybrid car market.” Who will benefit most from this potential growth? The vendors currently dominating the hybrid market space include Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Ford Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., the report noted. General Motors Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen Group are also expected to play a role in the future fuel-efficient vehicle market.

I N D U S T R Y U P D AT E

NIADA’s Petersen Joins NMVTIS Advisory Board Independent dealers were given a voice in the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) when NIADA legislative /regulatory/compliance counsel Shaun Petersen was named to the NMVTIS Advisory Board. Petersen becomes the second auto industry representative on the 27-member board, joining James Moors of the National Auto Dealers Association. Moors, who represents new car dealers, suggested adding Petersen to the board to represent the used car business, Petersen said. “My appointment to the board will bring the voice of the used car dealer to the table,” Petersen said. “NIADA is seen as an independent and different voice from the new car dealer. I think it is significant they sought us out.” The board – which also includes members representing the insurance industry, the salvage industry, law enforcement, consumer advocates, state departments of motor vehicles, organizations focused on preventing vehicle-related crime and the system’s technology partners – was established to advise the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance on ways to promote the effective and efficient administration of the NMVTIS program and database. NMVTIS was created to prevent the introduction of stolen vehicles into commerce, to protect states and consumers from fraud, to reduce the use of stolen vehicles for illicit purposes and to provide consumer protection from unsafe vehicles. NMVTIS reports provide title and branding data, odometer readings, total loss history and salvage history. Insurance carriers, auto recyclers and junk and salvage yards are required to report data to the system, and states must perform an NMVTIS check before issuing a title.

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T H E Y ’ R E N O T N E C E S S A R I LY O N E A N D T H E S A M E

Advertising or Marketing? Webster’s defines advertising as the action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid announcement. Webster’s defines marketing as the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service. Similar, but different. Just like the lifelong struggle between good and evil, whether to put resources into advertising to increase traffic (and thus sales) or apply efforts to marketing to increase traffic (and thus sales) is a constant battle for today’s Buy Here-Pay Here dealer. As with life, both have their place and, to some extent, are necessary. Deciding which basket you should put the most eggs in depends on a few factors. If the goal is to increase overall market share, advertising gets most of the eggs. If building through repeat and referrals is the goal, marketing gets the eggs. And for those wanting the best of both worlds, the eggs should be split equally between the two baskets. When it comes to the advertising basket, as with the marketing basket, how the eggs are distributed within plays an integral part in the overall effectiveness. There are four main types of advertising media that seem to be the most effective for the BHPH industry: television, radio, Internet and print. Television seems to be the most popular among BHPH dealers. The keys to effective television advertising are not only being on the right stations, but also on the right programs at the right times. That’s especially true when running commercials on local stations. Having a large number of cheap spots appearing between midnight and 6 a.m. will likely only be seen by a select few, who might not be your idea of the few you want to select. In markets where satellite service is prominent, local stations are the best bet. Again, pick the station or stations that offer programming your customers are watching. A spot airing during Judge Judy will probably produce more business than the same spot airing during 60 Minutes. In markets where cable service is more prominent, there is usually more bang for the buck. Most cable providers offer packages of channels in which any combination of channels

offered can be chosen. As with local stations, timing and program selection are key. A spot airing during Ultimate UFC Fight Night is likely to produce more than the same spot during SportsCenter. As with all television advertising, choose programming and times that fit your customers’ viewing habits, not yours. Radio is the next as far as popularity. As with television, pick the times and stations that fit your customers’ listening habits. A simple way to gauge that is by making note of what stations are programmed into the radio when a vehicle is traded in, or noting which station the customer turns on during a test drive. Doing that costs nothing and tends to be more reliable than expensive radio surveys. Use of the Internet has picked up drastically in the past year. Gone are the days when only big BHPH dealers had websites – websites have become the rule, not the exception. The Internet is proving to be the best way to reach the new credit-challenged customer – the customer who previously received bank financing but now, due to economic challenges, must seek alternate financing. That customer has a tendency to be a web shopper, so not only having a website, but an effective one is paramount to capturing him. Just to put Internet usage in perspective, a recent study by AutoTrader and the National Alliance of BHPH Dealers revealed 80 percent of customers in the BHPH market surveyed had done significant research online prior to purchasing. Our customers are online. At least 80 percent of them, anyway. Last on the advertising list is print. While print has been a staple for the new car industry, it hasn’t produced the same success for BHPH dealers. Beside the cost factor, overall circulation is substantially down, as witnessed by some very prominent newspaper closings recently – thanks in part to the emergence of the Internet. For BHPH, what are known as “throwaways” – free publications found at the local grocery store, such as The Thrifty Nickel and Star Shopper – seem to be most effective. Billboards can also be classified in this category, but as with most things in business, location is the key. When it comes to the marketing basket, a few methods have proven effective for BHPH

dealers, including repeat and referral programs, promotions, giveaways and the Internet. All BHPH dealers should have some eggs in this basket. The most popular form of marketing is repeat and referral programs. Some examples of repeat programs are lower interest rates, lower down payments and a free vehicle after a certain number of vehicles have been purchased. Referral programs include cash for each customer referred, scratch-off cards with varying rewards for each customer referred and a free vehicle after a certain number of referrals. With the current state of the auto industry, BHPH dealers are extending their referral programs to new car dealers to capitalize on the lack of funding available. Those tend to be a little more costly, but are worth it as the customers turned down are definitely in the market to buy. Promotions and giveaways are becoming more and more prevalent and are proving to be effective. They include everything from drawings for cash or gift certificates to incentivizing ontime payments to promotions in which paying off a vehicle is the grand prize. Five years ago, only a handful of BHPH dealers were doing any of those. Now very few dealers aren’t involved in that type of marketing. The Internet has become a good marketing source as usage has increased in the last few years. Where once it seemed very few BHPH customers had access to the worldwide web, it now seems just about all do. Online payments and online application options are the two most prevalent web offerings. Dealers are also taking advantage of their websites to tell their story – a chance to explain some basic policies and procedures and set customers’ minds at ease that their credit history is understood. Advertising and marketing play valuable roles in building and maintaining a successful BHPH operation, and both of those baskets need some eggs. Just remember, both should be geared to your customer base, not you.

BY BRENT CARMICHAEL EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE MODERATOR NCM ASSOCIATES INC. BCARMICHAEL@NCM20.COM

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EXTENDED COMMITMENT

Rent-A-Wreck Offers $1,000 Off a Franchise MARKETING NEWS

NIADA’s Two for One: CMD and 20 Groups in October Are you content with your current profits? Not many of us are. Most dealers are looking for the magic that will take their profits to the next level. NIADA has spent much of this summer reviewing data, talking to dealers and exploring ways to make that magic happen. The result – the first NIADA Dealer 20 Group – is scheduled to meet Oct. 11-12 at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. This group is unique, designed for both the retail and the Buy Here-Pay Here dealer – or the dealer who does both. It reflects the independent industry as we know it today. The composite, which will drive the group analysis, was created with your dealership in mind, analyzing the numbers crucial to your bottom line. The group will be led by NIADA director of dealer development Joe Lescota and Kenny Loveless, a 30-plus-year veteran independent dealer who recently retired after selling his highly successful BHPH dealership in Virginia. “This approach is no nonsense,” Lescota said in a recent discussion. “It is about looking at the math of the dealer’s business and showing him where he is and helping him get where he wants to be. It’s a 20 Group, so it’s a collective effort to improve the business and the industry.” For more information, email Lescota at joe@niada.com, or call Georgia Brown, NIADA director of education, at 800-682-3837. And while you’re there, consider this: NIADA’s fall Certified Master Dealer course is scheduled for Oct. 8-10, also in Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s right. You can get two for the price of one airfare! Attend the CMD class, then stay over for the first meeting of the NIADA 20 Groups. Same place. Visit www.niada.com for an application or send an email request to georgia@ niada.com. MOBILE NEWS

Autobytel Launches Mobile Website Autobytel Inc. has launched a dedicated mobile version of its website. Studies show shoppers prefer using a browser to a downloadable mobile app, so Autobytel’s mobile website was developed from the ground up with today’s mobile consumer in mind. Autobytel mobile includes many of the popular features on the full website built specifically for the mobile environment. The site features a customized dealer directory that allows consumers to find local dealers as well as new and used vehicle research and automotive industry news, and customized shopping tools such as a used car finder, car calculators and the ability to determine used car values and submit purchase requests directly to dealers. For more information, visit www.autobytel.com.

Rent-A-Wreck of America, a franchise company with more than 150 used car rental locations throughout the U.S., is now offering NIADA members a $1,000 discount off the purchase of a franchise. Rent-A-Wreck, an endorsed NIADA National Member Benefit Partner, has extended its commitment to independent dealers by pledging to contribute $1,000 to the dealer’s state association or the national association for every franchise sold to an NIADA member. Since 1973, Rent-A-Wreck of America has offered used car dealers a franchise they can operate at their existing retail sales lot to bring extra revenue and additional foot traffic with little additional overhead. “Our franchise brings used car dealers everything they need to become a player in their local car rental marketplace,” Rent-A-Wreck of America vice president of operations Michael DeLorenzo said. “We have financing, insurance, a global reservation system and a comprehensive and sophisticated training system that makes car rental a near turnkey opportunity for a used car dealer. “Rent-A-Wreck is a great brand with a long and successful history with used car dealers. Our franchisees who are used car dealers see the benefit of additional cash flow and profits from rentals, but also see that the increased foot traffic helps them sell more cars as well.” Rent-A-Wreck franchise owners receive access to a fleet leasing and purchase program that includes access to closed factory sales, a reservation system connected to multiple global booking channels, online travel agencies, rentawreck.com and 1-800 telephone reservations, point of sale integration with the reservation system, a comprehensive training program in pre-open and post-open phases, a dedicated area representative for recurrent and ongoing needs, insurance and more. For more information, visit www.rentawreck.com/NIADA or call (469) 939-6132 to speak to a company representative.

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F E D E R A L T R A D E C O M M I S S I O N G U I D E ( W W W. F T C . G O V )

IN THE INDUSTRY

Credit Reports: What Information Providers Need To Know The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to protect the privacy of credit report information and to guarantee that information supplied by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) is as accurate as possible. If you report information about consumers to a CRA, you are considered a “furnisher” of information under the FCRA. The responsibilities of information providers are explained here. Items 2 and 5 apply only to furnishers who provide information to CRAs “regularly and in the ordinary course of their business.” All information providers must comply with the other responsibilities. 1. General prohibition on reporting inaccurate information: You may not furnish information you know – or consciously avoid knowing – is inaccurate. If you “clearly and conspicuously” provide consumers with an address for dispute notices, you are exempt from this obligation but subject to the duties discussed in item 3. What does “clear and conspicuous” mean? Reasonably easy to read and understand. For example, a notice buried in a mailing is not clear or conspicuous. 2. Correcting and updating information: If you discover you’ve supplied one or more CRAs with incomplete or inaccurate information, you must correct it, resubmit it to each CRA and report only the correct information in the future. 3. Responsibilities after notice of a consumer dispute from a consumer: If a consumer writes to the address you specify for disputes to challenge the accuracy of any information you furnished and if the information is, in fact, inaccurate, you must report only the correct information to CRAs in the future. If you are a regular furnisher, you will also have to satisfy the duties in item 2. Once a consumer has given notice that he or she disputes information, you may not give that information to any CRA without also telling the CRA that the information is in dispute. 4. Responsibilities after receiving notice from a consumer reporting agency: If a CRA notifies you that a consumer disputes information

you provided: • You must investigate the dispute and review all relevant information provided by the CRA about the dispute. • You must report your findings to the CRA. • If your investigation shows the information to be incomplete or inaccurate, you must provide corrected information to all national CRAs that received the information. • You should complete these steps within the time period the FCRA sets for the CRA to resolve the dispute – normally 30 days after receipt of a dispute notice from the consumer. If the consumer provides additional relevant information during the 30-day period, the CRA has 15 days more. The CRA must give you all relevant information it gets within five business days of receipt, and must promptly give you additional relevant information provided from the consumers. If you do not investigate and respond with the specified time periods, the CRA must delete the disputed information from its files. 5. Reporting voluntary account closings: You must notify CRAs when consumers voluntarily close credit accounts. That is important because some information users might interpret a closed account as an indicator of bad credit unless it is clearly disclosed that the consumer – not the creditor – closed the account. 6. R  eporting delinquencies: If you report information about a delinquent account that’s placed for collection, charged to profit or loss, or subject to any similar action, you must, within 90 days after you report the information, notify the CRA of the month and year of the commencement of the delinquency that immediately preceded your action. That will ensure CRAs use the correct date when computing how long derogatory information can be kept in a consumer’s file. How do you report accounts you have charged off or placed for collection? A few examples: • A consumer became delinquent on

March 15, 1998. The creditor placed the account for collection on October 1, 1998. In that case, the delinquency began on March 15, 1998. The date the creditor placed the account for collection has no significance for calculating how long the account can stay on the consumer’s credit report. In that case, the date that must be reported to CRAs within 90 days after you first report the collection action is March 1998. • A consumer fell behind on monthly payments in January 1998, then brought the account current in June 1998, paid on time and in full every month through October 1998 but thereafter made no payments. The creditor charged off the account in December 1999. In that case, the most recent delinquency began when the consumer failed to make the payment due in November 1998. The earlier delinquency is irrelevant. The creditor must report the November 1998 date within 90 days of reporting the charge-off. For example, if the creditor charged off the account in December 1999 and reported the charge-off on Dec. 31, 1999, the creditor must provide the month and year of the delinquency – November 1998 – within 90 days of Dec. 31, 1999. • A consumer’s account became delinquent on Dec. 15, 1997. The account was first placed for collection on April 1, 1998. Collection was not successful. The merchant placed the account with a second collection agency on June 1, 2003. The date of the delinquency for reporting purposes is December 1997. Repeatedly placing an account for collection does not change the date the delinquency began. • A consumer’s credit account became delinquent on April 15, 1998. The consumer made partial payments for the next five months but never brought the account current. The merchant placed the account for collection in May 1999. Since the account was never brought current during the period partial payments were made, the delinquency that immediately preceded the collection commenced in April 1998, when the consumer first became delinquent.

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IRS STEPPING UP FORM 8300 COMPLIANCE AUDITS

IRS Form 8300 Reporting Shaun Peterson, legislative counsel for NIADA, recently reported that the IRS is stepping up compliance audits regarding Form 8300, “Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business.” The law requires trades and businesses to report cash payments of more than $10,000 to the federal government by filing Form 8300, a joint form issued by the IRS and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The information provided on the form assists law enforcement in its antimoney laundering efforts. Transactions that require Form 8300 include, but are not limited to: • Pre-existing debt payments. • Making or repaying a loan. • Sale of goods/services. • Sale of real property. • Rental of real or personal property. • Exchange of cash for other cash. Businesses must report cash payments received, if all of the following criteria are met: • The amount of cash is more than $10,000. • The business receives the cash as one lump sum of more than $10,000, installment payments that cause the total cash received within one year of the initial payment to total more than $10,000, or previously unreported payments that cause the total cash received within a 12-month period to total more than $10,000. • The establishment receives the cash in the ordinary course of a trade or business. • The same agent or buyer provides the cash. • The business receives the cash in a single transaction or in related transactions. Cash Includes Cash includes the coins and currency of the United States and foreign countries. Cash may also include cashier’s checks, bank drafts, traveler’s checks and money orders with a face value of $10,000 or less, if the business receives the instrument in a designated reporting transaction, as defined below, or in any transaction in which the business knows the customer is trying to avoid reporting of the transaction on Form 8300. Example: Tom Greenwood purchases a used car from XYZ Auto Dealership for a total of $12,000. He pays with a cashier’s check having a face value of $12,000. The cashier’s check is not treated as cash because its face value is more than $10,000. The business does not need to file Form 8300. A designated reporting transaction is the retail sale of any of the following: • A consumer durable, such as an automobile, boat or property other than land or buildings that is suitable for personal use, can reasonably be

expected to last at least one year under ordinary use, has a sales price of more than $10,000 and can be seen or touched (tangible property). • A collectible such as a work of art, rug, antique, metal, gem, stamp or coin. • Travel or entertainment, if the total sales price of all items sold for the same trip or entertainment event in one transaction or related transactions is more than $10,000. The total sales price of all items sold for a trip or entertainment event includes the sales price of items such as airfare, hotel rooms and admission tickets. Example: Ed Johnson asks a travel agent to charter a passenger airplane to take a group to a sports event in another city. He also asks the travel agent to book hotel rooms and admission tickets for the group. He pays with two money orders, each for $6,000. Since each money order was less than $10,000, the travel agent has received more than $10,000 cash in the designated reporting transaction and must file Form 8300. Cash Does Not Include Cash does not include personal checks drawn on the account of the writer. Example: Jim Roberts purchases an automobile from ABC Auto Dealers for $19,000. He pays with $4,000 in currency and a personal check in the amount of $15,000. Since a personal check is not considered cash, ABC Auto Dealers does not need to file a Form 8300. Cash does not include a cashier’s check, bank draft, traveler’s check or money order with a face value of more than $10,000. When a customer uses currency of more than $10,000 to purchase a monetary instrument, the financial institution issuing the cashier’s check, bank draft, traveler’s check or money order is required to report the transaction by filing FinCEN Form 104, “Currency Transaction Report.” Cash does not include a cashier’s check, bank draft, traveler’s check or money order received in payment for a consumer durable or collectible if all three of the following statements are true: • The business receives it under a payment plan requiring one or more down payments and payment of the rest of the purchase price by the date of the sale. • The business receives it more than 60 days before the date of the sale. • The business uses payment plans with the same or substantially similar terms when selling to ultimate customers in the ordinary course of its trade or business. Definition of a Related Transaction The law requires trades and businesses to report transactions when customers use cash in a single transaction or related transactions. Related transactions are transactions between a payer, or an agent of the payer, and a recipient of cash that occur within a

24-hour period. If the same payer makes two or more transactions totaling more than $10,000 in a 24-hour period, the business must treat the transactions as one transaction and report the payments. A 24-hour period is 24 hours, not necessarily a calendar day or banking day. Example: A retail motorcycle dealer sells a motorcycle for $9,000 in cash to Gary Jones at 10 a.m. During the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Jones returns to buy another motorcycle for his son and pays $9,000 in cash. Since both transactions occurred within a 24-hour period, they are related transactions, and the motorcycle dealer must file Form 8300. Transactions are also related even if they are more than 24 hours apart when a business knows, or has reason to know, that each is a series of connected transactions. Example: A client pays a travel agent $8,000 in cash for a trip. Two days later, the same client pays the travel agent $3,000 more in cash to include another person on the trip. These are related transactions, and the travel agent must file Form 8300. Example: A customer purchases a vehicle for $9,000 and then within the next 12 months pays the dealership additional cash of $1,500 for items such as a new transmission, accessories, customized paint job, etc. The dealership is not required to file a Form 8300, if the additional transactions are not part of the original sales contract and the customer has no additional legal obligation to make such additional transactions. Reporting Suspicious Transactions There might be situations where the business is suspicious about a transaction. A transaction is suspicious if it appears a person is trying to prevent a business from filing Form 8300; if it appears a person is trying to cause a business to file a false or incomplete Form 8300; or if there is a sign of possible illegal activity. The business should report suspicious activity by checking the “suspicious transaction” box on the top line of Form 8300. Businesses are also encouraged to call the IRS Criminal Investigation Division Hotline at 800-800-2877 or the local IRS criminal investigation unit. If a business suspects a transaction is related to terrorist activity, the business should call the Financial Institutions Hotline at 866-556-3974. The business can voluntarily file a Form 8300 in situations in which a transaction is for $10,000 or less and suspicious. When to Report Payments Generally, a business must file Form 8300 within 15 days after the cash is received. If the 15th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the business must file the report on the next business day. C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 4

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CONTINUING A TREND OF SOFTENING PRICES C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 2

IRS Form 8300 Reporting

Multiple Payments In some situations, the payer can arrange to pay in cash installment payments. If the first payment is more than $10,000, a business must file Form 8300 within 15 days. If the first payment is not more than $10,000, the business adds the first payment and any later payments made within one year of the first payment. When the total cash payments exceed $10,000, the business must file Form 8300 within 15 days. After a business files Form 8300, it must start a new count of cash payments received from that buyer. If a business receives more than $10,000 in additional cash payments from that buyer within a 12-month period, it must file another Form 8300 within 15 days of the payment that causes the additional payments to total more than $10,000. If a business must file Form 8300 and the same customer makes additional payments within the 15 days before the business must file Form 8300, the business can report all the payments on one form. Example: On January 10, a customer makes a cash payment of $11,000 to a business. The same customer makes additional payments on the same transaction of $4,000 on February 15, $5,000 on March 20, and $6,000 on May 12. By January 25, the business must file Form 8300 for the $11,000 payment. By May 27, the business must file another Form 8300 for the additional payments that total $15,000. Required Written Statement for Customers When a business files a Form 8300, the law requires the business to provide a written statement to each person named on Form 8300 to notify them that the business has filed the form. The statement must include the name and address of the cash recipient’s business, the name and telephone number of a contact person for the business, the total amount of reportable cash received in a 12-month period and a statement that the cash recipient is reporting the information to the IRS. The only exception to the customer’s notice requirement is when the Form 8300 was filed for suspicious activity. In that event, it is actually illegal for the business to notify the customer the Form 8300 was filed. When to Provide a Statement to the Customer The business must provide the written statement to its identified customers on or before January 31 of the year after the year in which the customer made the cash payment that caused the business to file Form 8300. A business that chooses to mail the statement must mail the statement in a timely manner to ensure the customer receives the statement by January 31. IRS Form 8300 and additional instructions can be found at www.irs.gov.

Black Book: More Used Cars Will Cause Price Drop Black Book is predicting an additional 900,000 used vehicles will hit the market in 2012 – the effect of a hot new-car market – calling the massive influx a “glaring reason” for the drop in used prices that has already begun. What’s more, if the new car market gets even hotter in 2013, used prices will fall further, the company said. Black Book cited an outside prediction putting total new vehicle sales for 2012 (retail and non-retail) at 14.2 million units, which would be an increase of 1.5 million units over last year. Black Book’s Ricky Beggs said 60 percent of those additional new vehicle sales are likely to have a trade-in attached, putting 900,000 additional used cars into the market. “Almost a million more used vehicles will be added to the industry this year as a result of more trade-ins on new car sales,” Beggs said. “This is a significant driver of lower prices, combined with additional rental cars being sold at auction and dealers preparing for the coming 2013 models.” So how big an impact does 900,000 additional used units make? Consider: Three years ago, 750,000 units were taken out of the used vehicle market thanks to the so-called “Cash for Clunkers” program, and Black Book noted, “At the time, the auto community thought that would have a profound impact on the industry. By comparison, this year the industry will be adding 900,000 vehicles into the system, which is a glaring reason why prices are falling.” Continuing a trend of softening prices, Beggs said in his June 18 report “Beggs on the Used Car Market” that the week ending June 15 showed car segment prices dipping $31 on average, with only one segment showing an increase. The downturn in truck prices was even steeper ($60). Black Book said used car prices will continue to decline “well into next year assuming 2013 SAAR increases further.” Sales Projections There are likely to be 4.43 million used sales in June, according to data from CNW Marketing Research. That would be down from 4.49 million used sales in June 2011 and up from 4.31 million in May, the firm said. CNW said the “true delivery rate” for used sales – similar to the seasonally adjusted annualized rate often used by analysts in discussing new vehicle sales – was 40.19 million in June, down from 43.58 million in May. CNW said the true delivery rate has stayed above 40 million for every month of 2012 except March, when it dropped to 38.54 million. The latest forecast from J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network and LMC Automotive projected 994,800 new car retail sales in June, a 15 percent rise from June 2011 after adjusting for one more selling day in June 2012. The resulting SAAR would be 11.9 million. Analysts are expecting 1.27 million total new vehicle sales in June (retail and non-retail), which would be up 16 percent over June last year. That would translate to a total SAAR of 13.9 million. The firms said the projections for June were based on the first 17 selling days of the month. For the rest of 2012, LMC held its total new sales forecast at 14.5 million and kept its retail projection at 11.6 million. “Despite a rising level of uncertainty with the economic recovery, consumers remain resilient in their willingness to purchase new vehicles,” LMC Automotive senior vice president of forecasting Jeff Schuster said. “Concerns regarding the macro-economic environment and another potential summer slowdown have increased, but we expect the sales pace to remain strong and stable throughout the second half of the year.”

BY JOE OVERBY EDITOR, AUTO REMARKETING

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T E C H N O L O GY A N D N E C E S S I T Y E X PA N D T H E S E R V I C E S O F F E R E D B Y A U C T I O N S

Back to the Basics: On the Block

Auto auctions today are full-service operations with a growing list of options to keep inventory rolling. The infusion of the Internet into the traditional auction business model has been, arguably, the most significant change in recent years. “The Internet keeps expanding and expanding,” said Charlotte Pyle, owner of Capital City Auto Auction in West Virginia and president of the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA). “I attended an auction recently and the entire lane was not there. They sold every car from a TV screen.” An increasing number of websites are emerging with features allowing dealers to shop for cars across the country without ever leaving the office. IndependentAuctions.com, for instance, has more than 67,000 searchable vehicles from 69 member auctions and boasts more than 41,000 registered dealers on the site. On any given week some 27,000 vehicles are sold. The site contains the inventory, postsale reporting and account management tools to help automotive professionals buy, sell and research vehicles from independently owned locations. ADESA, which operates 68 auctions throughout North America, has been one of the industry leaders in embracing online auctions. “Our biggest news as of late was the acquisition of OpenLane last fall,” said Tom Caruso, ADESA president and CEO and a recent inductee into the National Independent Auto Dealers Association Ring of Honor. “This industry-leading technology will help dealers as they expand their reach outside of their local markets in the online market. We are really excited about the progress we are making bridging our physical auctions and our online tool, ADESA OpenLane, to create a better buyer experience.” Auction Options While the economic issues of the past few years have meant fewer vehicles coming to auction, it has forced auctions to increase their level of service, Pyle said. “Volumes are down for the leases and repos, so auctions have opened up to do more outside work,” Pyle said. Auctions have stepped up floorplanning – providing the inventory loans that are a primary source of financing for dealers to purchase inventory to then resell, either from the showroom or in a wholesale format.

Post-sale inspections have become an expected feature at auctions to give dealers assurance and peace of mind for both their in-lane and online wholesale purchases. “A dealer purchasing a post-sale inspection has assurance that the vehicle purchased passed a rigorous test, was properly represented by the seller and that Perry’s Auto Auction guarantees that the vehicle meets the dealer’s expectations,” noted an item on the website of Perry’s Auto Auction in central Georgia. Most auctions with post-sale inspections follow a checklist of items that would cost $500 or more each to repair or replace. That includes checking the frame or unibody for structural damage as well as checking the paint, transmission, air conditioning system and brakes. They also check for things like odometer verification, flood inspection and emission control. Often there’s nothing mechanically wrong with a vehicle – it’s just dirty. But that’s OK, because many auctions are trumpeting reconditioning packages for dealers. At the Greater Erie Auto Auction, serving Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland and Pittsburgh, a $95 “full detail” comes with an exterior wash, engine clean, exterior buff, interior clean and tire dressing. At a minimum, they’ll wash it for $10. Auctions also offer around-the-clock security for safe vehicle drop-offs, car title verification and transportation of vehicles. “Some of our dealers are heavily dependent on these truckers delivering the cars to the auctions, and over time the gas bill adds up,” Pyle said. Dealer Reaction Roger Montbleau, owner of Chelmsford Street Auto Sales in Lowell, Mass., buys cars at auction weekly. He’ll typically shell out money for the post-sale check his local auction offers as an extra service. “Good cars are not as plentiful as they used to be,” Montbleau said. “A lot of people mask these vehicles that come through. We need someone who can give us a certification. People aren’t as forthright as we want them to be.” If the cars he brings to the auction do not sell, Montbleau said, he appreciates the auctioneers washing it before the next scheduled date. Stanley Thompson, owner of First Auto Sales in Bradenton, Fla., visits the auction about three times a month and sells 25 to 30 cars per month. “Auctions give you a greater selection at

competitive prices you can’t get anywhere else,” Thompson said. Still, the new lineup of auction services has not exactly won him over. “We do everything in-house,” said Thompson, who has been in business for 20 years. “We know what we’re doing.” Indeed, as much as auctions keep working to enhance their services, some dealers would still rather do without. In fact, some avoid auctions altogether, choosing to get their inventory from other sources. Jay Iverson, manager of Carz Central in Estherville, Iowa, is not a fan of auctions, period. “Other than the fact that the cars are there, there’s not a whole lot I like about auctions,” Iverson said. “There’s a lot of politics involved. The rules keep changing. There’s no consistency.” David Shoffner, owner of David Shoffner‘s Auto Sales in Redding, Calif., visits the auction twice a week. He likes the guarantee that the title is always good. “Whereas buying them off the street, you don’t know what you’re getting,” Shoffner said. Much has changed since Shoffner started selling cars with his dad in the early 1960s. He said he prefers an old-school method of buying cars. He is not impressed with online auctions – he’d rather go in person. “I pretty much cherry-pick the auctions to find what I like, and it allows me to make a good living,” Shoffner said. “I bought two or three cars from the Internet and it was a horrible experience. The cars required mechanical work that was not previously disclosed. “As for me, I like to see them and touch them first.” To be sure, online auto auctions come with risks. Similar to the other popular scams, Kristin Judge, executive director of the Trusted Purchasing Alliance, a division of the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, said there are two central themes to keep in mind when dealing with auto auction fraud: First, if an offer seems too good to be true it probably is, and second, never send money to someone you have not met in person, though that might not always be a practical rule for dealers to follow with online auctions. In 2011, the federal government’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) received 4,066 complaints from victims of auto auction fraud. The total financial C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 8

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cost to those victims was more than $8 million, with the average loss being $2,000 per victim. The calls reporting the scams averaged two per hour. “Criminals misrepresent themselves as either Kelley Blue Book agents, or possibly a person moving out of town and needing to sell a car quickly before they leave,” Judge said. “Like other scams, the criminal sets up a persona that helps him appear legitimate. The price for the vehicle is usually at a great discount, too good to pass up. “When a buyer shows interest in the vehicle, he is asked to send a deposit to a third party to hold while the inspection takes place. Unfortunately, there is no legitimate third party. Once the scammer collects the deposit, the victim is left without his money or a car.” Auction Projections The future of auto auctions will place a continued focus on manipulating technology to benefit dealers. “We continue to make investments in our auction infrastructure to facilitate our buyers’ diverse business needs,” ADESA’s Caruso said. “That includes more computer terminals for customers to use, better Wi-Fi access and more reconditioning options both presale and

A M E N T - A W A R D S

post-sale. We will continue to evolve our business to meet the demands of our dealers.” One example is ADESA’s newly released dealer application for the iPhone. “The app combines relevant industry guide books, vehicle history reports and other useful business data with the cars running at our auctions,” Caruso said. “The evolution of mobile technology will continue to shape how we do business.” The new auto auction services have put the technology companies that develop those services in the driver’s seat. In July, vAuto, an Oakbrook, Ill., company specializing in dealer support services and a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group Inc., announced the acquisition of Auction Genius, a web-based software solution for auto dealers buying vehicles at auction. “This acquisition advances vAuto’s mission to help dealers become more efficient and effective used vehicle retailers,” vAuto founder Dale Pollak said. With Auction Genius, vAuto promises to eliminate the inefficiencies and difficulties dealers encounter every day as they evaluate and purchase used vehicles from wholesale auctions. “Today, every dealer relies on wholesale auctions for used vehicles,” Auction

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S H O W

Genius president and co-founder Todd Kinzle said. “This highly competitive environment requires dealers to evaluate far more vehicles than they used to, and the time it takes to do the proper research is overwhelming.” Enter Auction Genius. Kinzle says dealers can now analyze as many as 10 times the number of vehicles and zero in on the “right” cars with significantly more speed and efficiency. Typically dealers will use multiple systems and tools to create used vehicle buy lists, match the lists with cars scheduled to be sold at wholesale online auctions and gather condition/market valuation reports to assess individual vehicles for potential purchase. They also access live online auctions through a separate system to buy the cars that fit their purchase parameters. It’s a piecemeal process. Auction Genius also integrates with a growing list of industry partners, including CARFAX, AutoCheck, NADA Guide Book, Black Book, Kelley Blue Book and Galves. Current auction integration includes Manheim Simulcast, OVE.com, Manheim PowerSearch, ADESA LiveBlock and OpenLane.

BY JASON ROBERSON

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S O F T WA R E N E W S V I S I T W W W. PAY N E A R M E . C O M

Westlake Financial Adds PayNearMe’s Technology

PayNearMe, the cash transaction network, has launched PayNearMe Lending, a cash payment system for subprime lenders, and has teamed with Westlake Financial Services to integrate PayNearMe’s technology into existing systems, enabling customers to repay retail installment contracts in cash 24/7 at any of 6,600 participating 7-Eleven® stores nationwide. Using PayNearMe, customers of Westlake’s network of more than 15,000 new and used car dealers will be able to make account payments in cash at their local 7-Eleven store, where a unique loan barcode or PayNearMe Card is scanned at the register. With PayNearMe, the transactions are completed instantly, and consumers’ accounts are credited instantly. “PayNearMe offers a remarkably simple way to make our collections process more efficient,” Westlake director of operations John Mason said. “We anticipate reduced operational costs while adding payment locations for our customers.” “Subprime lenders need to make cash payments as easy as possible for themselves and their consumers,” PayNearMe CEO Danny Shader said. “We’ve dramatically changed how cash payments are made by opening up thousands of additional payment locations, accessible any time they are needed.” PayNearMe Lending, a secure hosted web application, provides a comprehensive turnkey service lenders can use to accept cash payments without integration. Lenders can set up PayNearMe Lending in less than 15 minutes and start collecting immediately, and can add additional sites almost instantly. Because PayNearMe Lending does not require any integration with existing systems, it can be used by lenders of any size. “We appreciate that PayNearMe allows our customers to make payments at any time,” Tidalwave Finance Corp. president Ted Beresford said. “In fact, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many customers make their payments at 10 p.m.”

DealerRater Adds Chat Software

The car dealer review website DealerRater has partnered with Contact At Once! to add a live chat feature for its certified dealer partners, enabling real-time chat between automotive dealerships and online shoppers. “Our third-party generated dealer reviews and ratings have helped car shoppers to determine and validate which dealerships they would like to do business with,” DealerRater president Chip Grueter said. “We believe the integration of Contact At Once! chat will enable our certified dealers to connect with in-market consumers in a way that is faster and more convenient than an email or a phone call.” The Contact At Once! dealer chat network includes third-party listing sites such as AutoTrader.com, Cars.com and UsedCars.com, as well as standalone dealership and dealer group web pages. Once enabled, dealers can respond to consumer chats originating from anywhere in the dealer chat network. Dealers that use dealer live chat typically experience a 25 percent increase in online shoppers contacting the dealership.

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MARKETING NEWS

Help Your Dealership Go for the Gold Think your shot at living like an Olympian ended after your high school or college athletic career? Think again. Successful Olympic athletes employ a set of traits and techniques you can still use to help market your car dealership. The elements that work together to create popular medalists, with thousands or millions of people rooting for them, can similarly elevate your dealership in the eyes of your customers. On the website marketingprofs.com, Veronica Maria Jarski showed how winning Olympians’ behavior relates to marketing, and that applies perfectly to the way your car dealership can win by adopting the same focus. Don’t believe it? Here’s how you can use what works for the gold medal winners: Share your story: The personal story behind the winners often creates massive support for one athlete or another, or sometimes an entire team. You weren’t dropped onto this earth running a successful auto dealership, so go ahead and share what it took to get there. Every dealership began with a lifelong love of cars, a careful plan or a less-than-direct route that included far-flung adventures. Whatever the story, knowing it helps people identify with you. Understanding the journey

builds support for current success. Deliver on your promises: Actions count far more than words, so prove what matters to you with every engagement, every customer and every sale. The claims you make about what distinguishes your dealership carry a lot more weight when they’re backed up in the interactions that happen minute by minute. Use the right tools: A diver can’t use a pommel horse and a gymnast doesn’t get any mileage out of a pool. Make sure your marketing messages go to the audiences that can use them best. Your brand and your message should be consistent, but it’s smart to craft and deliver the relevant points with laser targeting. Details, details: Try to think about the dealership experience from a customer’s perspective. The little details of each phone call or visit are critically important in shaping the impression visitors take away from any contact. It’s all connected: Authenticity matters everywhere your dealership has a presence. The customers who seem to disappear are still making waves and influencing your reputation long after they’ve left the premises. What happens on the showroom floor and in the finance department today will assuredly be reflected someday, somehow, in a conversation online or in person where you don’t hear it.

You can only run today’s race today: Letting go of the past, wins and losses alike, is the best way to free up energy to focus on today’s challenges. Learn from what worked and what didn’t, but greet each new customer with fresh and full intent to create a lasting asset. Remember the team: Good sportsmanship is appealing. Acknowledging all the people who make your dealership successful is as relevant as the cars and deals themselves. From the manufacturers to the service personnel, your team merits respect and appreciation. They will appreciate the recognition, too. Happy employees will work harder and are more loyal. While you might never stand on a podium and proudly listen to the national anthem while your fans cheer wildly, you can certainly enjoy strong popular support and the loyalty of customers who see you as a winner. Follow these strategies and go for the gold!

BY JIM FITZPATRICK

JIM FITZPATRICK IS PRESIDENT/CEO OF FITZPATRICK ADVERTISING, A FULL-SERVICE AUTOMOTIVE ADVERTISING AGENCY, AND FOUNDER OF FORCE MARKETING, A DIGITAL AND DIRECT MARKETING COMPANY. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 1-800917-8637, EMAIL JFITZPATRICK@FITZADV.COM OR VISIT FITZPATRICKADVERTISING.COM.

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COMPLIANCE OVERDRIVE

Regulatory Landscape Feeling Tougher? You’re Not Alone There is no denying that dealers and lenders have grown accustomed to a regulatory environment that is constantly changing, with new laws and regulations. But today’s regulatory landscape is different than it was years ago – and not just because the requirements continually change. If you feel like it’s becoming increasingly complex, you’re not alone. Here are the likely culprits: Shorter notice: Some states have started publishing regulatory changes on rather short notice. For example, in New Mexico the attorney general recently gave 30 days’ notice to add a new spot delivery disclosure to the sales transaction document or purchase order. The short notice was made worse because a proposed regulation had not been published – at least not recently – so the final regulation came as a surprise to the industry. While one month might feel

like a long time to add one disclosure, the required notice is quite large and requires substantial formatting changes to the documents affected. The attorney general eventually delayed the effective date of the regulation by 60 days, apparently after significant industry feedback. More frequent changes and updates: Across the country, there seem to be more frequent changes being made. That has clearly been the case with state motor vehicle title forms. Previously, those forms were rarely revised. But over the past few years, some states have changed their title forms as many as two or three times per year. One potential driver for that might be that technology now allows states to redesign and reissue their forms and revise (increase) the related fees more easily. But often the changes come with little or no notice, which underscores how important it is for dealers and lenders to be confident in their ability to monitor the changes that are constantly taking place. Volume of information: While it can be difficult to keep up with the pace of change and various deadlines and effective dates, it’s also quite a task to consume the volume of information and content surrounding new laws and regulations. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a proposed rule July 9 regarding integrated mortgage disclosures under RESPA and the Truth in Lending Act. It was one of the first significant proposed rules from the CFPB, and the planning process involved extensive research and solicitation of industry and consumer feedback. As a result, the proposed rule and explanatory materials total more than 1,000 pages. The good news is the proposed rule provides significant details and explanations of the changes. The bad news is that many pages of material can be overwhelming (aren’t you glad you’re not in the mortgage lending business?). Operating in a highly regulated industry, one can’t help but wonder if that is an indication of the volume of change yet to come and how dealers and lenders will absorb all of the changes and their nuances.

Disparate technology systems: Though computer technology allows us to do many things faster than before, disparate file formats, field naming conventions, calculation engines, software and hardware, and reliance on multiple vendors can make it difficult to quickly change or revise transaction documentation and its completion tools. That often means all the component parts need to be updated in sequence rather than in parallel – adding more time to make the required changes. Today’s environment is characterized not only by constant change, but by tougher enforcement as well. There is more visibility and greater scrutiny of compliance and risk management in all organizations. Dealerships and financial institutions should regularly question whether they feel confident that new laws and regulations are being embedded in their business operations. The challenges underscore a need for greater operational efficiency. Disparate systems and procedures can make even relatively simple changes more timeconsuming and complex. As you prepare for additional changes, consider reviewing your process maps, technology, vendor coordination and steps necessary to respond to compliance changes. Creating greater operational efficiency now will make it that much easier for you to respond to the inevitable next compliance crunch-time event.

BY CHIP ZYVOLOSKI

CHIP ZYVOLOSKI IS A SENIOR ATTORNEY FOR INDIRECT LENDING AT WOLTERS KLUWER FINANCIAL SERVICES. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.WOLTERSKLUWERFS.COM/INDIRECT.

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Massachusetts Sept/Oct 2012