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SINCE 1940

February 2014

A Publication of the Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association

Information and Insight for Florida Used Car Dealers



CURBSTONING WOES Is anything being done to cut down on cars parked illegally for sale?



February 2014 — Independent Dealer — 1



Dealer Independent

MAILING ADDRESS 1840 Fiddler Court Tallahassee, FL 32308 TELEPHONE (850) 385-2712 (800) 237-0448 FAX (850) 385-3251 WEBSITE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Dino Mercurio President Jim Winterick, Sr. Senior Vice President Christopher Leedom Chairman of the Board Phil Risley Secretary Paul Matton Treasurer Lisa Compagno Regional Vice President Frank Fuzy Regional Vice President George Hickey Regional Vice President Steve Marbais, CMD Regional Vice President Govinda Romero Regional Vice President FIADA STAFF Lisette Mariner Executive Director Terry Myers Educational Instructor Sarah Langley Administrative Director Nicole Lee Development Administrator Amelia Tillman Administrative Assistant Christy Taylor Editorial/Advertising


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FIADA • 1840 Fiddler Court Tallahassee, FL 32308 (850) 385-2712 • Toll Free: (800) 237-0448 Fax (850) 385-3251 • The Independent Dealer is a publication of: Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association, 1840 Fiddler Court, Tallahassee, FL 32308 The magazine is published every month in Tallahassee and distributed to Florida new, used, wholesale and lease/retail car dealers. Advertising rates are available upon request. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Independent Dealer or the Association. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or their identification as members of FIADA, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services featured.

Contents February 2014

For members of the Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association

C O L U M N S & F E AT U R E S 4

President’s Message Dino Mercurio


Executive Director’s Message Lisette Mariner


Town Hall and Board Meeting


Back to the Basics Terry Myers explains about requirements on titles.


Member News


Curbstoning Woes Curbstoning continues to be a problem for independent dealers. Is there a chance things could improve?


Educate Yourself and Earn Your Credits Now CE credits are due by April 30 in order to renew your license.


Legislative Update The 2014 Legislative session is sure to be a busy one.


Bankruptcy Basics Here’s a quick review of the steps you need to take when your customer files for bankruptcy.


Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Start Wowing Women! Your customer service needs to be at the top of its game if you are looking to woo the ever-growing market of women shoppers.


FTC Strengthens Enforcement of Dealer Advertising The FTC crackdown on truth in advertising with Operation Steer Clear has snagged 9 dealers already.


Industry News February 2014 — Independent Dealer — 3


FIADA:Your Best Source for Information and Education BY DINO MERCURIO, FIADA PRESIDENT


ow more than ever, you must be continually updated, informed, and educated if you want to be profitable and survive in the automobile business. The days of just knowing what a car is worth on the wholesale versus the retail side and subscribing to the “buy low, sell high” theory are long gone. Competition is tougher than ever, and it’s coming from all angles. Dealers are competing on a daily basis for more than just customers; they are competing for inventory, floor plans, financing, credit lines, and capable staff that can keep everything moving forward. Every phase of the process demands your constant attention. And just when you think you have all the bases covered where you can compete with any dealer in your area, you have to worry about being compliant! This is where you can have some of your biggest problems, because compliance is a whole new animal these days. We are all used to dealing with our State Agencies like the Division of Motorist Services (DMS, formerly DHSMV), Department of Revenue (DOR), Department of Financial Services (DFS), etc, but the Federal Government has recently gotten very involved in looking at and increasing regulation in the automobile industry. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is very well staffed, very well funded, and has extremely broad power—more than any Government Agency has ever had. They are on a mission to make sure the car business does not go down the road that the home mortgage business went a few years back. And if you think it does not affect you, you are wrong! Most everyone is of the belief that the CFPB has no jurisdiction over them because they are not a Buy Here - Pay Here dealer or do not have a related finance company, but that is far from the truth. If you are involved, in any way, with a customer getting financing, whether it is with you, a sub prime lender, indirect bank lender, credit union, etc., you can be subject to their rules and regulations (which, by the way, are very vague at this time). But, even if you don’t get involved in financing, you may still be on the hook. They are looking 4 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

for any and all types consumer damage, especially in the area of discrimination, and have the ability to direct other agencies like the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, and Attorney General’s office to spearhead investigations. This is just one of many prime examples where being a member of the FIADA can benefit you greatly. The FIADA is constantly gathering the latest news and developments, and getting this information out to members through this magazine, postings on the website (, and even mass email when the need arises. As another added benefit, when you are a member of the FIADA, you automatically become a member of the NIADA, which is the National Association protecting dealer rights on the Federal level. They also mail out a very informative magazine, have a website (www.niada. com), and have been very involved in discussions with the CFPB in Washington, DC to make sure the industry is being treated fairly. In addition to the magazines, web sites and emails, the FIADA is approved by the State of Florida as a provider of Continuing Education and holds classes around the state you can attend. If you’re not the classroom type, you can even take the course online—for free if you are a member! If you are already a member of the FIADA, Thank You! If not, I urge you to join today. Like I said earlier, the only way to survive and be profitable in today’s world is to be informed and educated, and your best source to keep you informed and educated, and help guide you through the myriad of laws, rules, and regulations, on both the State and Federal levels, is the FIADA! Dino Mercurio FIADA President

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Contact Protective’s Florida representative, Chris Behrens at 866 452 7335 A “National Corporate Partner” has met stringent NIADA criteria demonstrating that it can provide valuable products and services to NIADA members. No legal partnership has been created by the granting of this status, but NIADA does receive compensation from Protective. Limited Warranty Products, Vehicle Protection Plans (VPPs) and GAP are backed by Lyndon Property Insurance Company in all states except NY. In NY, VPPs are backed by Old Republic Insurance Company, Limited Warranty Products are backed by Western General Insurance Company and GAP is not available. Credit Insurance is backed by Protective Life Insurance Company in all states except NY, where it is backed by Protective Life and Annuity Insurance Company.




ast month the FIADA hosted a Town Hall Meeting in Tampa. Thank you to our sponsors AutoData Direct, AutoShopper, Dealers Insurance Services, and Wayne Reaves. Without their support we could not continue to host complimentary town hall meetings like this. As always, the Town Hall meeting was filled with valuable information. We learned about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) sweep against auto dealers in six states (California, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan and Texas). You can read about the details of these cases on page 28 of this magazine. Rob Sickles, FIADA General Counsel and Hinshaw & Culbertson, Partner, went through the cases and also walked through a review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) latest meetings. The dealer panel gave great tips on ways to improve inventory; Jim Winterick even shared his mechanic inspection checklist. Adesa Tampa’s General Manager Curt Farris was on the panel and gave the audience honest feedback on how auctions work. I heard from many dealers that they gained so much knowledge from attending. Ronald Andrews even joined FIADA as a result of attending. The day after the Town Hall Meeting was our first Board of Directors Meeting for the year. Your board continues to work hard on your behalf and got much accomplished during the meeting. In the next few weeks we’ll launch a new marketing program. Stay tuned! Thank you to George Hickey of Bond Auto Sales for honoring our most recent quality dealers, Brandi Noegel and Paul Matton. We are now accepting nominations for 6 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

Quality Dealers represent the best of the best. Past FIADA and NIADA Quality Dealer George Hickey (middle) with recent winners Brandi Noegel (left) and Paul Matton (right).

this year’s quality dealer. It’s never too early to make a nomination. Please visit our website at, click on About and Quality Dealer for details. Be sure to add these meetings to your calendar so you won’t miss any upcoming opportunities to network with other dealers around the state. The next FIADA Town Hall and Board Meeting will be May 9-10, 2014 at the Jupiter Resort & Spa in Jupiter, FL. After that, the third FIADA Town Hall and Board Meeting for the year will be July 18-19, 2014 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Resort/Ocean Walk Village. Completing the year, and our biggest event by far, will be the FIADA Annual Convention, scheduled for October 9-12, 2014 at the Omni Hotels & Resorts at ChampionsGate in Orlando, FL. Take advantage of your membership! See you soon.



check out our websites:




Town Hall and Board Meeting


he turn-out was great at the January Town Hall Meeting and Board of Directors Meeting at the Hilton Tampa Westshore. Dealers gathered on Friday to ask questions and hear the latest legal information from FIADA Attorney of Record Rob Sickles and tips from a panel of seasoned dealers. On Saturday, members discussed the business of the Association and made plans for the coming year. The next Town Hall and Board Meeting will be held May 9-10 at the Jupiter Resort and Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Log on to for details.

8 — Independent Dealer — February 2014


Mark your calendar to attend our next free FIADA live webinar on Tuesday, February 18 at 10:00A.M. called, “Knowing Your Hispanic Customers.” The singular stereotype of a Hispanic customer actually encloses many different cultures. For example, you can find over a dozen differences in cultural behaviors among people from Mexico. Your market is comprised of different customers with different cultural backgrounds – each with it’s own roots, behaviors, likes and dislikes. By gaining greater awareness of these cultural behaviors, you and your sales team will be able to establish a better communication channel which leads to a higher closing ratio , better business, and greater customer satisfaction. Mauricio Espinosa founder and President of G20, Inc., an internationally respected leader in the automotive industry, will lead the discussion. Espinosa has authored, as well as, developed numerous training and consulting programs currently being used throughout Mexico and the United States. Mauricio is Co-author of the book “Roadmap to Success” that shares credits with Dr. Ken Blanchard and Dr. Deepak Chopra. You may remember Mauricio from his 2013 FIADA Convention. Log on at to attend.



If you missed last month’s webinar - Your Action Plan: 10 Things Every Dealership Manager Should Know with David Buchsbaum from Fisher & Phillips – visit our YouTube page at to view the recorded version. Watch it now on your mobile device or smartphone. Scan this code and access the video from our YouTube site.




Whose Name is on the Title? Florida Statutes have time-sensitive requirements for reporting changes in ownership on a title. What actions should you take to comply, both legally and ethically? By TERRY MYERS


n old joke: ‘John, one of the owners and Millie agree to the contract. She counts out five brand new $100 bills to cover the down payment. Upon completing the paperwork, she heads to her car. As she is waking past the window, he waves to this long time, faithful, repeat customer. This is the third car she has purchased here. Putting the paperwork together, he re-counts the money and discovers that two bills are stuck together. She accidently handed him $600. He now has an ethical dilemma...does he tell his partner or not?’ Any time ownership changes hands, Florida wants to know it. By statute, a new title is to be issued within 30 days. When the dealership takes a vehicle in trade, the dealer is required to report it to Florida, within 30 days. This is usually accomplished in Section 7 of the HSMV 82040, when applying for title for the vehicle sold. On a private sale, f.s. 319.22(2) states,

Question 1: “What happens when the owner sells to a private party or to a dealership? Does the owner know to comply with f.s. 319.22(2)?” Answer 1: The average person does not even know this obligation exists or how to comply. Too often, the vehicle is abandoned or in an accident years later with the selling owner’s name still in the state database. Most likely it has been driven with no insurance and a hand printed cardboard tag showing LOST TAG. Two methods are available to the owner to help meet this requirement: 1. The top strip, back side on a paper title is used to report who the vehicle was sold to, on what day and for how much. It is mailed to Florida, within 30 days, using the address on the rear side of the top strip or provided to the local tax collector’s office. 2. If there is no top strip, Form HSMV 82050, Title Sold or Bill of Sale can be used to accomplish the same requirement.

Any time ownership changes hands, Florida wants to know it. By statute, a new title is to be issued within 30 days. in part, that ‘to remove yourself from civil liability for future operation of this vehicle, the owner of record must notify Florida within thirty days about the sale’. 10 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

This information must match the information on the title signed over to the buyer. Question 2: “Is the dealership legally

responsible to tell the customer about this?” Answer 2: If the owner sells the vehicle outright, 319.22(2) requires the owner to notify the state. Ethically, the dealer may want to make the customer aware of the protective action available with this statute. It may be in the dealership’s best interest to avoid accepting legal responsibility, by acting as an agent of the owner and filling this out for him/ her. Legally, the dealer, does not have to get a title in the name of the dealership as long as the title has been properly assigned by the customer to the dealership or reassigned by another dealer to the dealership. If that vehicle was received in trade, the dealer is required to notify Florida within 30 days. The main way this is accomplished is on form HSMV 82040, in Section 7. As a result, the state notes that the vehicle is no longer owned by the name(s) on the title. Under f.s. 319.22(2), are you legally required to tell the customer about this statute? Would it be ethical to tell the customer about this statute? What you do with this information is up to you, isn’t it? If you do decide to share this information, first, consult your attorney for guidance. Articles are the opinion of the author and are not intended to be legal or accounting advice. The intent is to share thoughts and concepts that help the business owner(s) find new and perhaps revisit, ways to be as successful as they are capable of being. Terry can be reached at (727) 804-7375. Email: tmyers@floridaautodealerschool. com. Feedback is appreciated and encouraged. Terry LB Myers, author, lecturer, FIADA instructor, FADS owner/instructor.

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New Members A.J. Automotive Repair Service LLC Parrish, FL Alphonse Gallo Sponsor: Terry Myers Advantage Funding Lake Success, NY Edward Kaye Sponsor: Attorney reference All Bus Exchange Winter Garden, FL Miroslav Kojic Sponsor: John Cousins Antiques, Classics & More Auto Sales LLC West Palm Beach, FL Steve Nacht Sponsor: Amelia Tillman Atland Recycling, INC Okeechobee, FL Oscar Rodriguez Sponsor: DMV AUCTION ANNIE Holiday, FL Christina Latimer Sponsor: Terry Myers Best Motors Tallahassee, FL Basem Hakim Sponsor: Terry Myers

J A N UA R Y 2 0 1 4 Boss Auto LLC Ocala, FL Andy Greene Sponsor: Paul Bucca Deland, FL Paul Bucca Sponsor: Terry Myers C and S Corvettes Sarasota, FL Stephen Stratmann Sponsor: Fisher & Phillips LLP Ft. Lauderdale, FL David Buchsbaum Sponsor: Nicole Lee

Hillsboro Auto Mart Inc Lutz, FL Ernie Mestre Sponsor: Steve Marbais James English Auto Source Casselberry, FL Jarrett Desmond Sponsor:

J A N UA R Y 2 0 1 4

30+ Year Members Credit Cars Tucker Auto Sales

Orlando, FL Orlando, FL

20+ Year Members R & L Auto Wholesale The Truck Junction

Lakeland, FL Sarasota, FL

10+ Year Members Appearance Plus Auto Sales dba C & C Cars Big Boys Toys Florida, LLC Galeria Auto Mart, Inc. Gene Gorman’s Auto Sales Manheim Orlando Tropical Auto Sales 12 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

Special Cars Group Davie, FL Jessica Farbman Sponsor: Amelia Tillman

Loredos LLC Jacksonville, FL Alena Hushchyna Sponsor:

Sunshine Used Car Sales West Palm Beach, FL Joey Porcelli Sponsor:

RE Brown Enterprises Inc Greenwood, FL Roosevelt Brown Jr Sponsor:

Victory Auto Inc. Naples, FL Matt Bianchini Sponsor: Amelia Tillman

Ronald Andrews Orlando, FL Ronald Andrews Sponsor: Frank Fuzy

Yes Guaranteed Auto Financing Daytona Beach, FL Mike Shade Sponsor: Sarah Langley

Rejoining Members

G&G Performance Vehicles LLC Boynton Beach, FL Dale Goldstein Sponsor: Kevin Scott

Renewing Members

Kilbreth, Inc. Titusville, FL Jeremy Kilbreth Sponsor: Terry Myers

Pinellas Park, FL Panama City Beach, FL Apopka, FL Punta Gorda, FL Ocoee, FL North Palm Beach, FL

A & J Mobility Inc. dba Mobility Express Ruskin FL Nouha Daoud Sponsor: Kevin Scott Auto Superstore of Orlando LLC Orlando FL Steve Foreman Sponsor: Amelia Tillman

J A N UA R Y 2 0 1 4

Manheim Daytona Beach Daytona Beach FL Donald Cohen Sponsor: Amelia Tillman Manheim’s St. Pete A/A Clearwater FL Mark Willey Sponsor: Amelia Tillman

Kathy’s Kars Safety Harbor FL Kathy Rennie Sponsor: Amelia Tillman

Under 10 Year Members Adesa A/A of Tampa Autoflex LLC Celebrity Auto Group Citrus Auto Trader DealerMatch Dealership Capital Partners, Inc. Eclipse Auto Wholesale LLC Elite Autos Florida Autosport, Inc. Freeland Moore dba Harbor Nissan Larry’s Auto Service Center Manheim Palm Beach National Dealer Services Park Avenue Motors Prime Auto Broker

Tampa, FL Gainesville, FL Sarasota, FL Lecanto, FL Atlanta, GA Macon, GA Ocala, FL Port Orange, FL Tallahassee, FL Port Charlotte, FL Beverly Hills, FL West Palm Beach, FL Jacksonville, FL New Smyrna Beach, FL Jacksonville, FL

December 2013 — Independent Dealer — 13

Curbstoning continues to be one of those sore subjects for independent dealers but help may be on the way. Continued enforcement, possible legislation and consumer education are all in the arsenal for what seems like a never-ending battle.


here are few topics that get independent dealers more fired up than the issue of curbstoning. The frustration is justified, as curbstoning is a phenomenon that is ultimately a loselose-lose situation, with legitimate licensed dealers, unsuspecting citizens and the state being the losers. For dealers, it is hard to compete with a curbstoned vehicle. That car parked in the local Winn-Dixie parking lot has no Buyer’s Guide taped to its window, alerting customers to any potential problems or flaws. There is no odometer disclosure waiting in a locked cabinet at the office. There is no overhead figured into the asking price or sales tax collected-, which allows the curbstoned vehicle to be offered cheaper and seem like the better deal. Add on the increased visibility of a rent-free, prime location to park and market the car, and there is no way a traditional dealer can compete. It’s not a fair fight. When you consider the licensing requirements, rules and regulations and specialized education required for a used car dealer to legally run and operate a business in the state of Florida, you could compare a curbstoning dealer to an unlicensed dentist pulling up in a customized 14 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

By christy taylor trailer to a crowded shopping center and offering teeth whitening services for $5. It sounds silly, but there are a lot of similarities to the example except that the fake dentist would face severe fines and penalties and possible jail time if caught, while the curbstoner incurs minor, noncriminal repercussions. It’s a low-risk way to make a few, sometimes several, bucks and continues to happen in parking lots and right-of-ways from the tip of the Panhandle to the southernmost point of Key West. Is the war on curbstoning a hopeless battle, or is it under control? It depends on who you ask. According to the Division of Motorist Services, enforcement of curbstoning is at higher levels than it ever has been before. The Bureau of Motorist Services Support, which falls under the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, released statistics that support the claim that curbstoning enforcement has significantly increased in the last two years. For the first quarter of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Bureau reported 709 curbstoning investigations, 342 unlicensed dealer investigations and 86 vehicles towed, almost double the number that were towed for all of the

2012-2013 fiscal year. The Bureau’s Program Manager Palmer Brand says, enforcement is happening but it may not be the way dealers want to see it done. “We try to educate first and enforce second,” Brand said. When a curbstoning complaint is received by one of the regional offices, the staff first verifies the ownership of the vehicle. If the contact (usually the phone number displayed on the vehicle) does not match the ownership (the name on the title), then a field officer speaks with the contact to move the car as well as educating them about using public spaces to display cars for sale and dealer licensing requirements, followed-up with a licensing application packet. If there is no effort to move the car after the field officer has spoken with the contact person, then the car is towed. Legislation that FIADA supported and helped get passed in 2011, also means the violator has to pay a $100 fine in addition to towing costs, and the vehicle can only be released to the legal owner. Brand says, the majority of cases do not end in this scenario though, and most curbstoning situations are solved through the education approach. Logs are kept on

each curbstoning complaint, allowing repeat offenders to be identified and dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Curbstoning enforcement is not necessarily a daily duty of field personnel but when in route to a dealer inspection or consumer complaint, for example, they are looking. The Division also organizes curbstoning blitzes on a regular basis, which includes a coordinated effort to find vehicles in violation and enforce penalties. The Division still maintains, however, that the best way to monitor the problem is for dealers and consumers to report them. Dealers say they are reporting them, but from their perspective, it looks like little is being done. The Division of Motorist Services contends that violators are being dealt with, but few meet the criteria for having their car towed, and of the ones that do, the $100 fine is not enough of a deterrent.

an unscrupulous person, nor do they realize the potential problems they could be facing by doing so. Buying an unclean, uninspected vehicle from a stranger puts them at risk for being stuck with a problem vehicle and nowhere to go for help. That’s on top of the possibility with inheriting a bad title or not being able to legally establish ownership. Knowing all of this brings new meaning to the term buyer beware and can help car buyers make better decisions. FIADA members are fortunate to have the Association advocating

for curbstoning enforcement on all sides. Making the case to lawmakers in the legislature, working with state agencies to assist with enforcement crackdowns and building public awareness of the problem through exposure and education efforts are all on the Association’s list of ways to solve the curbstoning problem, and as the case is with most wars and battles, the more soldiers on the ground the better chance there is of victory. Member involvement and support will go a long way in the curbstoning fight.

WHEN YOU SPOT A CURBSTONER The best way to help curb curbstoning is to report violations to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles through the Bureau of Field Operations. When finding a suspected curbstoned vehicle, dealers should contact their DMV Regional Office in writing with the following information:

The Auto Dealers Industry Advisory Board (ADIAB), an appointed board of independent and franchise dealers, government officials and industry leaders and established by Florida Statutes to make recommendations on proposed legislation, rules and procedures, is looking further into the subject as well. At a recent meeting the ADIAB unanimously passed a proposal to raise the penalty to $500. There is possibility that this amendment could be attached to legislation in the upcoming Legislative Session.

Besides reporting curbstoning violations to the Division of Motorist Services and supporting legislation that would increase penalties, what else can dealers do to combat the curbstoning problem? Arming consumers with the right information. The majority of car shoppers who call on curbstoned vehicles are unaware that they could be buying a car from

Region 4, Deland:

• • •

Specific location where vehicle(s) were or are being offered for sale. Dates that the vehicle(s) were or will be offered for sale. Contact information for the person filing the complaint. Any other data that may aid in the investigation such as name or telephone number displayed on the vehicle.

After receiving the written complaint, the DMV Regional Office will assign a Compliance Examiner to investigate and take appropriate action. The information can be emailed to the Regional Offices at the following email addresses: Region 1, Margate: Region 2, Ocala: Region 3, Jacksonville: Region 5, Orlando: Region 6, Tampa: Region 7, Tallahassee: Region 8, Palmetto: Region 9, West Palm Beach: Region 10, Miami:

February 2014 — Independent Dealer — 15


Educate Yourself and Earn Your Credits Now! Don’t get a late penalty. Let FIADA help you earn your Continuing Education credit today. By NICOLE LEE


ll Florida dealers must complete eight hours of continuing education (CE) credits every two years. That means if you last earned your CE credit in 2012, you must complete another CE course before April 30, 2014. While it may seem like just another thing on your to-do list, Continuing Education is a great opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news and requirements. FIADA offers several options to earn CE credit throughout the year: at our annual October convention, at in-person Continuing Education courses, and at in-person Title & Registration courses throughout the state. Here’s a look at our upcoming in-person courses:

Title & Registration February 20, Daytona Beach March 10, Fort Lauderdale March 17, Orlando Continuing Education March 7, Tallahassee March 18, Sarasota March 26, Tampa In-person courses are $79 for members and $99 for non-members. Register at or by calling 850-385-2712 ext 101. If you’d like to take an online class, you’re in luck! FIADA offers the Title & Registration and Continuing Education classes online. Both courses are completely free for FIADA members, and only $39.95 for non-members. Best of all, they are available online right now, so you can print your certificate today. The Continuing Education Class includes a series of videos with live instruction, PowerPoint slides, and a printable text version of the presentation. After you finish watching the videos and/or reading the print version, take an online multiple choice test to receive your certificate. Topics of interest include: • a curbstoning update, • electronic titles & lien process, • the implications of the Federal

• • •

Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation Z, the USA Patriot Act, Auction success tips, and the FTC Red Flags Rule.

The Title & Registration Class consists of a PowerPoint with voice over and covers information about: • what is acceptable proof of ownership in Florida, other states, and other countries, • when notarization is acceptable or required, • where to find proof of present and past ownership, • odoomter readings, when and how to remove or add alien, and • where to find answers to other questions as your business grows. Choose which course works best for you. Both courses count toward 8 hours of CE credit. At the end of the online course, you can print your continuing education certificate to provide to the Division of Motorist Services. Registration is easy! Visit www.fiada. com, Sign in, and select “Dealer Training School” at the top menu screen. Choose either the Online Continuing Education or Online Title & Registration course, and then register by filling out your information and clicking “Save & Proceed to Checkout,” “Proceed to Confirmation,” and finally, “Complete Order.” After the registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation email that will provide a direct link where you will be able to access your online course. Questions? Check out the stepby-step directions available under “FAQs” on the website, or just call the FIADA office at (800) 237-0448 for assistance.

DMV requires that all Florida Dealers renew their Continuing Education credit every two years. If you last took a CE course in 2012, you must complete another class by April 30, 2014. Don’t worry! As an FIADA member, you have the benefit of FREE online Continuing Education. You, or an employee of your dealership, can take any of the online CE courses at including: Title & Registration: This course covers information about: • What is acceptable proof of ownership in Florida, other states, and other countries, • When notarization is acceptable or required, • Where to find proof of present and past ownership, • Odometer readings, • When and how to remove or add a lein, and • Where to find answers to other questions as your business grows. Examples and case studies are provided to clarify ownership and is given in a recorded webinar format with voice recording, PowerPoint slides, and a PDF Title & Registration manual. This course provides 8 hours of Continuing Education credit.

Online Continuing Education: A newly updated course that consists of a series of videos which include live instruction, PowerPoint slides, and a manual. The course includes 3 video segments: • Division of Motorist Services (DMS) • Legal/Legislative • Industry Related Topics of interest include a curbstoning update, electronic titles & lien process, the implications of the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation Z, the USA Patriot Act, Auction success tips, and FTC Red Flags Rule. This course fulfills your 8 hours of Continuing Education credit. You have 30 days to complete the course. At the end of the online course, you can print your continuing education certificate to provide to the DMV.


It’s Going to be a Busy Year in the Legislature BY SANDRA MORTHAM, FIADA LOBBYIST


s we prepare for the 2014 legislative session, we have a wonderful opportunity to change the law from 2009 that increased the auto tag fees for all Floridians. Be prepared to receive a call from your Executive Director at FIADA during legislative session which starts March 4th about issues that could be critical to your business. We are diligently working to pass legislation that would reduce the fees on registrations and tags. As you will recall, these fees were increased in 2009 because of state budget deficits. This has had an impact on people trying to buy vehicles from FIADA members around the state. Goveror Rick Scott has proposed decreasing these fees by just over

$400 million. Senator Joe Negron and Rep. Mike Hill have sponsored legislation which will decrease these

committees during the legislative process.

We are diligently working to pass legislation that would reduce the fees on registrations and tags that were increased in 2009 and have had an impact on customers buying vehicles.

fees by about $200 million. We will be working to get the decrease as high as possible. Surrender Stop continues to be a challenge but we believe Senator Brandes will be the champion in the Florida Senate. The legislation will reinstitute the stop on the individual vehicle involved. Again, we may need your help to get this passed through

Curbstoning is also being attacked from a little different angle. ADIAB unanimously passed a proposal to raise the penalty by local government from $100 to $500. We are looking for bills filed that may be used in the amendatory process to add the penalty provision. Stay tuned as we move through the legislative process!!!

Where’s Your Sign? It’s an election year, which means candidates will be looking for a place to stake their signs. Help them out, along with the Association, by offering to display some at your dealership. Call FIADA at (800) 237-0448 to find FIADA-friendly candidates in your area.

18 — Independent Dealer —February 2014

Support the FIADA PAC Fund! Your PAC Contribution helps spread awareness and gain support of issues affecting independent dealers in the state’s capitol.

CONTRIBUTION INFORMATION Contributor’s Name:_________________________________________________________________________ Dealership/Company:________________________________________________________________________ Street Address, City, State, Zip:____________________________________________________________________


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Credit Card (one time contribution) q q

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Make your check payable to FIADA-PAC and mail to: FIADA • 1840 Fiddler Court • Tallahassee, FL 32308 If making payment via credit card, you may fax your contribution form to 850.385.3251


February 2014 — Independent Dealer — 19


Bankruptcy Basics Your customer has filed bankruptcy, now what? Here are the basics steps you should take to protect yourself, and your collateral. By CHRIST Y TAYLOR


f you are in the Buy Here-Pay Here business, or have ever extended credit to a customer, then chances are you have had to try to protect yourself from a customer filing for bankruptcy. There are a lot of terms, definitions, rules and timelines that go along with a bankruptcy case and understanding it can be confusing. Bankruptcy can be quite challenging to understand, and depending on your involvement, can require different things. Before you can develop strategies to protect the money you are owed, you need to have a solid grasp of bankruptcy procedures and protocols. Here is a basic primer on bankruptcy that can

be helpful no matter if you are an expert or trying to understand it for the first time. The first thing you need to do when a customer files for bankruptcy is identify what type it is. Chapter 11, reserved mostly for businesses, and Chapter 13 filing is used when the goal is reorganization. Debtors work with the court to create a repayment plan that will allow them to pay back the debts that they owe. The majority of bankruptcy filings, however, are Chapter 7. In Chapter 7, businesses file because they plan on permanently closing and individuals file because they are looking for a “fresh start.” In either case, assets are liquidated and debts are discharged to clean the slate. When a customer files for bankruptcy, creditors are required by law to stop trying to collect on the debt. Trying to make contact with the customer or collect a payment from them is in violation of bankruptcy code and can open you up to a lawsuit. The proper procedure once a bankruptcy is filed, is to contact the attorney or court appointed trustee to work out an arrangement on how your debt will be handled. All of this starts when the creditor receives a “341” notice about the case. The 341 notice, which

20 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

supplies the details and deadlines for the proceedings not only gives the creditor the bigger picture of the debtor’s financial situation but it also informs them of what type of bankruptcy is being filed, the date it was filed, the court that will preside over the case, the deadline to file a proof of claim, the details of when and where the first meeting of creditors will be and the rules for collecting what is owed. The 341 notice is a very important document, and when it is received should be opened with immediate action. The first thing to do after receiving the 341 notice is to take note of the deadline to file a “Proof of Claim” form with the bankruptcy court. A Proof of Claim is usually printed on the back side of the bankruptcy notice, but can be downloaded from the website. The bankruptcy notice will also include instructions on how to complete the Proof of Claim form. The Proof of Claim puts you on the list of creditors who are to be paid from the filer’s remaining assets. Attach copies of documents that support your claim, such as the certificate of title or loan agreement. Once the deadline for submitting Proofs of Claim has passed, the Trustee will review the claims to determine if there are any objections. Objections can be made for various reasons, such as claims that lack documented support, late filing, incorrect amount owed, incomplete forms, lack of signature, mischaracterization of the type of debt and so forth. After all of the claims have been reviewed, the Trustee will file an Objection to Claims with the court, which will give the grounds for the objections on Continued on Page 22.


December 2013— —Independent IndependentDealer Dealer— —21 21 January 2014

BANKRUPTCY BASICS continued from Page 20.

each objected claim. The Trustee will ask that the claims either be rejected entirely, reduced or changed. The Objection will include a date and time

You can also object to the repayment or reorganization plan that has been submitted if you feel the debt owed you is not being addressed

Pursuing the claim will depend largely on how much debt is owed, the cost of time, money and resources to pursue it and the chances of being paid back. for a hearing. If your claim is included in the Objection, you will need to attend the hearing to defend your position. One of the next things to happen is a “341” Creditors Meeting for the court appointed trustee, the debtor and creditors. At the meeting, the debtor will explain their reasons for filing bankruptcy and what is going to be done. As a creditor, you are invited to attend this meeting and may have the chance to ask questions of the debtor.

fairly. Additionally, within the first four months of the bankruptcy case the debtor will be working on a reorganization and/or repayment plan. When the trustee approves the plan, it is sent to all of the creditors for review. For the plan to be approved, the debtor needs to have the consent from more than 50 percent of the total number of creditors and from more than twothirds of the debt owed. The process of filing bankruptcy,

providing proof of claim and verifying it, approving a plan to repay the debt claims and then actually receiving payment can be quite lengthy, with the average case taking anywhere between four and seven months. There are also filing fees, court fees and attorney fees that must be paid. Creditors should consult with their attorney, and decide what the course of action should be. Pursing the claim will depend largely on how much debt is owed, the cost of time, money and resources to pursue it and the chances of being paid back. The information included in this article is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice. Anyone reading this information is advised to seek advice from an attorney regarding the applicability to their individual circumstance.

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22 — Independent Dealer —February 2014

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Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Start Wowing Women! Women are a driving force in the consumer market. The best way to reach them is to go above and beyond when it comes to customer service. By Jody devere


ow great is your customer service? How is your customer satisfaction? These are fairly common questions when it comes to marketing folks, and I’m going to be honest. I really don’t like them. “Customer Service” reduces the customer to a task list, and “Customer Satisfaction” doesn’t go far enough. I don’t want customers to be merely “satisfied,” and in the auto industry, you shouldn’t either! No woman in history has ever gone out of their way to tell their friends and family about a “satisfactory” experience they had at an automotive retailer.

In my world at, our nation of automotive professionals go beyond customer satisfaction when it comes to their women customers: we WOW women. We settle for nothing less. We make sure they’re showered with kindness, praise, and helpfulness that they get simply blown away by the experience. If you want to stop short-changing your customers on their “wow” experience, read on and let me teach you how Certified Female Friendly locations wow women customers.

The First Impression This is your one, singular chance to win a loyal woman customer! The first experience any woman has when walking into your shop is the one image that will stick with her, and it will forever color her opinion. This means that not only should your customer care be stellar when it comes to greeting and consulting new customers, but also that your facility should be clean, warm, welcoming, and inviting. Take down those old outdated car ads and put up some nice art. Get rid of the Hot Rod magazines from the 80’s, and put out copies of Good Housekeeping. To keep things topical, consider using Vehicle MD. It’s a publication just for auto professionals, and contains article content that is well written and appealing to the everyday customer, including lots of content aimed at women. Always Stop to Listen When it comes to wowing women, the first thing you should do is stop talking altogether, after greeting her, and listen. Women often come into an auto shop with a story to tell. Listen patiently, and identify the problem she has that needs correcting. Learn her name as early as you can, tell her yours, and use it in conversation. Once she’s finished her story, recount the problem back to her. “Okay, so you had a blowout, and now you need a new tire but you’re not sure of the size? All right, I can help you with that right now.” Stop Saying “No” and Start Saying “No, but...” It’s inevitable that your customers will have requests that you can’t fill, or questions you can’t answer. Never answer a question with a simple “No.” Instead, always offer solutions. If you must say no, follow it with “but...” and a possible solution. To continue the tire shop example, if the woman

24 — Independent Dealer — January 2014

asks if you have an exact match of a tire brand you don’t carry, you would say “No, but I can show you some very good comparable brands, and review the specifications with you, or if you’re sold on the brand you have, I will check on ordering one for you.” Anytime you have to tell your women customers “no,” follow it immediately with some additional options, so she knows you’re doing all you can to help her.

she’s always welcome to contact you personally if she needs anything else. Follow these easy steps and the result won’t just be a satisfied customer – she’ll be WOWed!

Jody DeVere is the CEO of AskPatty. com, Inc, a website, blog, and marketing to women agency providing automotive education to women consumers, as well as training, ongoing marketing support and education, and certifications to car dealers. Find out more at


Keep in Touch The key to retaining women customers is making the experience more personal to her. After she’s made her purchase or picked up her vehicle, give her a follow-up call a few days later to make sure she’s still satisfied with the product or work. Ask if she has any further questions, and make sure you tell her

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February 2014 — Independent Dealer — 25


FTC Strengthens Enforcement of Dealer Advertising ‘Operation Steer Clear’ drives home that auto ads must be truthful.


he Federal Trade Commission announced that nine auto dealers agreed to settle deceptive advertising charges, and the agency is taking action against a 10th dealer, in a nationwide sweep focusing on the sale, financing, and leasing of motor vehicles. According to the complaints, the dealers made a variety of misrepresentations in print, Internet, and video advertisements that violated the FTC Act, falsely leading consumers to believe they could purchase vehicles for low prices, finance vehicles with low monthly payments, and/or make no upfront payment to lease vehicles. One dealer even misrepresented that consumers had won prizes they could collect at the dealership. “Buying or leasing a car is a big deal, and car ads are an important source of information for serious shoppers,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Dealers’ ads need to spell out costs and other important terms customers can count on. If they don’t, dealers can count on the FTC to take action.”

Gate, Calif., allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could purchase vehicles at specific low prices when, in fact, the price was $5,000 higher. Both dealers’ ads involved a mix of English and Spanish. Honda of Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Norm Reeves Honda of Cerritos, Calif., violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could pay $0 up-front to lease a vehicle when, in fact, the advertised amounts excluded substantial fees and other amounts. The ads also allegedly violated the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) and Regulation M, by failing to disclose certain lease related terms. Norm Reeves Honda’s ads also allegedly violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation Z, by failing to disclose certain credit related terms.

‘Operation Steer Clear’ is the latest effort from the FTC to protect consumers in the auto marketplace. The dealerships that settled are charged as follows:

Georgia Nissan of South Atlanta of Morrow, Ga., allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could finance a vehicle purchase with low monthly payments when, in fact, the payments were temporary “teasers” after which consumers would owe a different amount. The ads also allegedly violated TILA and Regulation Z, by failing to disclose certain credit related terms.

California Casino Auto Sales of La Puente, Calif., and Rainbow Auto Sales, of South

Illinois Infiniti of Clarendon Hills of Clarendon Hills, Ill., allegedly

violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could pay $0 up-front to lease a vehicle when, in fact, the advertised amounts excluded substantial fees and other amounts. The ads also allegedly violated the CLA and Regulation M, by failing to disclose certain lease related terms. North Carolina Paramount Kia of Hickory, N.C., allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could finance a purchase with low monthly payments when, in fact, the payments were temporary “teasers” after which the consumer would owe a much higher amount, by several hundred dollars. The ads also allegedly violated the TILA and Regulation Z, by failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose certain credit related terms. Michigan Fowlerville Ford of Fowlerville, Mich., allegedly violated the FTC Act by sending mailers that deceptively claimed consumers had won a sweepstakes prize, when, in fact, they had not. Some of their ads also allegedly violated TILA and Regulation Z, by failing to disclose certain credit related terms. Texas Southwest Kia companies, including New World Auto Imports, Dallas, Texas, New World Auto Imports of Rockwall, Rockwall, Texas, and Hampton Two Auto Corporations, Mesquite, Texas, allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could purchase a vehicle for specific low monthly payments when, in fact, consumers would owe a final balloon payment of over $10,000. The companies also allegedly deceptively advertised that Continued on Page 29.

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FTC ENFORCEMENT continued from Page 26.

consumers could drive home a vehicle for specific low up-front amounts and low monthly payments when, in fact, the deal was a lease and they would owe substantially more up-front. The ads also allegedly violated the CLA and Regulation M, by failing to disclose certain lease related terms, and the TILA and Regulation Z, by failing to disclose certain credit related terms.

and lease laws. In the case where the dealerships misrepresented that consumers had won a prize, the proposed order also prohibits misrepresenting material terms of any prize, sweepstakes, giveaway, or other incentive.

The proposed consent orders settling the FTC’s charges in the nine cases are designed to prevent the dealerships from engaging in similar deceptive advertising practices in the future. The orders prohibit the dealerships from misrepresenting in any advertisement for the purchase, financing, or leasing of motor vehicles the cost of leasing a vehicle, the cost of purchasing a vehicle with financing, or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing, or leasing of a vehicle. When relevant, the proposed consent orders also address the alleged TILA and CLA violations by requiring the dealerships to clearly and conspicuously disclose terms required by these credit

The FTC would like to thank the Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs for its assistance with multiple investigations in California, and the Michigan Department of Attorney General for its assistance with the investigation in Michigan. The Commission votes to accept the packages containing the nine proposed consent orders and complaints for public comment were 4-0. The agreements will be subject to public comment for 30 days, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent orders final. In addition, the FTC issued an administrative complaint against Courtesy Auto Group of Attleboro, Mass. The FTC alleges the dealership violated the FTC Act by deceptively

advertising that consumers can lease a vehicle for $0 down and specific monthly payments when, in fact, the advertised amounts exclude substantial fees. The ads also allegedly violate the CLA and Regulation M, by failing to disclose or clearly and conspicuously disclose certain lease related terms. The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint was 4-0. NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The issuance of the administrative complaint marks the beginning of a proceeding in which the allegations will be tried in a formal hearing before an administrative law judge. To learn more about this enforcement, or other questions about truth in advertising, visit the FTC’s website at

May 9, 2014 • Jupiter, FL • 10:00am - 2:00pm Calling all dealers! Don’t miss the next Dealer Training and Town Hall Meeting coming to the Jupiter area in May. This event, held each quarter, is one of the most popular member benefits FIADA provides. Go online to and register now to attend.

All dealers are also invited to attend the Board Meeting May 10, 2014 Jupiter Resort & Spa 5 North A1A Jupiter, Florida 33477

A small block of rooms is available at the Jupiter Resort & Spa. Reserve your room online and use discount code FIADAT0424 or call (800) 228-8810 and mention that you are with the FIADA Town Hall Meeting. Room rate is $169 per night. The resort fee has been waived and self-parking is complimentary. Valet parking is $15 per night. The cut-off date is April 8, 2014.

Register to attend at Continued January on Page 2014 20. — Independent Dealer — 29

INDUSTRY NEWS Majority Of Car Buyers Showrooming On Dealer Lots Showrooming has come to the automotive industry. Wouldbe car buyers have long used the PC internet for research during the purchase process; however a new study says that retail-style showrooming is now happening on car dealer lots. The data were collected in October and November 2013. According to a new study commissioned by and conducted by location analytics provider Placed, “63% of auto shoppers researched and shopped online while at a dealership using their mobile device.” Most of what these auto-showroomers are doing on the lot involves price research. However they’re also looking at reviews (of both cars and dealers), as well as checking inventory at nearby dealerships. Another finding of the research is that auto-showroomers are more inclined to visit additional dealers and thus less likely to be “closed” by dealer salespeople than in the presmartphone era. The study found that 62 percent of autoshowroomers visited additional dealer lots within a 24 hour period. That’s compared with only 36 percent of those not using mobile devices on the lot. The study also reported that just over half (52 percent) of auto-showroomers were motivated to visit other dealer lots based on information discovered on their smartphones in real time. Advertising also played a role in luring these car buyers (the 52 percent) to other dealers: 33 were drawn to competing dealerships based on ads they saw on their smartphones. The study found that roughly 80 percent of car buyers conducted online research prior to a dealer visit, and 37 percent said they used multiple devices to do so. Smartphones were the most commonly used device (59 percent) followed by PCs/laptops (48 percent). Only 15 percent reported using a “PC only” to conduct research. The clear message of the research is that dealers and carmakers need a cross-platform strategy today to reach the car buying public. If automotive and dealer sites aren’t mobile optimized and marketers aren’t doing mobile advertising they’re going to miss a huge part of the buying public. Source: (2014)

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook! Check out our page and follow our timeline at You can also share your recent accomplishments and awards. 30 — Independent Dealer — February 2014

Park Auto Mall Honored by Chamber FIADA Quality Dealer of the Year Paul Matton has another honor to be proud of. In January, he accepted the Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce’s Medium-Sized Business of the Year Award on behalf of Park Auto Mall. Congratulations!

Spireon Captures Prestigious Award GoldStar GPS by Spireon has long been the choice for dealers trying to lower their risks in subprime lending. Not only has Spireon lead the way with the industry’s top selling Talon GPS tracking device, shipping well over a 1/2 million units in the market today, now Spireon’s been awarded the “Best Automotive Finance Collateral Management Platform” at the 2014 CES Show in Vegas.

Renewal Notices Are On Their Way Renewal notices will be emailed from the Department of Motor Vehicles on February 14, 2014. The renewal license is for the licensure period May 1, 2014, through April 30, 2015. To ensure that your license stays active, your renewal application, all required documentation, and fees must be submitted to the Division of Motorist Services, Regional Office responsible for your dealership on or prior to April 30, 2014. For questions or additional information, refer to


DINO MERCURIO President Independent Credit, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL (561) 686-8673

JIM WINTERICK, SR. CHRISTOPHER LEEDOM Phil Risley Senior Vice President Chairman of the Board Secretary Gulfstream Motor Credit AutoMaxx Cars & Credit of Jacksonville Miami, FL Sarasota, FL Jacksonville, FL (305) 253-2335 (941) 309-1111 (904) 616-4074

Lisa Compagno Regional Vice President Palm Tree Auto Sales Stuart, FL (772) 288-2099

FRANK FUZY Regional Vice President Century Motors of S. FL Pompano Beach, FL (954) 785-0369

STEVE MARBAIS GEORGE HICKEY Regional Vice President Regional Vice President Marbais Enterprises, Inc. Bond Auto Sales Ocoee, FL Tampa, FL (407) 877-7422 (813) 238-7478

PAUL MATTON Treasurer Park Auto Mall Pinellas Park, FL (727) 639-1112

Govinda Romero Regional Vice President Autoflex LLC Gainesville, FL (407) 468-9974

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32 — Independent Dealer —February 2014

February 2014 issue  
February 2014 issue  

February 2014 Issue FIADA's Independent Dealer Magazine