The American Recovery Association (ARA) is pleased to announce that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has approved ARA as a licensed Recovery Agent School and Training Facility. This recognition allows all future recovery professionals to gain the training required to receive a Florida license through ARA.
Along with the recently introduced ARA/RDN real-time compliance solution, this recognition from the state of Florida will allow ARA to offer all recovery industry stakeholders the ability to streamline how licensing and compliance are engaged and verified.
“It is an honor for Florida to acknowledge the strength of the ARA Field Agent Training Program and accept it as a viable choice for the training required to receive a repossession license,” said ARA President Dave Kennedy. “Through our continuing efforts to create an industry-wide solution for training, licensing and compliance, we believe that all industry participants will benefit.”
To build positive synergy and help establish universally accepted industry standards, ARA is inviting all repossession agency owners to an in-person meeting in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, November 5, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST, where an in-depth presentation will outline current ARA initiatives.
The meeting will be held at the Westin Dallas Fort Worth Airport, 4545 W John Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX 75063. For those not able to attend in person, ARA will be holding webinars on Thursday November 14 at 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST and Friday November 15 at 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST to communicate and answer additional questions.
Written by ALS Resolvion CEO and ARA Member, Michael Levison
Effective management of impound repossessions is challenging. Impound yard operators are notorious for being difficult and, in many cases, unscrupulous operators. The entire process consists of several unconnected parts and requires specialized expertise to handle effectively. If not handled properly, the process can be extremely expensive, or even worse, can result in the loss of your lien.
The article will examine the issues and highlight strategies that should increase your net recoveries on impounded vehicles.
The first step in handling an impound is actually knowing that the vehicle that you are trying to recover has actually been impounded. This may seem obvious but this is where most problems start. While a party that is considering converting title is required to give the existing lien holder notice, the process is often delayed or ignored. We also see many cases where the lender does not have clear procedures for identifying impound notifications. All of this results in loss of time and when it comes to impounded vehicles, time is definitely big money.
To mitigate this issue, we recommend a couple of basic steps: (1) subscribe to a VIN monitoring service that has access to law enforcement information and other data that can give you early notification on potential lien losses and (2) establish clear internal procedures for acting on the information quickly. Storage fees add up very fast so you want to establish contact with the lot immediately. Taking these basic steps to have a defined internal process and VIN monitoring system will not only reduce your storage fees but also make your impound recovery operations more efficient helping you save time and money.
Knowledge is Power
Impound lot operators have developed a pretty bad reputation for exploiting situations. One of their favorite tactics is to charge fees that, under local regulations, they really are not allowed to charge. This is where knowledge of local rules can be very valuable. Admittedly, it is not always easy to find. Rules can vary based on state, city, county, etc. However, basic web searches can often yield the insight that you need. Even if you don’t have the information, don’t hesitate to push back on the fees. They are usually willing to negotiate.
If the fees are very high and you are convinced that you are being grossly overcharged, you may want to take (or threaten) a legal action known as an Interpleader Proceeding. Under this approach, the fees demanded are placed with the court and then the court decides what is allowed. Just the threat of going this route is often enough to persuade a bad operator to be more reasonable. Thus, in order to avoid paying higher fees for recovering impounded cars, equip yourself with knowledge of local rules or ensure you have an impound partner with expert negotiating skills.
To Pay or Not to Pay
It pretty common for impounded vehicles to have severe damage which obviously would materially reduce auction values. Combine that with the impound fees, transport and auction-related fees and it does not take much to pull the transaction into the red. Careful analysis should be conducted on borderline situations. Spend a little money and send an inspector to take pictures and complete a proper condition report. There are also multiple data sources that can give you pretty accurate estimates of value. If it does not make sense, just let the lien go.
Rapid Impound Recovery
Speed of recovery is especially important when dealing with impounded vehicles. Given the very high daily storage rates charged by many lots, just a few days of additional storage can make the difference when determining whether or not it makes sense to recover the unit. Align yourself with vendors that can coordinate a pick up quickly regardless of location and who are willing to front the fees on your behalf. Moving quickly, with the right partners, can add significantly to the net realized value.
Insurance Related Issues
Often times impounded vehicles are damaged and have active insurance coverages under which you are entitled to make a claim. The opportunity is overlooked by many lenders. Others attempt to pursue it but don’t really have the expertise to optimize the opportunity. There are several firms that offer expertise in this area including our nationwide skip trace and repossession company, ALS Resolvion.
In addition to timely filing of insurance claims, it is good practice to audit the claims payment you receive. The insurance company’s objective is to minimize payout and they have many ways to accomplish this goal. Often times their decisions are subjective and/or made on inaccurate data. One lender recently reported to us that simply auditing claims payments for accuracy added almost $300 in net proceeds to each impound recovery. For a sub-prime lender, that is huge.
One last opportunity that can be pursued are excess proceeds that might be generated from a lien sale. Legally, the party that successfully converted a lien is only entitled to the amount of the fees they claimed were owed. If a sale of the vehicle generates amounts in excess of the amount due, it is supposed to be remitted to the lien holder. Of course, in many cases this is not done voluntarily but some lenders monitor the issue and will pursue it when appropriate.
As this article has mentioned, there are many issues involved when it comes to recovering an impounded vehicle and different strategies to solve them. Optimizing financial results from impounded vehicles is tricky business; however, the right processes and partners can make a big difference.
New Webinar – Do You Know How to Deal with Angry People?
In Part 2 of our Creating a Culture of Safety series, we’re discussing how to effectively deal with angry people and strategies you can use to relieve tense situations. In this webinar, you’ll:
- Better understand the different levels of anger
- Learn proven strategies to deal with angry people
- Communications process
- Effective listening/speaking skills
- Telephone techniques
- Knowing your people
- Administrative policies and procedures
The problem-solving techniques you will learn can be applied both in and out of the field! To register for this webinar, click the button below!
Wednesday, September 18
1:00 p.m. CST
ARA to Present Special Safety Webinar
In light of recent domestic events, the American Recovery Association will hold a special safety-centered webinar on August 22 entitled “Developing a Culture of Safety and Active Shooter Awareness.” We highly encourage all our members and their employees to attend this crucial webinar. Our goal is to equip you with the tools you need to know the warning signs and understand what to do if the unthinkable were to happen.
Thursday, August 22nd
1:00 p.m. CST / 2:00 p.m. EST
About ARA Webinars
The American Recovery Association offers a free continuing education webinar series for recovery and remarketing professionals. These monthly one-hour webinars provide essential education about the latest recovery laws and regulations, compliance policies, industry issues, and more. We gear our presentations towards owners, managers, employees, and field agents.
You must register online for this webinar using your personal e-mail address in order to receive your certificate of completion. In the event that computer sharing is necessary for your office, please provide a list of employee names and e-mail addresses in an excel spreadsheet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or feedback about our continuing education webinar series, contact ARA Home Office at 972-755-4755 or email@example.com.
In partnership with Harding Brooks Insurance Agency, the American Recovery Association is excited to announce our latest insurance benefit for all of our compliant member companies:
Preferred pricing for workers’ compensation!
With the addition of this perk, we deepen our organization’s commitment to you, your business, your employees, and your families. We want to ensure the well-being of the people most important to you and protect your business from expensive lawsuits.
Harding Brooks will handle everything for member companies who opt into the improved workers’ compensation. This includes securing the best pricing available by working directly with carriers to show the compliance of ARA members and negotiate lower rates. This service is not a payroll program, so members who take advantage can continue using their own payroll system.
Contact Mike Peplinski at Harding Brooks (315) 214-5822 to learn more about this offer and other ARA member programs, including health care and life insurance.
Register Today for ARA’s July Webinar
Join Mike Peplinski & Renee Low from Harding Brooks and Joel Bowen from CALTECH Employees Federal Credit Union, as they discuss how to put your best foot forward as a recovery professional
Wednesday, July 24th
1:00 p.m. CST / 2:00 p.m. EST
The American Recovery Association provides a free continuing education webinar series for recovery and remarketing professionals. This one-hour webinar series offers education about the latest recovery laws and regulations, compliance policies, industry issues, and more. These presentations are geared towards owners, managers, employees, and field agents.
As an ARA member, you must register online for this webinar using your personal e-mail address so that you receive your certificate of completion. In the event that computer sharing is necessary for your office, please provide a list of employee names and email addresses in an excel spreadsheet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or feedback about our continuing education webinar series, please contact ARA Home Office at 972-755-4755 or email@example.com.
Cost-Effective Health Insurance Program Open to All Members
In partnership with Harding Brooks, we are proud to announce our newest member benefit: a national, cost-effective health insurance program open to all members.
A rich benefits package is key in retaining quality employees and obtaining health insurance for small business’ has not always been an easy option. We are always working to find ways to add value to your membership and we are thrilled to now offer a cost-effective insurance program for the recovery industry.
Harding Brooks will now serve as your one-stop-shop for health insurance, ensuring you are getting the best rates possible. This includes, educating you and your staff on coverages, deductibles and co-pays while putting together the best plan from top healthcare providers across the country.
Contact Mike at Harding Brooks (315) 214-5822 to discuss which health care plan is the best option for you and your employees.
And stay tuned! We’ll be rolling out more offerings in the coming months.
This month’s Member Highlight is Myles Weiss, founder of Able Auto Adjusters. Able Auto Adjusters was founded in 1962 and is the longest continually operating repossession company in California.
Weiss attended the very first meeting where ARA began and has volunteered his time for more than thirty years, serving in every executive post, culminating with his election to the Presidency in 1979. Mr. Weiss continued to serve the Association and in 1999 was re-elected to the Presidency.
It is not only on the national scene that Mr. Weiss has lent his expertise, but on the state level as well. He is a founding member of the California Association of Licensed Repossessors, and after decades of service, was elected as their President in 1981.
Mr. Weiss’ commitment to the repossession industry has garnered him the distinction of being “one of the Fathers of the industry”. He continues to this day to readily offer his advice and expertise and is sought after as an expert witness in many situations.
It is this backbone that gives Able Auto Adjusters the ability to serve its clientele with superior service.
Mr. Weiss lives with his lovely wife of 62 years, Francine, in the home they built 50 years ago. He has three children, Marc, Suzanne and Danielle and is blessed with 9 grandchildren from age 5 to 33.
As Mr. Weiss is fond of saying; “Anyone can repossess a vehicle, it is the ability to locate the chattel for the client that makes you a true repossessor.”
This has truly become Able Auto Adjuster’s motto now that you have tried all the rest, try the best.
A Letter from ARA Executive Director, Les McCook
I had the honor of joining a panel of Association Executives at the National Automotive Finance Association conference. I sat alongside Phillip Bohi of American Financial Services Association, Paul D Metrey of National Automobile Dealers Association, and Shaun K. Peterson of National Independent Automobile Dealers Association. Jack Tracey served as the moderator and led our discussion about the challenges each of our respective memberships face on a daily basis.
Jack Tracey and Joel Kennedy, NAF Association leaders, were instrumental in assembling the panel together. Our goal was to discuss strategies on how we can begin to define a minimum compliance standard for our sectors.
After confirming as leaders that we should move forward with the initiative, we successfully brought lenders and clients into agreement on a solution. As individual company owners, you should decide where and how you obtain the training necessary for your employees to meet the many compliance standards as prescribed by our clients.
Looking forward, our next project will be improving the quality of site inspections and then determining the best way to share that information within the community of industry stakeholders.
We always look forward to these discussions, and we want to thank everyone for their time and commitment to such an important project.
This month, we want to highlight Wesley Wood, president and founder of Wesley Auto Recovery Inc. Under Wesley’s leadership, Wesley Auto Recovery Inc. has pursued for excellence and integrity in the industry for over 30 years.
Before he started his company servicing cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more, Wesley started out in the industry with just a coat hanger, a hot wire, and a ring of keys. How times have changed! Now, Wesley employs two of his three children, making his company a thriving family business that prides itself on providing outstanding customer service both in the office and out in the field.
When he’s not at work, you can find Wesley spending time down the shore, cruising around town with his wife of 37 years, Lorraine, in his classic Cadillac, or attending a local car show. We thank Wesley for his 40+ years of contributions to the industry and for being an outstanding member of ARA!