What Does It Take to Get VPA Certification?
VPA certification is an extremely rigorous process. Because our industry is strongly committed to deterring bad actors, maintaining industry integrity and to treating consumers right, we have set the bar high for certification.
Companies must invest considerable time, money and resources to become exemplary industry citizens as demonstrated by their successfully completing the certification-audit process.
Overview of the VPA Certification Process
Certification is predicated on a lengthy and comprehensive third-party audit. The independent auditors are former assistant Attorneys General who are specifically trained in operations audits of marketing firms. They intensely scrutinize the companies to make sure they follow state and federal laws, as well as the VPAs Standards of Conduct.
Certification is an iterative process. As part of the audit, employees of the firms are interviewed on site to assess possible areas of non-compliance. Policies and procedures are reviewed, calls (inbound and outbound as appropriate) are monitored, and contracts are reviewed. Auditors also ensure that companies are registered as a provider and/or marketer of vehicle service contracts in all required states. In addition, the firms are mystery shopped several times and most sales persons are unknowingly interviewed to ensure that they are following all appropriate rules, regulations and industry standards of conduct.
Results are then discussed with the owners and principals. Policies and procedures are changed as necessary before the firm is shopped and visited again. The process iterates until all certification requirements are met. Only after the firm is perfect in its rating, is it then recommended for Certification.
Examples of Documents Reviewed By the Certification Auditor
Firms that are contemplating applying for VPA certification should be aware that the auditor will request an extensive array of firm documents. Some of the materials that will be requested by the auditor(s) prior to your on-site certification audit include the following:
- All advertising materials currently being used or that has been used in the past six months
- A listing of all states in which you are registered to sell automotive service plans (if required)
- Do Not Call Policy
- List of all states in which you are registered under the State Telemarketing Registration Statute
- Compliance manual(s)
- Training materials for new TSRs (inbound or outbound phone operators)
- Human resources packet provided to new TSRs
- Internal Audit results from the past 12 months
- Record retention schedule
- Current scripts for inbound and outbound calling campaigns
- Consent to record telephone call form
- State compliance matrix(s) for telemarketing or other regulatory compliance.
- Any other telemarketing or advertising compliance documents you believe will be helpful to the review process
- Copies of all service contracts being offered
- Copies of all reimbursement insurance policies (if required)
- Data security plan
- Predictive dialer policies, procedures and records (if applicable)
- Written complaint resolution policy
- Due diligence forms/affidavits used to ensure that list providers and/or lead generators comply with state and federal laws.
- Cancellation and refund policies and procedures.
Auditors will work with companies to ensure they have all required policies and procedures in place, and that such policies and procedures are implemented appropriately.