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The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fined a motorcycle dealer in the state almost $25,000 for multiple violations of hazardous waste management regulations.
During a March 2015 inspection of Central Vermont Motorcycles in Rutland, DEC personnel identified multiple violations of hazardous waste management regulations. 
Two 55-gallon drums and dozens of smaller containers were stored on the property and known to hold hazardous materials including bad gasoline, spent antifreeze, and used oil. The actively used waste containers were not stored near the waste generating process, or service activities, which put the waste out of the control of the process operator. 
The smaller storage containers were stored outside, without protection from rain or snow, and both the drums and containers were not protected from freezing. Additionally, the drums and containers were in various states of disrepair, some were left open, and none were properly marked as hazardous waste.  
Agency personnel also observed used oil rags were being stored in open, unmarked containers.  In addition, staff confirmed the shop burns used oil without first testing to ensure the used oil composition is safe to burn.  Finally, Central Vermont Motorcycle staff was unaware of the exact contents of the waste containers, and could not demonstrate sufficient knowledge of required emergency preparedness and response procedures.
For these violations, Central Vermont Motorcycle has agreed to an assurance of discontinuance

Saturday, 19 August 2017 12:46

Auction Raise Funds for Local Charity

Dealers Auto Auction of the Rockies designated the month of June as its Month of Giving to help raise awareness about sex trafficking in the local community and to support Extended Hands of Hope (EHH). DAA Rockies, their customers, and their employees raised over $24,000.
For the past six years, Dealers Auto Auction of the Rockies has held a live charity auction to support a local Colorado non-profit organization.
Since the inaugural charity auction, DAA Rockies, with the help of its customers and vendors, has raised over $75,000 to support various Colorado non-profits. This year DAA Rockies switched up the fundraising from one large event to a month full of smaller events. The events were designed to get customers and employees working together to help raise money.
The events included chances to bid on a mystery car trunk prize, put an employee in jail for the day, beat a car, and attend a live concert. Employees also took part in a staircase challenge and a wacky wager contest among departments to help raise funds.
In addition to the $24,000 raised, Kevin Sharp with The Sharpest Rides donated a van to Extended Hands of Hope.

Saturday, 19 August 2017 12:46

Westlake Educates Employees

Westlake Financial Services recently launched another segment of the Westlake Certification Program for employees interested in expanding their skill-set for potential career advancement.
Westlake’s certification curriculum consists of four levels that participants must complete in order to receive certification. Over nine months, weekly classes cover data tools, communication, culture & environment, and leadership. 
Each class is led by a Westlake Financial Services subject matter expert on the topic and is usually a manager, director or executive. Also, individual participants are paired with a mentor within the organization who dedicates a minimum of four hours per month to assist the participant in completing individual and group assignments, presentations, and homework throughout the program.

Saturday, 19 August 2017 12:46

Dealership Pays for VIN Etching Claims

A New York Nissan dealership paid almost $300,000 to settle charges that the store deceived customers by selling VIN etching.
Pana Nissan LLC, d/b/a Nissan of New Rochelle, will pay a $298,000 settlement to the New York attorney general for deceptively charging hundreds of consumers for VIN etching that cost up to thousands of dollars per consumer. The cost of the etching was often added onto the final cost of the vehicle without the consumer’s knowledge or consent, after the customer had agreed upon the purchase price of a vehicle but before the sale transaction was finalized.
Following a consumer complaint in August 2015 that Nissan of New Rochelle had fraudulently sold an after-sale product, the attorney general's office started an investigation into the dealership’s practices. The investigation found that Nissan of New Rochelle sold these packages to hundreds of consumers, charging from $215 to over $5,000. 
Furthermore, Nissan of New Rochelle failed to clearly disclose the nature of the after-sale product to its customers. The “Total Loss Protection” or “Total Loss Protection Guarantee” product was advertised as a permanent etch or engraving of the vehicle’s VIN, or a registered serial number, on the windows of the vehicle – supposedly to deter theft. 
However, Nissan of New Rochelle did not actually etch the VIN onto the windows of the vehicles. Instead, for some vehicles, the dealership placed sticker decals with assigned registration numbers on the inside of the door or door-jamb where no one could see them, thus having no deterrent effect. 
For other vehicles, the dealership did not even provide stickers or decals.
Consumers were also led to believe that there would be a guaranteed credit up to either $3,000 or $5,000 toward the purchase of a new vehicle should their car be stolen. However, there were numerous conditions and limitations – such as that the credit would not be applied if it eliminated the dealership’s profit on the sale – which rendered the “credit” illusory. Only one consumer ever received a credit through the Total Loss Protection program.
Under the agreement, Nissan of New Rochelle will refund $276,127 to 298 consumers who were charged an add-on fee for the Total Loss Protection product. In addition to restitution, the dealership will also pay $22,084 in penalties, fees, and costs to the state.

Friday, 18 August 2017 02:05

ADESA Appoints Two to Sales Team

ADESA added two new members to its sales team.
Angela Williams has joined the company as executive sales director.
Williams had been the business development and marketing manager for Rawls Auto Auction in Leesville, S.C., since 2010.
Williams started her career at Rawls in 1990 as a part-time block clerk, joining the auction full time in 1996 in the fleet-lease department. Later she was promoted to fleet-lease manager and then assistant general manager, serving in that position from 2005 to 2010.
She holds an associate’s degree from Midlands Technical College in West Columbia, S.C.
Additionally, Kirk Archer, formerly with KAR’s Insurance Auto Auctions business unit, has been named executive sales director at ADESA.
Archer was previously director of commercial sales at IAA. He joined IAA in 2007 as an auction coordinator and was later promoted to divisional sales manager. Archer began his career at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Tampa, Fla. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida.

Friday, 18 August 2017 02:05

NAAA Honors Phoenix Auction

Metro Auto Auction of Phoenix has been named the National Auto Auction Association's 2017 Western Chapter Auto Auction of the Year for its outstanding public service. The Phoenix business was chosen for its commitment to making a difference in the lives of the community's youth, which includes mentoring at-risk high school students and creating a winter wonderland of real snow to host a Christmas party for seriously ill children.
Both of these local children's nonprofit groups have been "adopted" by the auction as its primary philanthropic activities.
The auction will be one of four finalists representing NAAA's Eastern, Midwest, Southern and Western chapters competing for the top honor of NAAA's Auto Auction of the Year Award for Excellence in Community Service.

Friday, 18 August 2017 02:05

Manheim Upgrades MMR

Manheim introduced a sweeping set of enhancements to its Manheim Market Report (MMR).
Adjusted MMR is a more specific valuation because it includes a vehicle's specific AutoGrade condition and exterior color, in addition to vehicle mileage and region. With this enhancement, clients can manually input a vehicle's specific condition, color, mileage, and region to get the Adjusted MMR.
In a September update, the mileage, color, and condition will automatically display and clients can manually select region (based on preference) to get the Adjusted MMR. Adjusted MMR delivers a more accurate vehicle valuation to both buyers and sellers, which drives greater confidence to transact online.
Available across desktop, tablet and mobile devices, the new MMR experience provides insight into how each vehicle-specific adjustment affects its MMR value, and facilitates more transparent pricing using data visualizations that allow clients to quickly compare their vehicle's Adjusted MMR value to the Base MMR value at-a-glance.
The all-new API provides on-demand access to the more-accurate Adjusted MMR values, and also takes advantage of OEM Build Data in the VIN-decoding process, providing convenience and strategic insights to clients with high volumes.

Friday, 18 August 2017 02:04

Consumer Group Names Executive Director

The Center for Auto Safety announced the appointment of Jason K. Levine as its new executive director.
Levine succeeds the late Clarence M. Ditlow as head of the consumer advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader.
Levine spent almost six years at the Consumer Product Safety Commission
during the Obama administration, including four as chief counsel. He previously served in the same position at the Federal Election Commission and later served in an advisory capacity to the Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
He joined the Office of Personnel Management in August 2015 to lead the agency’s response to Congress in the midst of the highly publicized cyber incidents involving federal employee data.
Levine is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, with honors, and received a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University.
Among his stated goals are “making the case for… a Federal Trade Commission that enforces truth-in-advertising laws, particularly when it comes to used cars.”

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 22:21

State Cracks Down on Buy-Here, Pay-Here

Regulators in Massachusetts took action against Westlake Financial Services, along with several buy-here, pay-here dealerships, accusing them of unlicensed and illegal auto lending practices. The state’s Division of Banks, in collaboration with the Division of Professional Licensure and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, canvassed approximately 200 car dealerships statewide to identify unlicensed lending activity and/or unfair or deceptive acts or practices associated with the sales and financing of used automobiles. The effort resulted in five enforcement actions, 135 cease directives, $170,000 in fines and penalties, and more than $200,000 in consumer reimbursements. Massachusetts requires buy-here, pay-here dealerships be licensed by the Division of Banks. Companies who purchase or take assignment of retail installment contracts are also required to be licensed. These requirements apply anytime the purchase of a vehicle is financed in two or more installments, regardless of whether interest is charged on the loan. The Banks Division entered into a consent order with Westlake, and its wholly owned subsidiary Western Funding Inc. (WFI) to address unlicensed activity and illegal lending practices. WFI purchased 157 finance contracts from Massachusetts’ auto dealers without first obtaining a license. Thirty-three of those contracts had effective annual percentage rates in excess of the state maximum rate of 21 percent due to the financing of GAP premiums. The consent order requires Western Funding to reimburse 33 consumers all finance charges collected and waive any future charges that accrue on their loans. Western Funding was also required to pay a $50,000 administrative penalty and cease lending activity until it obtained a license. The division anticipates over $200,000 in reimbursements to Massachusetts consumers as a result of its action against Westlake and WFI. Westlake is under a previous consent order with the division to address substantial non-compliance identified through a routine examination, including the purchase of contracts with APRs in excess of 21 percent due to financing GAP premiums. Westlake also entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance in 2016 with the Massachusetts attorney general’s office for similar practices. The division entered into a consent order with Cedar Auto Sales LLC to address unlicensed activity. Cedar continued to originate and hold retail installment contracts after its license expired in 2015. The division identified 157 contracts originated by Cedar while unlicensed. Although the company did not charge interest on the contracts, its unlicensed activity posed an unnecessary risk to consumers. The consent order required Cedar to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 and cease lending activity until it obtained a new license with the division. The division entered into a consent order with New City Funding Corp. to address failure to provide adequate right to cure provisions to consumers who fell behind on payments. New City engaged in the use of starter-interrupt devices to automatically disable vehicles prior to the expiration of the borrower’s right to cure period. The consent order required New City to pay an administrative penalty of $90,000 for the alleged violations. The division entered into a consent order with State Cap Auto Finance Inc. for a variety of deficiencies including excessive fee charges and improper repossession practices. The consent order required the company to pay a $20,000 administrative penalty plus required consumer reimbursements.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 22:21

Wholesale Prices Decline, Incentives Rise

July's wholesale depreciation declined by an average of 2 percent, matching historical trends, according to J.D. Power Valuation Services. The J.D. Power Used Vehicle Price Index fell slightly to 0.7 percent to 110.4.  Incentive spending continued its upward trend. Incentives increased for the 28th month in a row.
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