Wednesday, April 23, 2008

FL Senate weighs bill to “neuter” faux bull testicles on trailer hitches

A bill before the FL state senate would impose a fine of $60 for displaying fake bull testicles on vehicle trailer hitches.

I think we should we sell these in the F&I office
as an accessory!

State Senator Carey Baker is apparently upset over the popularity of a novelty car accessory that displays what looks like bull testicles on the trailer hitches. The false testicles appear to be a national trend and are popular with some pick up truck owners.

According to an article appearing in The Tampa Tribune the Florida State Senate is considering a bill that would impose a fine of $60 for displaying the fake testicles-some question whether or not the debate is an exercise in futility and an assault on First Amendment freedoms. This could be an interesting, if not entertaining, debate.

Apparently when first brought up on the senate floor, the senator’s debate was somewhat hampered by the presence of school children in the gallery.

Purveyors of the faux testicles include two Internet companies- Your Nutz and BullsBalls.

Your Nutz is a California company whose owner, David Ham, is very happy for the free publicity that these efforts generate. Your Nutz offers a variety of “styles” and colors including colors like sun-kissed sienna, dark forest green and an electric blue set that are lighted and produce a glow in the dark attraction.

BullsBalls is an Arizona company and boasts of selling about 500 sets per month. He too suggests that efforts by lawmakers to restrict their use actually create a big boost in sales.

The Tampa Tribune article quotes a cultural anthropologist, Alan Burns, from the University of Florida in Gainesville. According to Burns, “I suspect that it’s not as much some kind of statement about manliness as it is just some kind of goofiness.” (Do ya think?)

Tiny set for a Prius

Burns goes on to say, “I drive a Prius, so I wouldn’t put them on it.” (I guess that would not be a good fit.)

Given the online feedback to this story, it looks like Florida residents are not very impressed with their legislator’s choice of topics to debate- most calling it a total waste of time.


AUTOMOTIVE NEWS - with a twist

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Former Honda store GM pleads guilty to fraud charges in leasing case

U.S. Attorney pursues dealership manager over altered lease documents

Duane Clark, the former general manager of Chezik Honda in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court to a wire fraud scheme that involved falsifying paperwork on car leases in order to obtain higher commissions for himself, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. Clark admitted that from April 3, 2000, through June 14, 2004, he fraudulently altered car lease worksheets and contracts by adding dealer-installed options that were never actually installed. Those altered documents were then sent to American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC).

The altered lease contracts showed the vehicle with an inflated value due to the dealer-installed options, which did not exist. As a result, Mr. Clark and others received higher commission checks. The total potential loss, as calculated from the altered lease worksheets, was approximately $62,230.

Mr. Clark could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

AFI's take on this:

WOW, I always warn dealership management that leases are one way for a dishonest F&I manager to steal. All the customer agrees to is Monthly payment, initial investment and term. The vehicle's sale price or added equiptment doesn't matter. The interest rate is a non-issue as it is calculated as a money factor.

If they were re-printing leases and adding in parts and accessories, the customer had to have been closed on a monthly payment that reflected these adds. The desk manager then just raised the money factor to match the packed payment. Later, they committed bank fraud by lowering the money factor, adding the accessories, printing a new lease and worksheet and forging the customers name. Wow.

I wonder then, if they were adding accessories from the parts department (as Honda-approved dealer installed options requires an internal RO), the parts such as alloy wheels and spoilers, could then be fenced or sold on Ebay.

Adding to the volume of the Parts department is a must for a dealership General Manager to increase his "commission check" as GM's are paid on total profit dollars. It's scary to think of all the other things these guys were probably doing. I bet getting caught like this was just the tip of the iceberg.


These guys should have visited my automotive F&I managers Laws and Regulations blog:
It will help one to measure a well-run automotive f&i department.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Prank at Car Dealer to be on 'America's Funniest Home Videos'

AWESOME!!! this reminds me of all the crazy stuff I did as a salesman. I probably should have won at least 10 grand. Oh well.

Prank at Chambersburg car dealer to be on 'America's Funniest Home Videos'

What began as a prank on a co-worker at a Guilford Township car dealer could result in a cash prize on Sunday.

The prank involved sneaking a live tarantula onto the shirt of Fitzgerald Auto Mall employee Chris Bowser. The activity was caught on tape and sent to "America's Funniest Home Videos."

At 7 p.m. Sunday, the video will be shown, with the pranksters standing a chance to win the $10,000 top prize. The show was filmed in February in California with Bowser and a couple of his co-workers in attendance.

Fitzgerald manager Bill Barling said that it became known that Bowser has a fear of spiders when a small one appeared in a meeting room one day. On a drive back from a meeting in Maryland, Barling and Adam Labar came up with the idea of buying a tarantula from a pet store and putting it on -- or near -- Bowser. When he sees the spider in the center of his chest, the results are predictable.

"I was a screaming little girl in the video," Bowser said.

Getting the arachnid onto Bowser was not an easy task. The spider was housed in a large metal coffee can and had stretched out its legs inside. When Headley went to get it out of the can, the spider simply wouldn't let go of the can. Early in the video they can be heard bouncing the can off of the floor as Headley attempts to pry it free.

The video got large laughs around the 1436 Lincoln Way East dealership and those folks thought it was a natural for the show. They sent the video off and a few weeks later received a phone call.

A few days later Bowser, Bill Barling and Adam Labar found themselves on a plane to California to tape the show. ABC, which owns the rights to the show, paid for round-trip airfare, lodging and gave them meal money for the three-day trip.

Although the tarantula is the biggest prank played on Bowser at the dealership, co-workers said that it's far from the first. In fact, Bowser's frequently been the target of practical jokes.

"There isn't much that we haven't put this guy through. I think the only thing we haven't done is light him on fire," Headley said.

Link to original article:


All F&I managers need to joint the affiliate program at the Credit Restoration Factory. Affiliates earn a $50 referral fee per lead.


AUTOMOTIVE NEWS - with a twist

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Car dealer accused of skimming millions

Dealer accused of skimming millions from bankruptcy accounts

(Hey, It was just a little float. He was gonna pay it back)

A British bank and a Virginia bankruptcy trustee have alleged that the dealer engaged in a massive fraud.

A bankruptcy trustee has filed a complaint against a well-known used-car dealer and his family seeking the return of more than $6 million that they spent on personal luxuries, including a Florida property, a housekeeper, and horse boarding and riding lessons, according to reports in the Hampton Roads Pilot.

The complaint filed in bankruptcy court alleges Charles Falk and his family enriched themselves in a massive fraud. The suit also names a former business associate.

In January, two finance companies affiliated with Falk Motor Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing as much as $10 million in debts. Auto Finance Co. and AFC Automobile Receivables Funding II, or AFC II, are seeking to reorganize their finances through the bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy judge appointed a trustee to steer the finance companies through the process. After reviewing thousands of pages of financial records, the trustee discovered that Mr. Falk and his family members allegedly siphoned off nearly $6.5 million from accounts that were collateral for a loan from London-based bank NM Rothschild & Sons.

The bank initially believed that Mr. Falk took $2.8 million and spent it on personal items, such as building a Florida residence; horse boarding and riding lessons for his granddaughter; country club dues and meals; and maintaining and flying his private plane.

The trustee said in court papers that he has since found that Mr. Falk and his family improperly spent more than double the $2.8 million over two years on personal expenses.

In one example, one of the Falk finance companies paid the premiums on a $500,000 life insurance policy for a longtime employee. When the employee died, the company paid the $4,200 funeral bill, yet Mr. Falk himself was the beneficiary of the policy.

Mr. Falk, who founded his buy-here-pay-here business more than 30 years ago, is not himself listed as an owner or officer in the two finance companies. His son and daughter are listed as the principal owners.

In the complaint, the trustee charges 11 counts, including conspiracy, fraud and unjust enrichment. The complaint seeks the return of more than $6.4 million plus $350,000 in punitive damages.

Old Charlie should have learned Automotive F&I Compliance from the insider:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Customer's $100K BMW is Involved in Accident at Dealership

Customer’s $100K BMW is involved in an accident in the early hours of Easter Sunday, Owner wants dealership to pay

Santa Rosa California real estate agent Charles Himes was awakened before 6AM on Easter Sunday morning with a call from the police about his wrecked car

DealersEdge Daily Headlines

Himes’ 500-horsepower, V-10 BMW M5 was in the shop for some warranty repairs. On Friday afternoon, the service advisor called asking him to return to the dealership, drive his car over the weekend and then return it Monday to finalize the repair. Apparently the dealership felt that an extended road test was needed. Himes declined (he was in a loaner) and made arrangements for the dealership to take care of the road test, all according to an article in the Press Democrat.

When Himes arrived at the scene of the crash, an envelope with the name of a dealership employee was found in the back seat. Himes, along with Santa Rosa police, then presented themselves at the doorstep of the service advisor. At this point no hit-and-run charges were levied.

Not long after the police left, a dealership manager arrived and fired the service advisor.

Now Himes is demanding that the dealership pay off his car loan and replace the vehicle. According to the dealership, this is being treated as an insurance matter and a report has been filed with their insurance carrier. Himes has hired an attorney to press his case.

What a cool car - such a shame.

According to the dealer, the employee violated company rules by agreeing to take the customer’s car home.

According to Himes, when he was asked to take the vehicle for the weekend and he declined - he then agreed with the service advisor that he should drive the vehicle over the weekend. Himes is quoted as saying, “I told him I don’t care who drives it".

So who’s to blame? Should the dealership step up and cover the customer’s loss? Should the service advisor lose his job? Does the fact that the car was wrecked in the middle of the night have any bearing on the dispute?

Reality in an Automotive Dealership's F&I office:

Automotive News - With a Twist: