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How to avoid fraudulent warranty reimbursement – Attorney Len Bellavia

For years, dealers have been challenged with receiving fair compensation for retail warranty reimbursement. However, nowadays, franchised dealers in all states are protected. On today’s CBT Now, Lenord Bellavia, Founding Partner of Bellavia Blatt,  joins us to break down what this means for the industry.

According to Bellavia, “Dealers should pay attention to the reimbursement rates as it correlates to revenue streams.” But, dealers are front-end centric, meaning they always worry about sales. Therefore, based on how the industry continues to evolve, the fixed operations sector has driven the entire business overhead expeensives. Bellavia says, “This is what dealers call shop absorption, where the back end of the business drives the overhead.” Furthermore, Bellavia believes “Dealers get grossly underpaid for their parts and labor under warranty.”

Reasonable compensation

When sitting down with dealers to outline what they’re leaving on the table, most dealers believe they’re missing out on a few couple of dollars or percentages in labor rates. However, Bellavia asserts, “When translated into real dollars, it’s typically between $200,000 and $300,000 annually in revenue opportunities. However, manufacturers hold dealers to rigorous standards regarding supporting updates and working capital. According to Bellavia, manufacturers set up departments at the OEM level to analyze warranty claims to receive kickbacks, but “Those submissions must be strictly focused on.” He continues, “If dealers submit 100 consecutive repair orders and one isn’t appropriate for the batch, the OEM will reject it and postpone it by a month or two. Which leads to possible lost revenue of several thousand dollars.”

To properly create a submission, Bellavia’s highly skilled team takes 30 to 40 hours in the first step. Then, they have a quality control process that takes an additional ten hours to review possible mistakes that the manufacturers could see. Furthermore, according to Bellavia, “There are state statute exclusions that dealers are unaware of, which include batteries, maintenance, tires, and more that reduce the overall markup.”

All 50 states have legislation defining 150 qualifying repair orders, parts, and labor. Most dealers are aware of the legislation and are taking advantage of it. Still, those unaware of it need to learn they can resubmit a submission repeatedly for labor because retail labor increases annually.

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