In the last newsletter there was an article about a U.S. Senator's efforts to prohibit health insurance companies from refusing to cover medical bills for insureds who are injured while riding powersport machines. This is an important issue. If you have not already done so, please go to the AMA Rapid Response Center and send a quick and easy email message of support for the bill to Colorado Senators Allard and Salazar.

From the Desk of Jerry Abboud, Executive Director
Meeting Dealer Needs

When, not if, Governor Ritter signs HB1081, there will finally be a franchise law that covers the powersports products dealers sell. Uniform relationships between dealers and manufacturers will be the prevailing background. Also, uniform licensing and requirements to sell powersports products will give consumer's confidence in a purchase. Because the Motor Vehicle Industry Division is new to powersports products, they have requested PDAC's assistance in implementing the new law by meeting with PDAC representatives to get it done right the first time. Jason White GM at Fay Myers and I attended the first such meeting and it was very successful. All very good news, but what else is PDAC working on in 2007?


Franchise Protection for Scooters
Scooters 50ccs and under have not been treated as motor vehicles for purposes of the laws that govern the motor vehicle industry, that has been a problem. They to, can be sold by fly-by-night operations and remained in limbo from a franchise law perspective. This is all changing. After working with the Motor Vehicle Industry Division in Colorado, PDAC has reached an agreement based upon the current language in the law, that these "motorized bicycles" are subject to regulation and franchise protection.

Don't be concerned about how this affects the special registration, insurance and lack of a motorcycle endorsement; this part of the law remains the same. They are motor vehicles only for regulation of sales, not how they are registered and operated on the street.

OHV Registration Fee Changes
With the need for trail maintenance on the increase and federal dollars in short supply, PDAC has worked with the Colorado Division of parks to create a non-resident permit for $25.00 that will contribute another $250,000 to keep trails open and have non-residents pay their fair share. Additionally, for the first time in a decade the OHV registration fee is increasing to $25.25 to further guarantee there will be plenty of opportunities on federal lands for motorized recreation. This state program has generated nearly $12,000,000 over the past 15 years by creating partnerships for trail maintenance and repairs.

Title and Sales Tax on Powersport Units
The issue of titles and sales tax for powersports is on the 2008 legislative agenda, the purpose being to treat such vehicles in the same fashion as motor vehicles for liens against titles and collecting sales tax. Since the powersports products are not registered nor treated as motor vehicles, PDAC will be working closely with the Department of Revenue to develop a workable system.

GAP Protection Restrictions
GAP has become an issue for dealers as this useful consumer protection product has been reduced to an item dealers are having trouble selling due to the restrictions on profit that the state imposes on dealers. PDAC is continuing the effort to raise the limits to a reasonable level of profit. This is another possible legislative issue as failure to raise the limits can result in a request to the legislature by bill.

House Bill 1081 Passes both Houses
Lastly, since HB1081 was passed, a thank you to the bill's sponsors is in order.

Representative Dan Marostica, Larimer County don.marostica@state.co.us

Senator Lois Tochtrop, Thornton lotochtrop@aol.com


A Quest for Quiet
This article about "quiet" in the Denver Post just reinforces the need for vigilence and a proactive stance on the part of PDAC to protect our rights (and the rights of our customers)to ride in Colorado.

"McClellan's was one of many soft voices creating a club-like crescendo in Glenwood as the event - hosted by the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance and co-sponsored by Audubon Colorado - united traditionally "quiet" recreation enthusiasts such as hikers, skiers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, hunters and anglers to discuss the recreation future of local public lands with representatives of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Although the message remained for the most part positive, an all-but-unspoken enemy was found in motorized recreation, primarily the increased use of off-highway all-terrain vehicles known as "quads," or ATVs, expanding in a spaghetti network of routes and roads through the forest.

"Colorado is a hotbed for quiet, active recreation," said Aaron Clark, recreation campaign director for theSouthern Rockies Conservation Alliance. "We're trying to take a positive approach by focusing on the need to preserve quiet recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat. However, if ATV users and the advocacy groups that represent them have their way, there will be even fewer places to go to find quiet and solitude." --- By Scott Willoughby, Denver Post Staff Writer

Click here to read the entire Denver Post article 'A Quest for Quiet'.


House Bill-1117 Helmet Law passes both Houses
Colorado House Bill-1117 (Primavera - D) "Concerning The Requirement That A Protective Helmet Be Worn By A Person Under Eighteen Years Of Age During The Operation Of Certain Vehicles" is specific to motorcycles and motorized bicycles, and nothing else. Although the bill is restricted to people under eighteen years of age, other states are now facing legislation to strike the under 18 provision from similar laws. The bill has passed both Colorado Houses and will become law once Governor Ritter signs it.

From the Chairman's Perspective
By Kurt Finley

This is the second monthly PDAC newsletter. We are determined to provide you with timely news and information about how your state dealer association is protecting and enhancing your opportunities as a retail powersports dealer in Colorado. I hope you enjoy the newsletter and all the electronic communiqués you'll be receiving from PDAC.

Most of these communications will be distributed to member and non-member dealers in Colorado in an effort to keep everyone up-to-date on our activities on their behalf. For members, our goal is to effectively demonstrate the value that their dues dollars are creating for them and for their businesses. For non-members, our goal is to motivate them to action; to move them to join the powersports dealer association and to support it with their dues dollars, their opinions and their participation.

As I write this, HB1081 is sitting on Governor Ritter's desk. HB1081 is the powersports dealers licensing legislation that brings the sale of ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and personal watercraft under the purview of the Colorado Dealer Licensing Board. It matches up most of the rules governing the sale of new and used cars and trucks, along with our street-legal bikes, to powersports vehicles. We believe the Governor will sign the bill soon.

Our purpose in proposing and supporting this legislation was multifaceted. First, we wanted to level the playing field for the various manufacturers of powersports vehicles sold in the state. Under this legislation, manufacturers will have to be registered with and be recognized by the state of Colorado. In order to do that they will be required to have a local agent and to have a system to address consumer problems and complaints. The recent invasion of Chinese ATVs and scooters has skirted what flimsy federal regulations that exist and has encountered no interference whatsoever in most states. That has resulted in a record for quality and safety with those machines that is, at best, uneven.

Also, under the legislation, all sellers of powersports vehicles will be required to be licensed by the state, ensuring them and the public that a certain standard of professionalism, accountability and competence will be maintained. Consumer confidence and the quality of the consumer experience with powersports equipment will be enhanced.

Along with licensing, comes franchise protection for dealers who sell powersports vehicles, including territorial rights and limitations on the powers of manufacturers in dealing with dealers. Heretofore, these franchise rights have existed only for street legal bikes. The extension of these franchise rights to all powersports vehicles will strengthen the value of every franchised powersports dealer in the state of Colorado. In next year's legislation session we will be working with Colorado's automobile dealers, among others, to strengthen those franchise protections even more.

And now that the current legislative session has concluded, the dealer association will turn its attention to other maters of vital importance to its members and all powersports dealers in Colorado. Priority focus for the executive director and the board for the balance of 2007 will be on:

1. Renewing efforts to raise sales ceiling on GAP
2. Working on mapping and protecting OHV trails in the state
3. Formulating and implementing a strategy for improving sales tax rules and regulations for non-titled powersports vehicles in the state
4. Continuing improvement in new member recruiting, current member communication and overall marketing of the association
5. Formulating and implementing a strategy for preventing the sale of "gray market" powersports vehicles in Colorado

Effective representation of an industry's interests is an essential tool for success for virtually every type of business in the United States today. The retail powersports industry is no different. Legislators and regulators have the power to dramatically change our world at the stroke of a pen. New competitors and new business models continually probe and test the local environment for ways to take business away from the current retail operators. Big box stores, chain stores and new manufacturers are always looking for new markets to conquer.

PDAC has been and can continue to be a powerful voice representing powersports retailers in the state. Protecting and enhancing the value of the businesses operated by the dealers in the association is its mission. So far this year we have done that with proactive legislation and careful, professional input regarding other legislative and regulatory actions. There is much more to do and we are working hard to get the job done.

PDAC will be most effective when every one of the nearly 60 powersports dealers in Colorado joins and supports the association. We have designed an organization that is transparent in its financial affairs, is open to the input of its members and encourages even its new members to get involved. If you are already a member, thank you. If you haven't yet joined, please consider doing so immediately.

If we all work together we can make a wonderful difference for ourselves, our customers and our families.



FDIC Special Alert: Counterfeit Cashier's Cash
January 24, 2007 - www.fdic.gov

Guaranty Bank and Trust Company, Denver, Colorado, has contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to report that counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the institution's name are in circulation.

The counterfeit items display the routing number 102000966, which is assigned to Guaranty Bank and Trust Company. The items also display a logo consisting of a light shaded "G" surrounded by a dark shaded box, which is the negative image of the bank's actual logo. The following security statement is displayed at the bottom of the item: "SECURITY FEATURES INCLUDED DETAILS ON BACK."

Authentic checks display a logo consisting of a dark-shaded "G" and a telephone number below the bank's mailing address. The following security statement is displayed beneath the signature line: "THE BACK OF THIS CHECK CONTAINS AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK; HOLD AT AN ANGLE TO VIEW WATERMARK."

Be aware that the appearance of counterfeit items can be modified and that additional variations may be presented.

Any information you have concerning this matter should be brought to the attention of:

Dee Smith
Vice President-Fraud Investigation
Guaranty Bank and Trust Company
1331 Seventeenth Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
Telephone: (303) 293-5511
Fax: (303) 313-6750
E-mail: dee.smith@gbankonline.com

Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC's Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F- 4004, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to alert@fdic.gov. Information related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp.

For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's website. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit www.fdic.gov.

5 Things You Can Do to...Avoid Costly Scams Involving Fake Checks and Money Orders
Consumers and businesses often lose thousands of dollars in transactions with con artists

There's been explosive growth in counterfeit personal and business checks, cashier's checks and money orders in the last few years, due in part to new technologies and the growth of the Internet for transactions among strangers. But what's especially troubling is that individual consumers and businesses are losing significant sums in these scams – often thousands of dollars – because they deposited a check from a stranger, withdrew the funds and then sent money or merchandise before their bank discovered that the check was fraudulent.

In these cases, the depositor most likely will be held responsible for the entire amount of the fraudulent check. Why? Because by depositing the check and withdrawing money, the consumer is taking responsibility for the funds that have been spent or sent before the check is found to be worthless. And often the withdrawal cannot be cancelled or reversed, especially with wire transfers, in which funds are transferred out of the account immediately. Also, the person who receives the check usually is in the best position to realize that it may not be good.

Money isn't the only thing that can be lost to a fake check scam. In one example reported to the FDIC several years ago, a person "sold" a classic car then worth $41,000 to a scam artist who used a counterfeit cashier's check.

FDIC Consumer News has been warning readers about check fraud for years, but given the increase in fake checks and the costs to victims, we offer these key reminders.

1. If you deposit a check from a stranger, discuss the situation with your branch manager before spending that money or handing over anything of value. It's safer not to accept checks from strangers, but if you do, tell the manager about the circumstances surrounding the check and ask when the check is likely to be considered "good" (paid).

While federal regulations require institutions to make funds from a deposit available quickly – generally within one to five business days – it can take a couple of weeks or longer before the bank discovers that the deposited check is worthless.

"The check could be counterfeit or bounce because of insufficient funds, and your bank will most likely hold you responsible for that money," said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC's financial crimes section. "If the other party badgers you at any time about waiting, especially if you are directed to send funds, tear up their check and stop all communications."

So, protect yourself by not touching the deposited funds until you explain to your branch manager the details of the transaction and the source of the check, and you wait for the manager's go-ahead to use the funds.

2. Walk away from any deal if you get a check for more than the amount due and you're instructed to return the difference. Let's say you sell a $5,000 item over the Internet and the buyer sends a check or money order for $10,000. The buyer, who has an explanation why the check is for more than what you expected, instructs you to deposit the check and wire the excess amount to his account or to the account of an associate. It may take a couple of weeks, but eventually the check will be returned as counterfeit.

Using our example, you may need to reimburse your bank for $10,000, even if that's far more money than you have in your account. You may also have lost the item you were selling.

3. Recognize other warning signs of a check scam. "It's very difficult for the average consumer or business owner or even bank teller to recognize a counterfeit check, so you're usually better off looking for the basic signs of a scam instead of focusing on the check itself," said David Nelson, a fraud specialist at the FDIC.

In addition to the warning signs we've already described, here are other red flags of a check fraud (and additional commentary from Nelson):

  • The reasons for receiving a check are suspicious. ("How could you win a lottery you never entered?" Nelson said. "And if you really won something and owed money, why wouldn't they just deduct that amount from your winnings?")
  • You're asked to send money outside of the United States. ("That's because it is difficult to track people down in another country.")
  • You're pressed to send money right away. ("They're rushing you to act before you discover that the check is bad.")
  • You're warned to keep things quiet – to not discuss the deal with a bank employee or anyone else. ("It's to prevent your banker or others from warning you about a counterfeit check.")
  • 4. Take additional precautions to make sure a check is good. Consider insisting on being paid with a money order or a cashier's check (not a personal check) drawn on a local bank or a bank that has a local branch. That way you can take the check to that bank's branch to ensure it's valid.

    Also consider asking for a money order from the U.S. Postal Service. These come in values of up to $1,000 for domestic money orders and up to $700 for international money orders.

    To confirm that a Postal Service money order is valid or to cash it, you can take it to a local post office. You can also verify a Postal Service money order by using an automated service at toll-free 1-866-459-7822.

    Private financial services companies also issue money orders, but it's up to you to take appropriate precautions.

    For example, "Don't depend on a phone number that's printed on a check or money order," Nelson stressed. "If this is a fraud, one of the criminals may answer and tell you that the check or money order is legitimate, or you may get a voice mailbox that the swindlers set up to sound real and reassuring."

    In general, it's always best to use a phone number listed in your phone book or another directory, not the number printed on a check or money order or told to you by the other party.

    Another way to be more comfortable that you're dealing with an honest person – especially someone you're dealing with over the Internet – is to try to confirm his or her name, address, home number and work number through some independent means, such as an online database or directory assistance.

    5. Immediately report if you think you're a victim of a check fraud or if you notice something suspicious. Contact your bank as well as the local office of the FBI (listed in your phone book and on the FBI Web site at www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/fraudschemes.htm).