At Your Service
Like other buying groups, MARTA's role is to focus the group's buying power and centralize the decision-making process. "From that point forward all transactions take place between the retailer and the warranty administrator," says Mann. Specifically, he explains, "Our office invited bids from nine companies over 18 months ago and selected the best program for all members. By being a 'not-for-profit' organization, the sole consideration was finding the best-administered, priced and profitable offer. The incentive was to make a thoughtful, professional and time-consumptive decision once, rather than force evaluation duplication by 100 members nationally."
Since MARTA does not have varying prices for large and small retailers, Mann says the service plans exist on level playing fields. "Depending on one's outlook, there is no benefit per se for one member over another," says Mann. "The other view? Since smaller dealers pay the same price as $100 million-plus sized dealers, it could be considered a benefit."
The reasoning for this approach is not unlike HTSA's comparative planning process that was also designed to secure the best service plans for a variety of retailers. Mann says, "Often a lower-volume warranty user faces poor treatment from warranty providers. Costs vary and comparisons are complex. Later, they may find themselves shunted aside regardless of the validity of their complaint[s] or seriousness of their problem[s]."