Tom Kline DMM Expert

Tom Kline

Lead Consultant & Founder
Better Vantage Point

DMM Expert Tom Kline

Tom Kline is the Lead Consultant and Founder at Better Vantage Point which provides Dealer Dispute, Compliance and Risk Mitigation Solutions. 

Tom also spearheads Tuck the Octopus, an innovative governance, risk and compliance program which helps dealerships initiate best practices from a GRC perspective resulting in proactive reputation management, directly impacting customer retention and loyalty. 

At dealerships, regulatory and legal problems usually begin in three ways. First, two-legged problems (disgruntled customers and upset employees) can pull focus from sales and service. These issues can cause media challenges, such as allegations of deceptive advertising or bad social media reviews.

Tom has developed easy-to-use compliance solutions to solve these problems and which demonstrate on-going efforts by dealerships to effectively comply with federal, state and local industry regulations.

Tom has extensive experience working with both publicly-held and private dealerships He routinely speaks at national conferences, workshops, 20 groups and presents webinars about risk transferences and risk mitigation topics & techniques. Tom also provides expert witness testimony to defend dealerships and has multiple trade group endorsements. 

For more information:

Phone Number: 757 434 7656

Email Address: [email protected]

Articles by Tom

Compliance in Motion: Lessons from Seismic Activity to Shampoo Bottles

There's a natural order to the universe. For example, we don't float off the earth because of gravity. There will always be the story of the birds and the bees. And you will always have to do something within a certain time frame or deadline...

Compliance as a Cultural Force

Do you stop at stop signs on private property? I don’t think you can get a ticket if you don’t…and no one is looking. So, do you stop? There are generally two schools of thought here: Those who are of the philosophy “no cop, not stop”...

Wire Fraud and Bad Pawn: A Dark Tale

Do you store your Tupperware lids actually sealed “on” the base container or are you one of “those people” who throw the lid in a pile somewhere near the container? Then, when you need to use the container, do you have to search through the...

The Dealership Litigation Hold: Unpacked

These Are A Few Of My Unfavorite Things. (Sing with me here…) “Gossip and taxes and unpleasant divorces, Pulling of wisdom teeth, with chronic hoarseness, Lawyers and penalties which costs money and stings, These are a few of my...

TEXAS V VROOM: A Failed Brand Promise

90125. No, it’s not a zip code. And, it’s not a television show. It was an album released by the prog-rock band Yes in November, 1983. According to the website Songtell.com, “It Can Happen To You” is a song on that album which conveys...

Omne Trium Perfectum: 3 Dealership Policy Foundations

And today, a message in Latin about “threes.” Omne trium perfectum conveys “everything that comes in threes is perfect.” In other words, pay attention when things come in threes. As humans, we recognize things and process...

The Barf Bag - U.S. Patent 7,041,042: And Other Dark Dealership Tales

Recently, I was traveling on Something-or-other Airlines, (as I often do), and noticed the barf bag in my seat pocket was patented. It was quite a large marking, too. “Huh,” I thought. I have to look this one up on Google. So, here...

Clean Sheet Day and the Three Fs

Raise your hand if you love clean sheet day! ✋🏻 Please allow me to state this clearly: I. Love. Clean. Sheets. Who doesn’t love sliding into buttery, soft, clean sheets…(That’s not really a question.) It feels great, right? What day is clean...

PR Fail: A Story of Deception, Unfair Acts and Power Booking

Do you prefer single ply or double ply toilet paper?‎ Unless you live in your RV or boat, is there any debate on this in your head?‎ I didn’t think so.‎ Why risk it, right? Single ply falls apart. Double ply provides you with...

Crime Scene Clean Up Tactics: Dealership Edition

This is going to start as grim. It gets better. Aftermath® (the name of an actual ServiceMaster company) pioneered the field of performing crime scene services and trauma clean-up. They coined this terminology. Their services include,...

Astroturfing: Manipulating and Faking Reviews

Astroturfing is organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of...something...that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group...or...

Wash, Rinse, Repeat: What is Corporate Governance and Why Is It Important?

Governance consists of a compendium and series of policies and procedures which safeguards the business to protect the owners and shareholders, thereby building and enhancing the company’s long term value and “blue sky.” Most problems at...

Tuck The Octopus

Managing, owning, and running a dealership can feel like trying to tuck an octopus into bed at night while the tentacles keep flopping out!  My close friend, Ryan Sodikoff, Dealer and General Manager at Steven Toyota Kia Nissan in Harrisonburg,...

26 Motivators and the GLBA

More than thirty (30) years ago, I made a list of what motivates people. (I’m not sure why I was motivated to make the motivation list though.) I have no recollection of where these pieces or parts may come from, but here they are: 1. Make...

Dealership Risk

If you are a dealer, when you get up and place your feet on the floor in the morning, you put your assets on the line, expecting a return or profit. How you craft and hone your business practices and transact business daily, is what makes you...

Why You Should Be Concerned About Regulatory Oversight: How Regulators Do What They Do

For this month, something new. I’ve written this article so you can copy it and have each employee at the dealership sign it. Having written employee acknowledgments of your policies is an important part of a robust GRC program at the...

Non-GMO Dealerships

I'll bet you one dollar ($1.00) you have this issue, too. When you're shopping at the market and see a food product that's "non-GMO," don't you stop and think about it? Follow my logic here, please. If it's "non-GMO," that means it's "natural,"...

The Best Parking Lot Strategy

I'll be in trouble with my wife if she finds out I told you this.  Do you have a strategy for getting the best space in the parking deck? From my personal observations, most folks tend to drive onto the lower decks and try to (maybe) find that...

10 + 10 = Exposure

Any one of these issues could cost you a lot of money.   Consider the “what if.”  What if…this were to happen or that were to happen?  How would you handle it?   These questions are but a few of the concerns for your dealership when you...

Let The Government Be Your Customer Service Department!

Three super-large dealership groups are trying it!   Here’s how it’s going for them so far… Carvana lost the ability to transact in Illinois according to Automotive News (May 16, 2022) because, “The Secretary of State's police department opened...

Six (6) Perspectives On The New GLB Safeguard Regulations

The new Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) regulations aren’t going away and become effective on December 9, 2022. You don’t have to agree, but you do have to comply. If you haven’t started already, it’s time to begin the work of parsing out how you...

Oops They Did It Again

Oops, they did it again.  I just unpacked my new desktop computer, screens, camera, and enough cables for you, me, and every adult on the planet. (Well, not quite but definitely an abundance!) Along with my new goodies, I purchased, and I...

I Hope You'll Learn With Me!

An October, 2021 survey by Embroker stated that just 22% fully read through their insurance policy, 56% admit to not knowing the cost of their insurance program, 34% carry a cyber policy, 20% admitted to not knowing how their insurance is...

Emotional Intelligence: A Good Dealership Habit To Pick Up

You may have never thought of it this way, but problems at dealerships usually walk through your office door on two (2) legs: Either with customers or with employees. It’s always best to tackle these two-legged issues promptly, as otherwise,...

How Dealers Should Handle COVID (Co-author Kristina Vaquera)

Another article about COVID-19?  Ugh! Snap! And oh, my! Employers everywhere are tired with having to handle this additional burden to running their business. But, now, more than ever, it’s important to mitigate your risk by being consistent...

Do You Understand the Components of Your Garage Insurance Policy?

Try this flavor-filled description: “There’s a sense of cornmeal next to sawdust, oily vanilla, and a hint of fresh honey sweetness that entices your senses. It takes on a caramel corn sweetness as the vanilla carries you towards sweeter woods...

The Saga of the Hdx 27 Gallon Containers and Your Dealership

So, I sold my RV, (please hold your applause) and needed to buy HDX 27 gallon storage containers to keep “my stuff,” which had previously lived in the RV basement. I did what I always do, which is go to Home Depot to buy my favorite black and...

Auto Dealers: What’s Your Total Cost of Risk (TCOR)?

Financial statements track how you are doing financially every month. Consider measuring and benchmarking TCOR as a part of your ongoing financial statement process.   What is TCOR and why should you care about your dealership’s Total Cost of...

Risk Avoidance – Ignored

Are you too busy selling cars to pay attention to the myriad number of lurking problems and issues that you haven’t had time to address? You would like to correct them and don’t know where to start?   Let today be the day you start. First,...

Dealer Risk Mitigation: Expectations & The Fountain of Youth

My buddy, Tom, recently visited St. Augustine, Florida and he was kind enough to bring us souvenirs. No, my fiancé and I didn’t get t-shirts. We got something a heck of a lot better than that! We were gifted tiny tourist miracles from Ponce de...

Is Your F&I Compliance "Toast?

What does criminal conduct have to do with F&I and my new toaster? Here you go... I recently bought a toaster. (Please hold your applause until the end of the article.) The toaster is so generic it does not even have a brand name on the...

Trust, Your Employees, and Lady Gaga

Positive relations with employees start with trust. If you break the trust, you have a long journey ahead. Once you identify which of these situations you may be in, you are on the road to building a culture of trust within your organization....

How To Handle A Customer Dispute Like a Pro: Part 2

In Part 1, you will recall that we had the goals of discovering the truth, building trust, and de-escalating the customer's anger (a.k.a. extracting the venom). We learned how to set expectations, communicate during the first meeting, and how...

How To Handle A Customer Dispute Like a Pro: Part 1

"The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude," states the recent, popular internet meme I encountered, and I agree. Customer disputes often begin when you hear from a third party. The customer may not complain...

Harmful Dealership Advertising: The Lollipop 1 Model

Would you ever give a little child a lollipop and then take it back? Outrageous, right? This causes upset, hurt feelings, destroys trust, and creates anger.   You create this same dynamic with customers when you advertise deceptively, whether...

Don't You Agree? Fundamental Questions Answered Regarding Dealership Compliance

"I don't have to agree, but I do have to comply," said an old employee and friend of mine named "Hank." He said it with a wry smile whenever he didn't agree with something I asked him to do. Then, he would do it because I asked him. And he...