The National Bulk Vendors Association is a national not-for-profit trade association comprised of the manufacturers, distributors and operators of bulk vending machines and products. The NBVA has represented the bulk vending industry since 1950. Our members extend beyond the borders of the United States and represent a great majority of the volume of the bulk vending business done in the United States. While our membership is about 300 companies, there are thousands of small operators on a full or part-time basis.
Annual Conference & Trade Show
The Association produces an Annual Convention, which provides the opportunity to get together each year and display the new products that are being made for bulk vendors. New ideas, new machines and new marketing is the lifeblood of the operator. Only through the interchange of new products and new ideas at our conventions do the operators know what is hot and which products are less attractive. Convention programs educate our members in all facets of the vending industry.
To accomplish this result, the Association features a series of workshops and also promotes an Operators Bull Session where the operators are able to sit together and exchange hints and helpful insights in a comfortable environment. Do you want to know how certain products are doing in different parts of the country? Do you want to learn how certain quarter items are selling? Do you want to know if sticker machines are profitable or what revenue can you expect from a giant gumball machine? These topics are discussed on a regular basis and even the larger and more experienced operators learn and profit from these workshops and bull sessions.
The Association also operates at a national level as your watchdog and protector. Here is a partial list in chronological order of the projects we have undertaken successfully on your behalf.
- Gambling Excise – In 1950 the main problem was to defeat the attempt of the US. Treasury Department to impose gambling excise taxes on our machines. This battle was won but the ramifications of the effort were felt in the industry for several years and similar gambling claims were fought at various state levels as well.
- Commingling – The Food and Drug Administration attempted to ban the commingling of charms with ball gum. The initial challenge by the FDA took place by administrative ruling and court enforcement. The industry responded with its own lawsuit and we were successful in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Virginia in the now famous Cavelier Vending case which established as a matter of law that the commingling of charms and ball gum is not hazardous to health.
- Health Concerns – The FDA did not give up easily, however, and next attempted to ban the commingling by introducing a special legislation in Congress which would have the same effect of banning the commingling. Again the NBVA responded with a lobbying effort which established the congressional precedent of favorable legislation affecting our industry.
- Viewfinder – The “viewfinder” was introduced by the industry for a short period of time as a method of eliminating one of the three essential elements of gambling. By placing the viewfinder in the machines in such a way as to identify the item vended, the element of chance was removed and therefore gambling could not be present. As you may recall, to constitute gambling in our machines, there must be a consideration paid for a prize and there must be an element of chance. The NBVA also argued that the viewfinder was not required since the element of “prize” is not present in our machines due to the fact that the items vended are of approximate or equivalent value to the coin being inserted.
- Bulk Vending Definition – The NBVA created the definition of “bulk vending machines” which has been used successfully in numerous states, counties and cities in obtaining relief from sales taxes and license fees. We compose materials for use in explaining how our industry differs from the balance of the “vending industry” in order to justify separate treatment.
- Toy Safety Law – When the Toy Safety Act was first introduced in Congress, our representatives were present and attempted to generate testimony on the floor of the House of Representatives to minimize the impact of the legislation. There was no possibility of defeating the entire legislation since the Act was intended at other items, including bulk vending products.
- Tariff Exemption – In 1982, the NBVA spearheaded a successful drive to obtain a temporary tariff exemption which significantly reduced the cost of importing our small toys and novelties. The temporary exemption was renewed and extended in 1986 and in 1990. That relief expired on December 31, 1992, but we obtained permanent exemption under the GATT. (See Item 15.)
- Mandatory Labeling – In 1991 we expressed objections to legislation sponsored by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require labeling of small toys. The labeling requirement was rejected by Congress.
- Tax Video – In 1992, we produced a tax video to be used as a training vehicle for our members, and as materials to be shown to legislators in battling licensing and sales taxes.
- Voluntary Labeling – In 1992, the Consumer Product Safety Commission withdrew its proposed mandatory labeling requirements for small toys, marbles and balloons and the NBVA rescinded the voluntary labeling standard we adopted in 1991. Meanwhile, the Child Safety Protection Act was introduced in 1993 to impose almost identical labeling requirements. We succeeded in limiting the labels on our machines, rather than on each capsule.
- ADA Rules – In 1992, we issued a bulletin on the Americans with Disabilities Act and furnished sample response to letters from store owners and managers.
- Legislative Fund – In 1993 our members voluntarily pledged close to $50,000 to fight the VAT tax being considered and to prepare to fight for other national issues.
- $1.00 Coin – Since 1993, we have been committed to support legislation for the $1.00 coin. We continue to support this legislation by our renewed membership in The Coin Coalition. When the $1 coin legislation is finally passed, the effects on our marketing and profit potential will be enormous.
- Toy Safety Act of 1994 – We supported the mandatory labeling requirements of this new act on the condition federal preemption was established. First we ensured that labeling is not required on each capsule. Through our efforts, the Toy Safety Act of 1994 specifically deals with our machines.
- GATT Exemption – In 1994 we were successful in being included in the negotiated GATT schedules for permanent relief from tariffs on small toys which cost 8¢or less. Since GATT passed and became effective, the bulk vending industry has saved well over $1 million per year. Additionally, the Association no longer needs to retain a Washington lobbyist every few years to seek extension of our tariff relief.
- Toy Safety Final Regulations – We commented on proposed regulations and were instrumental in obtaining favorable provisions in the final regulations adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1995. In 1997, we obtained approval of specific wording for multiple products.
- Blue Sky Promoters Banned – In 1997 we amended our Constitution and By-Laws to take a strong stand against unscrupulous promoters who use false or deceptive materials to deceive investors. We specifically condemned the use of “multiplication charts” and the erroneous reference to “net profits” in a misleading manner.
- Special legislation in the CPSIA of 2008 – As a direct result of The NBVA’s efforts before the CPSC, and on Capitol Hill, each individual bulk vended product does not have to bear a tracking label. The CPSC guidance explicitly states that, “if a product is sold through a bulk vending machine, the item does not need to be individually marked but the package or carton in which such products are shipped to the retailer should be marked.