Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 1. DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS [100 - 472.5]

  ( Heading of Division 1 amended by Stats. 1973, Ch. 77. )

CHAPTER 9. Certification of Third-Party Dispute Resolution Processes for New Motor Vehicles [472 - 472.5]
  ( Chapter 9 heading added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 689, Sec. 1. )

472.
  

Unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions govern the construction of this chapter:

(a) “New motor vehicle” means a new motor vehicle as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code.

(b) “Manufacturer” means a new motor vehicle manufacturer, manufacturer branch, distributor, or distributor branch required to be licensed pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 11700) of Chapter 4 of Division 5 of the Vehicle Code.

(c) “Qualified third party dispute resolution process” means a third party dispute resolution process which operates in compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter and which has been certified by the department pursuant to this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1232, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1993.)

472.1.
  

The department shall establish a program for certifying each third-party dispute resolution process used for the arbitration of disputes pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code. In establishing the program, the department shall do all of the following:

(a) Prescribe and provide forms to be used to apply for certification under this chapter.

(b) Establish a set of minimum standards which shall be used to determine whether a third-party dispute resolution process is in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter.

(c) Prescribe the information which each manufacturer, or other entity, that operates a third-party dispute resolution process shall provide the department in the application for certification. In prescribing the information to accompany the application for certification, the department shall require the manufacturer, or other entity, to provide only that information which the department finds is reasonably necessary to enable the department to determine whether the third-party dispute resolution process is in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter.

(d) Prescribe the information that each qualified third-party dispute resolution process shall provide the department, and the time intervals at which the information shall be required, to enable the department to determine whether the qualified third-party dispute resolution process continues to operate in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1232, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1993.)

472.2.
  

(a) Each manufacturer may establish, or otherwise make available to buyers or lessees of new motor vehicles, a qualified third-party dispute resolution process for the resolution of disputes pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code. A manufacturer that itself operates the third-party dispute resolution process shall apply to the department for certification of that process. If the manufacturer makes the third-party dispute resolution process available to buyers or lessees of new motor vehicles through contract or other arrangement with another entity, that entity shall apply to the department for certification. An entity that operates a third-party dispute resolution process for more than one manufacturer shall make a separate application for certification for each manufacturer that uses that entity’s third-party dispute resolution process. The application for certification shall be accompanied by the information prescribed by the department.

(b) The department shall review the application and accompanying information and, after conducting an onsite inspection, shall determine whether the third-party dispute resolution process is in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter. If the department determines that the process is in substantial compliance, the department shall certify the process. If the department determines that the process is not in substantial compliance, the department shall deny certification and shall state, in writing, the reasons for denial and the modifications in the operation of the process that are required in order for the process to be certified.

(c) The department shall make a final determination whether to certify a third-party dispute resolution process or to deny certification not later than 90 calendar days following the date the department accepts the application for certification as complete.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1232, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

472.3.
  

(a) The department, in accordance with the time intervals prescribed pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 472.1, but at least once annually, shall review the operation and performance of each qualified third-party dispute resolution process and determine, using the information provided the department as prescribed pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 472.1 and the monitoring and inspection information described in subdivision (c) of Section 472.4, whether the process is operating in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter. If the department determines that the process is in substantial compliance, the certification shall remain in effect.

(b) If the department determines that the process is not in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code or this chapter, the department shall issue a notice of decertification to the entity which operates the process and shall send a copy of that notice to any manufacturer affected by the decertification. The notice of decertification shall state the reasons for the issuance of the notice and prescribe the modifications in the operation of the process that are required in order for the process to retain its certification.

(c) A notice of decertification shall take effect 180 calendar days following the date the notice is served on the manufacturer, or other entity, which uses the process that the department has determined is not in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code or this chapter. The department shall withdraw the notice of decertification prior to its effective date if the department determines, after a public hearing, that the manufacturer, or other entity, which uses the process has made the modifications in the operation of the process required in the notice of decertification and is in substantial compliance with subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code and this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1232, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1993.)

472.4.
  

In addition to any other requirements of this chapter, the department shall do all of the following:

(a) Establish procedures to assist owners or lessees of new motor vehicles who have complaints regarding the operation of a qualified third-party dispute resolution process.

(b) Establish methods for measuring customer satisfaction and to identify violations of this chapter, which shall include an annual random postcard or telephone survey by the department of the customers of each qualified third-party dispute resolution process.

(c) Monitor and inspect, on a regular basis, qualified third-party dispute resolution processes to determine whether they continue to meet the standards for certification. Monitoring and inspection shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) Onsite inspections of each qualified third-party dispute resolution process not less frequently than twice annually.

(2) Investigation of complaints from consumers regarding the operation of qualified third-party dispute resolution processes and analyses of representative samples of complaints against each process.

(3) Analyses of the annual surveys required by subdivision (b).

(d) Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the failure of a manufacturer to honor a decision of a qualified third-party dispute resolution process to enable the Department of Motor Vehicles to take appropriate enforcement action against the manufacturer pursuant to Section 11705.4 of the Vehicle Code.

(e) Submit a biennial report to the Legislature evaluating the effectiveness of this chapter, make available to the public summaries of the statistics and other information supplied by each qualified third-party dispute resolution process, and publish educational materials regarding the purposes of this chapter.

(f) Adopt regulations as necessary and appropriate to implement this chapter and subdivision (d) of Section 1793.22 of the Civil Code.

(g) Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the department in exercising its certification, regulatory, and disciplinary functions. Whenever the protection of the public is inconsistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 107, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2003.)

472.5.
  

The New Motor Vehicle Board in the Department of Motor Vehicles shall, in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this section, administer the collection of fees for the purposes of fully funding the administration of this chapter.

(a) Fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the Certification Account in the Consumer Affairs Fund and shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, exclusively to pay the expenses incurred by the department in administering this chapter and to pay the New Motor Vehicle Board as provided in Section 3016 of the Vehicle Code. If, at the conclusion of any fiscal year, the amount of fees collected exceeds the amount of expenditures for that purpose during that fiscal year, the surplus in the Certification Account shall be carried over into the succeeding fiscal year.

(b) Beginning July 1, 1988, and on or before May 1 of each calendar year thereafter, every manufacturer shall file with the New Motor Vehicle Board a statement of the number of motor vehicles sold, leased, or otherwise distributed by or for the manufacturer in this state during the preceding calendar year, and shall, upon written notice delivered to the manufacturer by certified mail, return receipt requested, pay to the New Motor Vehicle Board a fee, not to exceed one dollar ($1) for each motor vehicle sold, leased, or distributed by or for the manufacturer in this state during the preceding calendar year. The total fee paid by each manufacturer shall be rounded to the nearest dollar in the manner described in Section 9559 of the Vehicle Code. Not more than one dollar ($1) shall be charged, collected, or received from any one or more manufacturers pursuant to this subdivision with respect to the same motor vehicle.

(c) (1) The fee required by subdivision (b) is due and payable not later than 30 days after the manufacturer has received notice of the amount due and is delinquent after that time. A penalty of 10 percent of the amount delinquent shall be added to that amount, if the delinquency continues for more than 30 days.

(2) If a manufacturer fails to file the statement required by subdivision (b) by the date specified, the New Motor Vehicle Board shall assess the amount due from the manufacturer by using as the number of motor vehicles sold, leased, or otherwise distributed by or for the manufacturer in this state during the preceding calendar year the total number of new registrations of all motor vehicles sold, leased, or otherwise distributed by or for the manufacturer during the preceding calendar year.

(d) On or before February 1 of each year, the department shall notify the New Motor Vehicle Board of the dollar amount necessary to fully fund the program established by this chapter during the following fiscal year. The New Motor Vehicle Board shall use this information in calculating the amounts of the fees to be collected from manufacturers pursuant to this section.

(e) For purposes of this section, “motor vehicle” means a new passenger or commercial motor vehicle of a kind that is required to be registered under the Vehicle Code, but the term does not include a motorcycle, a motor home, or any vehicle whose gross weight exceeds 10,000 pounds.

(f) The New Motor Vehicle Board may adopt regulations to implement this section. The regulations shall include, at a minimum, a formula for calculating the fee, established pursuant to subdivision (b), for each motor vehicle and the total amount of fees to be collected from each manufacturer.

(g) Any revenues already received by the Arbitration Certification Program and deposited in the Vehicle Inspection and Repair Fund for the 1991–92 fiscal year that have not yet been spent shall be deposited into the Certification Account in the Consumer Affairs Fund.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 970, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1999.)

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