The Arbitration Certification Program (ACP) certifies and monitors third-party arbitration programs of participating automobile manufacturers to ensure compliance with CA laws and regulations related to new vehicle warranties and manufacturer sponsored arbitration programs.
The Arbitration Certification Program's Mandates
The Department of Consumer Affairs' Arbitration Certification Program (ACP) certifies and monitors third-party arbitration programs of participating automobile manufacturers to ensure compliance with California laws and regulations governing resolution of warranty disputes involving new/used vehicles purchased with the manufacturer's new-car warranty. The ACP also ensures that certified programs conduct dispute resolution in a fair and expeditious manner. One of the program's goals is to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution, in lieu of court action, to reduce the strain and cost on consumers and the court system. The ACP is mandated by California Business and Professions Code Sections 472 - 472.5 to perform the following:
- Establish a program for certifying manufacturer's third-party dispute resolution processes for the arbitration of warranty disputes.
- Prescribe and provide forms for applicants to use when applying for certification.
- Establish minimum standards to determine whether a third-party dispute resolution process is in substantial compliance with certification requirements.
- Prescribe information that the third-party dispute resolution process must submit to the ACP so that the ACP can determine whether the process continues to substantially comply with California's laws and regulations.
- Conduct a survey of consumers who complete the arbitration process to measure customer satisfaction.
- Submit a biennial report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of certified arbitration programs.
- Adopt regulations as necessary and appropriate to implement applicable California laws.
ACP's Program Assessment
Once a manufacturer's arbitration program is certified, the ACP monitors the program to determine whether it remains in substantial compliance with California's laws and regulations. The ACP's staff gathers and evaluates information about the program through:
- monitoring arbitration hearings and arbitrator training;
- reviewing individual dispute files;
- investigating consumer complaints;
- conducting on-site inspections of the program's operations.
The ACP investigates complaints alleging that a certified program has failed to follow its written operating procedures. ACP is required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of a manufacturer's failure to honor an arbitrator's decision within 30-days of notification that the consumer has accepted.
Additionally, the ACP tracks program violations or trends, informs consumers of other legal remedies, and evaluates consumers feedback and suggestions regarding the arbitration process.
ACP's Mission, Vision, and Values
To protect consumers whose vehicles are covered by their manufacturer’s original warranty by providing a fair and timely state-certified arbitration program.
California will have a model arbitration process that encourages manufacturer participation and ensures consumer confidence.
Consumer Protection - We make effective and informed decisions in the best interest, and for the safety of Californians.
Service - We are professional and responsive to the needs of our stakeholders.
Accountability - We accept responsibility for our actions, exemplifying high ethical standards, and always strive to improve our effectiveness.
Fairness - We treat people equally and make decisions without favoritism and prejudice.
Integrity - We are committed to honesty, ethical conduct, and responsibility.