California Code of Regulations
TITLE 16. Professional And Vocational Regulations
Division 33.1 Arbitration Certification Program
Article 2: Minimum Standards for Manufacturers
3397.1. General Duties:
(a) The manufacturer shall fund and staff the arbitration program at a level sufficient to ensure fair and expeditious resolution of all disputes.
(b) The manufacturer shall take all steps necessary to ensure that the arbitration program, and its arbitrators and staff, are sufficiently insulated from the manufacturer and the sponsor (if other than the manufacturer), so that the decisions of the arbitrators and the performance of the staff are not influenced by either the manufacturer or the sponsor.
(c) The manufacturer shall comply with any reasonable requirements imposed by the arbitration program to fairly and expeditiously resolve warranty disputes, and shall perform all obligations to which it has agreed concerning the handling and resolution of disputes.
(d) The manufacturer shall comply with the provisions of both this part and Article 3 of this subchapter insofar as they impose obligations on the manufacturer.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 472.1(b) and (c) and 472.4(f), Business and Professions Code. Reference: 16 CFR Sections 703.2(f)(3) and (h), 16 CFR 703.3(a) and (b); Section 1793.22(d)(1), Civil Code; and Sections 472.1(b) and 472.4(f), Business and Professions Code.
3397.2 Disclosures by Manufacturer to Consumer
(a) The manufacturer shall include together, either in its written warranty or in a separate section of materials accompanying each vehicle sold or leased in California, in clear and readily understood language, the following information about the manufacturer's arbitration program and how to use it:
(A) a form addressed to the arbitration program containing spaces requesting the information which the program may require for prompt resolution of warranty disputes, or
(B) a telephone number of the arbitration program which consumers may use without charge.
(2) The name and address of the arbitration program.
(3) A brief description of the arbitration program's procedures and how to use them. The Arbitration Certification Program may reproduce such materials to inform the public about each program.
(4) The time limits adhered to by the arbitration program.
(5) The types of information which the arbitration program may require for prompt resolution of warranty disputes.
(6) If applicable, a clear statement explaining any requirement imposed by the manufacturer that the consumer resort to the arbitration program before invoking rights or remedies conferred by 15 USC Section 2310 or Civil Code Section 1793.22(b), together with a disclosure that the consumer is not required to resort to the program if the consumer chooses to seek redress by pursuing rights and remedies not created by those laws.
(7) Any limits on the scope of the decision, if authorized by Section 3398.10(d).
(8) A statement that if the consumer accepts the decision of the arbitration program, the manufacturer will be bound by the decision, and will comply with the decision within a reasonable time not to exceed 30 days after the manufacturer receives notice of the consumer's acceptance of the decision.
(9) A statement that the consumer may reject the decision and go to court, and that the decision and any findings will be admissible in any court action.
(b) The form described in subdivision (a)(1)(A) of this section may request any information reasonably necessary to decide the dispute including:
(1) The consumer's name, address and telephone number.
(2) The brand name and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle.
(3) The approximate date of the consumer's acquisition of the vehicle.
(4) The name of the selling dealer or the location where the vehicle was acquired.
(5) The current mileage.
(6) The approximate date and mileage at the time the problem was first brought to the attention of the manufacturer or any of its repair facilities.
(7) A brief statement of the nature of the problem and whether the problem is continuing.
(8) The names if known of any other dealers where the vehicle was serviced.
(9) A statement of the relief that is sought.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 472.1(b) and 472.4(f), Business and Professions Code. Reference: 16 CFR Sections 703.2(b)(3), 703.2(c)(1)-(5), 703.5(e)(1); Sections 1793.22(c) and 1793.22(d)(1)-(3), Civil Code.
3397.3 Resolution of Disputes Directly by Manufacturer
(a) The manufacturer shall take steps reasonably calculated to make consumers aware of the arbitration program's existence at the time consumers experience warranty disputes.
(b) Nothing contained in this subchapter shall limit the manufacturer's option to encourage consumers to seek redress directly from the manufacturer as long as the manufacturer does not expressly require consumers to seek redress directly from the manufacturer. The manufacturer shall proceed fairly and expeditiously to attempt to resolve all disputes submitted directly to the manufacturer.
(c) Whenever a dispute is submitted directly to the manufacturer, the manufacturer shall, within a reasonable time, decide whether and to what extent it will attempt to satisfy the consumer, and shall inform the consumer of its decision. In its notification to the consumer of its decision, the manufacturer shall include the information specified in subdivision (a) of Section 3397.2.
(d) Disputes settled after the arbitration program has received notification of the dispute shall be subject to Sections 3398.9(b) and 3398.12(b).
Note: Authority cited: Sections 472.1(b) and 472.4(f), Business and Professions Code. Reference: 16 CFR Sections 703.2(d) and (e), 703.5(d)(4), 703.5(h); and Section 1793.22(d)(1), Civil Code.
3397.4 Manufacturer's Duty to Aid in Investigation
(a) The manufacturer shall respond fully and promptly to reasonable requests by the arbitration program for information relating to disputes.
(b) The manufacturer shall fully and promptly respond to reasonable requests by the arbitration program for any pertinent documents in its possession or under its control, such as: (1) technical service bulletins; (2) recall or parts replacement notices; (3) U.S. Department of Transportation publications; (4) repair records for a particular vehicle; and (5) any other documents which it is reasonable that the manufacturer should provide.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 472.1(b) and 472.4(f), Business and Professions Code. Reference: 16 CFR Sections 703.2(f)(1), 703.2(h) and 703.5(c); and Section 1793.22(d)(1), Civil Code.
3397.5 Manufacturer's Duties Following Decision
(a) The decision shall be binding on the manufacturer if the consumer elects to accept the decision.
(b) The manufacturer shall perform any decision of an arbitration program within the time prescribed by the decision, which shall be a reasonable time not to exceed 30 days after the manufacturer is notified that the consumer has accepted the decision. Delays caused by reasons beyond the control of the manufacturer or its representatives, including any delay directly attributable to any act or omission of the consumer, shall extend the period for performance, but only while the reason for the delay continues.
(c) When the decision of the arbitration program provides that the nonconforming motor vehicle be replaced or that restitution be made to the consumer, and the decision is subject to Civil Code Section 1793.2(d), the manufacturer shall either replace the vehicle if the consumer consents to this remedy or make restitution, and shall do so in accordance with Civil Code Section 1793.2(d)(2)(A), (B) and (C).
(d) The manufacturer shall not attempt to negotiate a settlement with the consumer between the time a decision of an arbitration program is disclosed to the manufacturer and the time the decision is disclosed to the consumer.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 472.1(b) and 472.4(f), Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 1793.2(d) and 1793.22(b), Civil Code.