MONOPOLIES AND TRADE PRACTICES
NEW MOTOR VEHICLE WARRANTIES — MANUFACTURER’S DUTY TO REPAIR, REFUND OR REPLACE
48-906. Alternative dispute settlement mechanism. (1) Any manufacturer doing business in this state, entering into franchise agreements for the sale of its motor vehicles in this state, or offering express warranties on its motor vehicles sold or distributed for sale in this state shall operate, or participate in, an informal dispute settlement mechanism located in the state of Idaho which complies with the provisions of title 16, code of federal regulations, part 703, and the requirements of this section. The provisions of section 48-903, Idaho Code, concerning refunds or replacement do not apply to a consumer who has not first used this mechanism before commencing a civil action, unless the manufacturer allows a consumer to commence an action without first using this mechanism.
(2) An informal dispute settlement mechanism provided for by this chapter shall, at the time a request for arbitration is made, provide to the consumer and to each person who will arbitrate the consumer’s dispute, information about this chapter as approved and directed by the attorney general, in consultation with interested parties. The informal dispute settlement mechanism shall permit the parties to present or submit any arguments based on this chapter and shall not prohibit or discourage the consideration of any such arguments.
(3) If, in an informal dispute settlement mechanism, it is decided that a consumer is entitled to a replacement vehicle or refund under section 48-903, Idaho Code, then any refund or replacement offered by the manufacturer or selected by a consumer shall include and itemize all amounts authorized by section 48-903, Idaho Code. If the amount of excise tax refunded is not separately stated, or if the manufacturer does not apply for a refund of the tax within one (1) year of the return of the motor vehicle, the state tax commission may refund the sales tax, as determined under subsection (8) of section 48-903, Idaho Code, directly to the consumer and lienholder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of the division of motor vehicles of the Idaho transportation department.
(4) No documents shall be received by any informal dispute settlement mechanism unless those documents have been provided to each of the parties in the dispute at or prior to the mechanism’s meeting, with an opportunity for the parties to comment on the documents either in writing or orally. If a consumer is present during the informal dispute settlement mechanism’s meeting, the consumer may request postponement of the mechanism’s meeting to allow sufficient time to review any documents presented at the time of the meeting which had not been presented to the consumer prior to the meeting.
(5) The informal dispute settlement mechanism shall allow each party to appear and make an oral presentation in the state of Idaho unless the consumer agrees to submit the dispute for decision on the basis of documents alone or by telephone, or unless the party fails to appear for an oral presentation after reasonable prior written notice. However, the manufacturer or its representative may participate in the informal dispute settlement mechanism’s meeting by telephone if it chooses. If the consumer agrees to submit the dispute for decision on the basis of documents alone, then manufacturer or dealer representatives may not participate in the discussion or decision of the dispute.
(6) Consumers shall be given an adequate opportunity to contest a manufacturer’s assertion that a nonconformity falls within intended specifications for the vehicle by having the basis of the manufacturer’s claim appraised by a technical expert selected and paid for by the consumer prior to the informal dispute settlement hearing.
(7) Where there has been a recent attempt by the manufacturer to repair a consumer’s vehicle, but no response has yet been received by the informal dispute mechanism from the consumer as to whether the repairs were successfully completed, the parties must be given the opportunity to present any additional information regarding the manufacturer’s recent repair attempt before any final decision is rendered by the informal dispute settlement mechanism. This provision shall not prejudice a consumer’s rights under this chapter.
(8) If the manufacturer knows that a technical service bulletin directly applies to the specific mechanical problem being disputed by the consumer, then the manufacturer shall provide the technical service bulletin to the consumer at reasonable cost upon request. The mechanism shall review any such technical service bulletins submitted by either party.
(9) A consumer may be charged a fee to participate in an informal dispute settlement mechanism required by this chapter, but the fee may not exceed the conciliation court filing fee in the county where the arbitration is conducted.
(10) Any party to the dispute has the right to be represented by an attorney in an informal dispute settlement mechanism.
(11) The informal dispute settlement mechanism has all the evidence-gathering powers granted an arbitrator under the uniform arbitration act.
(12) A decision issued in an informal dispute settlement mechanism required by this section may be in writing and signed.
[48-906, added 1998, ch. 333, sec. 2, p. 1075.]