Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 9 : Commerce and Trade

Chapter 115 : NEW MOTOR VEHICLE ARBITRATION

(Cite as: 9 V.S.A. § 4173)
  • § 4173. Procedure to obtain refund or replacement; waiver of rights void

    (a)(1) After reasonable attempt at repair or correction of the nonconformity, defect, or condition, or after the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities, defects, or conditions for a cumulative total of 30 or more calendar days as provided in this chapter, the consumer shall notify the manufacturer and lessor in writing, on forms to be provided by the manufacturer at the time the new motor vehicle is delivered, of the nonconformity, defect, or condition and the consumer's election to proceed under this chapter. The forms shall be made available by the manufacturer to any public or nonprofit agencies that shall request them. Notice of consumer rights under this chapter shall be conspicuously displayed by all authorized dealers and agents of the manufacturer.

    (2) The consumer shall in the notice elect whether to use the dispute settlement mechanism or the arbitration provisions established by the manufacturer or to proceed under the Vermont Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board as established under this chapter. Except in the case of a settlement agreement between a consumer and manufacturer, and unless federal law otherwise requires, any provision or agreement that purports to waive, limit, or disclaim the rights set forth in this chapter or that purports to require a consumer not to disclose the terms of the provision or agreement is void as contrary to public policy.

    (3) The consumer's election of whether to proceed before the Board or the manufacturer's mechanism shall preclude his or her recourse to the method not selected.

    (b) A consumer cannot pursue a remedy under this chapter if he or she has discontinued financing or lease payments.

    (c)(1) Arbitration of the consumer's complaint, either through the manufacturer's dispute settlement mechanism or the Board, must be held within 45 days of receipt by the manufacturer or the Board of the consumer's notice electing the remedy of arbitration unless:

    (A) the consumer or the manufacturer shows good cause for an extension of time, not to exceed an additional 30-day period; or

    (B) the manufacturer does not contest the consumer's complaint, in which case an arbitration hearing is not required.

    (2) If an extension of time is requested by the manufacturer, the manufacturer shall provide free use of a vehicle to the consumer if the consumer's vehicle is out of service.

    (3) If the consumer elects to proceed in accordance with the manufacturer's dispute settlement mechanism, the matter is contested, and the arbitration of the dispute is not held within 45 days of the manufacturer's receipt of the consumer's notice and the manufacturer is not able to establish good cause for the delay, the consumer shall be entitled to receive the relief requested under this chapter.

    (d) Within the 45-day period set forth in subsection (c) of this section but at least five days prior to hearing, the manufacturer shall have one final opportunity to correct and repair the defect that the consumer claims entitles him or her to a refund or replacement vehicle. Any right to a final repair attempt is waived if the manufacturer does not complete it at least five days prior to hearing. If the consumer is satisfied with the corrective work done by the manufacturer or his or her delegate, the arbitration proceedings shall be terminated without prejudice to the consumer's right to request arbitration be recommenced if the repair proves unsatisfactory for the duration of the express warranty.

    (e) If an arbitration hearing is required under this section, the vehicle must be presented at the hearing site for an inspection or test drive, or both, by members of the Board.

    (f) The manufacturer shall refund the amounts provided for in subsection 4172(e) or (i) of this chapter within 30 days of the facsimile transmission confirmation receipt of a decision of the Board or within 15 days of final adjudication. The consumer shall receive an additional 10 percent of the total award if the manufacturer fails to complete the transaction by the effective date of the order. (Added 1983, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 260 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1987, No. 242 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 5, 6; 1999, No. 18, § 29, eff. May 13, 1999; 2015, No. 50, § 31, eff. June 3, 2015; 2017, No. 206 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. May 30, 2018.)