A. Each trailer manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch shall (i) specify in writing to each of its trailer dealers licensed in the Commonwealth the dealer’s obligations for preparation, delivery, and warranty service on its products and (ii) compensate the dealer for warranty parts, service, and diagnostic work required of the dealer by the manufacturer or distributor as follows:
1. Compensation of a dealer for warranty parts, service, and diagnostic work shall not be less than the amounts charged by the dealer for the manufacturer’s or distributor’s original parts, service, and diagnostic work to retail customers for nonwarranty service, parts, and diagnostic work installed or performed in the dealer’s service department unless the amounts are not reasonable;
2. For purposes of determining warranty parts and service compensation, menu-priced parts or services, group discounts, special event discounts, and special event promotions shall not be considered in determining amounts charged by the dealer to retail customers;
3. Increases in dealer warranty parts and service compensation and diagnostic work compensation, pursuant to this section, shall be requested by the dealer in writing, shall be based on 100 consecutive repair orders or all repair orders over a 90-day period, whichever occurs first, and, in the case of parts, shall be stated as a percentage of markup that shall be uniformly applied to all the manufacturer’s or distributor’s parts;
5. If a manufacturer or distributor furnishes a part to a dealer at no cost for use by the dealer in performing work for which the manufacturer or distributor is required to compensate the dealer under this section, the manufacturer or distributor shall compensate the dealer for the part in the same manner as warranty parts compensation, less the wholesale costs, for such part as listed in the manufacturer’s current price schedules; or
6. In the case of service work, manufacturer original parts or parts otherwise specified by the manufacturer or distributor, and parts provided by a dealer either pursuant to an adjustment program as defined in § 59.1-207.34 or as otherwise requested by the manufacturer or distributor, the dealer shall be compensated in the same manner as for warranty service or parts.This section does not apply to compensation for parts such as components, systems, fixtures, appliances, furnishings, accessories, and features that are designed, used, and maintained primarily for nonvehicular, residential purposes. Warranty audits of dealer records may be conducted by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch on a reasonable basis, and dealer claims for warranty compensation shall not be denied except for good cause, such as performance of nonwarranty repairs, lack of material documentation, fraud, or misrepresentation. Claims for dealer compensation shall be paid within 30 days of dealer submission or within 30 days of the end of an incentive program or rejected in writing for stated reasons. The manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch shall reserve the right to reasonable periodic audits to determine the validity of all such paid claims for dealer compensation. Any chargebacks for warranty parts or service compensation and service incentives shall only be for the 12-month period immediately following the date of the claim and, in the case of chargebacks for sales compensation only, for the 18-month period immediately following the date of claim. However, such limitations shall not be effective in the case of intentionally false or fraudulent claims.
3. Fail to include in written notices of factory recalls to trailer owners and dealers the expected date by which necessary parts and equipment will be available to dealers for the correction of defects;
4. Fail to compensate any of the trailer dealers licensed in the Commonwealth for repairs effected by the dealer of merchandise damaged in manufacture or transit to the dealer where the carrier is designated by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch;
5. Fail to compensate its trailer dealers licensed in the Commonwealth for warranty parts, work, and service pursuant to subsection A or for legal costs and expenses incurred by such dealers in connection with warranty obligations for which the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch is legally responsible or that the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch imposes upon the dealer;
6. Misrepresent in any way to purchasers of trailers that warranties with respect to the manufacture, performance, or design of the trailer are made by the dealer, either as warrantor or co-warrantor;
8. Shift or attempt to shift to the trailer dealer, directly or indirectly, any liabilities of the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch under the Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act (§ 59.1-207.9 et seq.), unless such liability results from the act or omission by the dealer.
C. Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise, it shall be unlawful for any trailer manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch to fail to indemnify and hold harmless its trailer dealers against any losses or damages arising out of complaints, claims, or suits relating to the manufacture, assembly, or design of trailers, parts, or accessories, or other functions by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch beyond the control of the dealer, including, without limitation, the selection by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch of parts or components for the trailer or any damages to merchandise occurring in transit to the dealer where the carrier is designated by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch. The dealer shall notify the manufacturer of pending suits in which allegations are made that come within this subsection whenever reasonably practicable to do so. Every trailer dealer franchise issued to, amended, or renewed for trailer dealers in the Commonwealth shall be construed to incorporate provisions consistent with the requirements of this subsection.
D. On any new trailer, any uncorrected damage or any corrected damage exceeding three percent of the manufacturer’s or distributor’s suggested retail price as defined in 15 U.S.C. §§ 1231-1233, as measured by retail repair costs, must be disclosed to the dealer in writing prior to delivery. Factory mechanical repair and damage to glass, tires, and bumpers are excluded from the three percent rule when properly replaced by identical manufacturer’s or distributor’s original equipment or parts. Whenever a new trailer is damaged in transit, when the carrier or means of transportation is determined by the manufacturer or distributor, or whenever a trailer is otherwise damaged prior to delivery to the new trailer dealer, the new trailer dealer shall:
1. Notify the manufacturer or distributor of the damage within three business days from the date of delivery of the new trailer to the new trailer dealership or within the additional time specified in the franchise; and
2. Request from the manufacturer or distributor authorization to replace the components, parts, and accessories damaged or otherwise correct the damage, unless the damage to the trailer exceeds the three percent rule, in which case the dealer may reject the trailer within three business days.
E. If the manufacturer or distributor refuses or fails to authorize correction of such damage within 10 days after receipt of notification, or if the dealer rejects the trailer because damage exceeds the three percent rule, ownership of the new trailer shall revert to the manufacturer or distributor, and the new trailer dealer shall have no obligation, financial or otherwise, with respect to such trailer. Should either the manufacturer, distributor, or the dealer elect to correct the damage or any other damage exceeding the three percent rule, full disclosure shall be made by the dealer in writing to the buyer and an acknowledgment by the buyer is required. If there is less than three percent damage, no disclosure is required, provided that the damage has been corrected. Predelivery mechanical work shall not require a disclosure. Failure to disclose any corrected damage within the knowledge of the selling dealer to a new trailer in excess of the three percent rule shall constitute grounds for revocation of the buyer order, provided that, within 30 days of purchase, the trailer is returned to the dealer with an accompanying written notice of the grounds for revocation. In case of revocation pursuant to this section, the dealer shall accept the trailer and refund any payments made to the dealer in connection with the transaction, less a reasonable allowance for the consumer’s use of the trailer as defined in § 59.1-207.11.
F. If there is a dispute between the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch and the dealer with respect to any matter referred to in subsection A, B, or C, either party may petition the Commissioner in writing, within 30 days after either party has given written notice of the dispute to the other, for a hearing. The decision of the Commissioner shall be binding on the parties, subject to rights of judicial review and appeal as provided in the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). However, nothing contained in this section shall give the Commissioner any authority as to the content or interpretation of any manufacturer’s or distributor’s warranty.
1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1992.72; 2015, c. 615.