How Should I Prepare For The Arbitration?

  • Collect and organize your evidence. For example, arrange repair orders by date. If you are asking for collateral charges* (such as tinting costs) or incidental charges** (such as rental car costs), obtain proof of these expenses. Obtain a statement from your lender or your leasing company showing all your payments made to date and the payoff amount to release the title of the car. For a leased car, also ask the leasing company for a statement showing the leasing company`s actual purchase cost of the car. Your evidence may include repair orders, photographs, notarized statements or affidavits, diagrams, videotapes, or cassette recordings. You must inform the SCAP Administrator well in advance of the arbitration if you intend to present videotapes or other recordings so the proper equipment may be made available.
  • Arrange for witnesses. Although notarized affidavits may be allowed by the arbitrator, more believable evidence is provided by live witnesses. You may also subpoena witnesses. Make sure your witnesses know when and where to be present, and tell them the arbitration may take all morning or afternoon.
  • Prepare an outline. Prepare an outline to help you present and remember relevant information.
  • Prepare your response to the manufacturer`s arguments. You will be sent a copy of the Manufacturer`s Statement which says why it should not be required to replace or repurchase your car. Be prepared to respond to those arguments.
  • Prepare questions for the manufacturer. Prepare questions for the manufacturer which may help to support your arguments or which may cast doubt on the manufacturer`s arguments.
  • Get the car ready for inspection or test­drive by the arbitrator. The arbitrator may request to inspect or test­drive your car on the day of the arbitration. Make sure to bring evidence of current licensure and insurance.
  • Arrange for an interpreter if needed. You may bring to the arbitration someone who can translate for you. Inform the SCAP Administrator in advance if you are going to do this.
  • Decide if you want a binding or a non­binding arbitration. If you elect binding arbitration, neither party can ask for an appeal (called trial de novo) of the arbitrator`s decision in court. Under non­binding arbitration, either party may ask for a trial de novo, but it must be done within 30 days after receipt of the decision. Careful consideration should be given to an appeal because the court will order that all reasonable costs of the trial as well as attorney`s fees be paid by the party who demanded the trial de novo if that party does not improve its position by as least 25%. If neither party elects a trial de novo within 30 days, the arbitrator`s decision becomes binding. Bring your completed Election of Consumer form (provided in this handbook) to the arbitration.
  • Watch the SCAP video. Make arrangements with the SCAP Administrator to view the SCAP video well in advance of your arbitration. The video will show you a mock arbitration and give you a better idea of what to expect at the arbitration and how best to prepare your case for presentation to the arbitrator.

* Collateral Charges are those additional charges incurred as a result of the acquisition of the car. If manufacturer­installed or agent­installed items, taxes, government fees, etc. are included in your purchase contract, they will be included as part of your refund if you win. You only have to provide additional proof of other charges that you paid separately.

** Incidental Charges means those reasonable costs incurred by a consumer such as towing charges and rental car costs, which are directly caused by the defects which are the subject of the claim. They do not include loss of use, loss of income, or personal injury claims.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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