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If the manufacturer raises an eligibility issue before the hearing, an arbitrator may be appointed to bring you and the manufacturer together (usually by teleconference) to listen to what each of you has to say about that issue. This is called an eligibility hearing or eligibility teleconference. It is the manufacturer’s job to convince the arbitrator that your claim does not qualify. The manufacturer presents its facts and evidence first and then you get to respond. Your job is to convince the arbitrator that your claim does qualify and show why the manufacturer’s position is not correct. The manufacturer gets to reply to anything new that you raise when you respond. After listening to both sides (and asking questions, as appropriate) the arbitrator rules whether or not you qualify for CAMVAP. The arbitrator can do this orally right away or prepare a written ruling within fourteen (14) calendar days. In either case, the decision will include written reasons and will not decide the merits of your defect or warranty claim.
You and the manufacturer can talk about settling your claim at any time during a CAMVAP arbitration. If such discussions lead to a settlement before the hearing, the arbitration legislation in your province or territory may let you ask the arbitrator to formalize the settlement into a written Consent Award which gives both parties the safeguard of an arbitrator’s decision without the time and effort of a hearing. If the settlement includes a buy-back of your vehicle, you will likely need a Consent Award in order to claim a refund of the prorated provincial sales tax from your provincial or territorial government. In any event, you should notify the Provincial Administrator as soon as possible if you settle your claim.
If you reach a settlement with the manufacturer at the hearing the arbitrator will formalize the terms of the settlement into a written Consent Award which gives both parties the safeguard of an arbitrator’s decision without the time and effort of a hearing.
Each CAMVAP hearing typically goes through the following stages:
Stage 1 - Arbitrator Introduction The arbitrator calls everyone to order and makes introductory remarks. The arbitrator may double check what you and the manufacturer are looking for (buy-back versus repairs, for example) and invite you to ask general questions about the process or raise any preliminary issues. If you have questions or concerns about the arbitration process or the arbitrator’s mandate, do not hesitate to raise them.
Stage 2 - Swearing In of Witnesses The arbitrator asks each witness (including you and the manufacturer’s representative) to promise to tell the truth by way of oath or affirmation (solemn promise).
Stage 3 - Opening Statements (Optional) The arbitrator invites you to give a big-picture overview of the case. The manufacturer is given the same opportunity.
If you choose to make a statement, it should include:
Stage 4 - Your Case The arbitrator asks you (as the claimant) to make your presentation first. Now is the time to prove your claim, including any alleged defects.
Stage 5 - The Manufacturer’s Case The arbitrator asks the manufacturer (as the respondent) to make its presentation, just as you did. Then you may ask the manufacturer’s representative questions about the issues to try to clarify or put its case into doubt.
The same process happens for all the manufacturer’s witnesses.
Stage 6 - Your Reply (Optional) The arbitrator asks if you have anything to offer by way of reply. Do not repeat your original presentation. Offer a reply only if the manufacturer’s presentation raised something that you could not anticipate.
Stage 7 - Inspecting the Vehicle and the Test Drive at an In Person Hearing The test drive is an opportunity for everyone to observe the vehicle and its condition. You must bring the vehicle to the in person hearing so that you, the arbitrator and the manufacturer’s representative can look at or take it for a test drive. You, the manufacturer's representative, and the arbitrator must be in the vehicle during the test drive unless this is not feasible because of seating constraints. Please make sure your vehicle is clean as this helps with the inspection process. The arbitrator will ask for proof of insurance for the vehicle. Any inspection that requires operation of the vehicle will not take place if valid proof of insurance is not provided. The arbitrator, along with you and the manufacturer, will view the vehicle and complete a vehicle inspection form that is designed to confirm the odometer reading and the condition of the vehicle at the hearing. You should be prepared to address any issues that may be raised by the manufacturer or the arbitrator with respect to the condition of the vehicle. The arbitrator will not allow the vehicle to be operated in an unsafe manner or in contravention of the rules of the road. For example, the vehicle cannot be operated above the posted speed limits nor can it be operated in an unsafe manner. Witnesses or video evidence presented at the hearing may be of assistance here if the issues cannot be duplicated within these safety restrictions.
Stage 8 - Summing Up The arbitrator will give you a chance to summarize the case. . Help the arbitrator by showing how everything fits together to support your claim. Use this as the final opportunity to explain why your case is more persuasive than the manufacturer’s. The arbitrator then gives the manufacturer the same opportunity to summarize its case. After that, the hearing will be over. Additional evidence is only allowed in exceptional circumstances.
Stage 9 – Technical Inspection (Optional) At or after the hearing, the arbitrator may order a technical inspection of your vehicle. If you or the manufacturer thinks a technical inspection would help the arbitrator to decide the case, either of you can ask for one at the hearing and the arbitrator will consider the request.
A technical inspection is an examination of your vehicle by a qualified, independent expert who prepares a written report with expert observations and opinions to help the arbitrator understand the technical issues in your claim. The inspection may include disassembly and reassembly of vehicle components as determined by the inspector. CAMVAP pays for the technical inspection. There is no cost to you. The arbitrator decides whether a technical inspection is appropriate. If you or the manufacturer requests an inspection, the arbitrator will consider the request. The arbitrator can also independently decide to order a technical inspection.
AWARD OR DECISION
The arbitrator’s written decision and reasons are called the “Award”. The arbitrator must deliver an Award to the Provincial Administrator not more than fourteen (14) calendar days after the conclusion of your hearing or any subsequent technical inspection. You and the manufacturer each receive a copy of the Award. If the arbitrator rules for the manufacturer and dismisses your claim, the case is closed. The arbitration legislation in your province or territory may allow you or the manufacturer to ask the arbitrator for a further explanation or correction if either of you:
All such requests must be made through the Provincial Administrator within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the arbitrator’s decision. The Provincial Administrator will pass the request on to the arbitrator and then: