Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pulls out of consumer arbitration plan to help customers
TORONTO -- There is no “lemon law” in Canada when it comes to buying a new vehicle that turns out to have problems.
However, if you bought a new car, truck or SUV with issues that can’t be repaired over the past 25 years, Canadians have gone to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan, known as CAMVAP.
But now Chrysler Fiat Automobiles is no longer part of the program.
Brandon Lawson, who lives near Saint John, N.B., bought a 2020 a Dodge Ram EcoDiesel last summer.
Lawson claims the $80,000 pick-up truck has had ongoing problems with it's ABS brakes, starter and onboard computer.
“CAMVAP is good, or would have been a good middleman,” Lawson said. “The truck has been in the shop off and on since I bought it. They can't figure out what's wrong with it and are saying it's 90 per cent software related."
CAMVAP is a free service for consumers that is funded by the auto manufacturers to settle disputes between car buyers and auto makers. Vehicles must be less than five years old and have fewer then 160,000 kilometres on their odometer.
Stephen Moody, the general manger of CAMVAP, said that “Chrysler was in the program from the beginning. They were one of our founding members."
CAMVAP’s website now states “FCA Canada ltd. (Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram trucks) left CAMVAP effective Dec. 31, 2020. Claim applications for FCA vehicle cases will no longer be accepted."
In arbitration cases CAMVAP could order a manufacturer to buy back a vehicle, repair it or pay for out of pocket expenses.
“They made a businesses decision that it was time for them to leave CAMVAP. The decision they made is one they can make as we are a voluntary program,” Moody said of FCA.
LouAnn Gosselin, head of communications with FCA Canada said it a statement to CTV News Toronto that in Sept. 2020, FCA Canada informed CAMVAP of its decision to withdraw from the national program effective Dec. 31.
“While FCA Canada recognizes the value of a voluntary arbitration program that is able to efficiently and effectively resolve disputes between consumers and manufacturers, the company remains of the view that the improvements required to carry out the full spirit and intent of CAMVAP have not been realized,” Gosselin said.
Moody said if someone has problems with a new vehicle that is not covered under the CAMVAP program, they should try to work with the manufacture and dealer before going to court.
After Lawson contacted CTV News Toronto he said he was able to negotiate a deal with his dealership and they got him into another Ram pickup truck that was one year newer.
“I'm happy with the dealership that they did pull through, but I think that they (FCA Canada) should think twice and be back in the CAMVAP program,” Lawson said.
The majority of Canada’s major automakers remain in the CAMVAP program. Moody said if arbitration is not needed to settle a complaint the group sided with the consumer about 70 per cent of the time.