Activities in FY 2012
Summarized below are the activities of our Automotive Dispute Resolution Center in fiscal year 2012 (April 2012 - March 2013) and the results of our questionnaire survey conducted during the fiscal year on service recipients.
Summary of activates
1. Service Performance
In FY 2012 the ADRC recorded a total of 2,733 consultation services, roughly 10% more than the previous year's total. We predict that the total number of consultation services for FY 2012 would be around the 3,000 level, like past ordinal years, however, probably still reflecting the auto sales plunge due to the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
There were 23 cases of conciliation services provided in FY 2012, it is biggest number of ADRC history, however, there was none examination cases in FY 2012.
2. Consultation Services
Of the total consultation services in FY 2012, 112 were 'accident related' cases including injury to body or property caused by defective products, up by 6 cases from the previous year. 'Quality & function' cases numbered 1,642.
Among the 112 'accident related' cases, 'sudden acceleration', 'brake', 'airbag', 'body & exterior' and 'fire' cases remained top-ranked, as they were in the previous years. But the number of 'sudden acceleration' cases plunged to 15 from the 30 of the year 2010, when there was an increased mass media exposure of sudden acceleration accidents and ensuing recalls. Among 'quality & function' cases, the percentage share of consultations concerning 'engine' is the highest level.
3. Resolution Status
Focusing on the total of 'accident related' and 'quality & function' cases in FY 2012, 1,969 cases (or100.0%) were closed. (Closed means that after our consulting staff advised, “result of the case had been informed to ADRC” or “no additional contact from the consumer”). And 175 cases (up by 7 over the previous year) were referred to manufactures or importers for resolution. Of these 175 referred cases, 146 cases (83.4%) led to settlement between consumers and the dealers or manufactures or importers.
The cases referred from the ADRC were studied more carefully by the manufacturer, importer and/or dealer together. In many cases, this kind of study brought a more understandable explanation and/or more acceptable conclusion to the consumer. Therefore, the ADRC will continue to refer the case to the manufacturer or importer when the consumer agrees to do so. With regard to professional legal advice, our consultation staff sought advice from ADRC-contracted attorneys in 134 cases, same number to the previous year.
4. Information about the ADRC
As in past years, the most numerous recipients of our services, 41.2% of total, had come to know about the ADRC at the public consumer consulting service office. Our service recipients who came to know about us at our website decreased to 22.7%.
Regarding the reasons why consumers decided to utilize our services, 56% were advised by dependable organization or persons, while27% thought that the status of a public interest incorporated foundation made the ADRC highly trustworthy. We have thus confirmed the benefit of having become a public interest incorporated foundation which, as a non-profit organization, is widely deemed reliable.
5. Public Relations Activities
Since the public knowledge of alternative dispute resolution is still limited in Japan, we strive to make our organization and activities better known to the public. To this end, our top priority is to promote public relations with various government offices and public consumer consulting service offices.
In FY 2012 our staff visited 26 consumer policy departments of national/local government offices in 24 prefectures and 197 public consumer consulting service offices throughout Japan to explain our missions and activities. To the Prefectures of Yamagata, Saitama, Ehime, Iwate and Miyagi we dispatched our experts as lecturers of consumer consultation seminars.
Questionnaire Results on the ADRC's Services
In FY 2012, we carried out the 12th questionnaire survey, on how our service recipients felt about our services so that our alternative dispute resolution activities would be improved. Questionnaire answers were obtained from 277 service recipients.
Satisfaction scores rose in practically all of the areas appraised, probably because we had tried to bounce back from the decline of satisfaction scores in the 2010 survey.
Importantly, positive responses on the consultation service proved useful for dispute resolution rebounded to 72.0%. Positive responses on ‘The attitude of consulting staff was fair and impartial' reached 91.7%. In the question on the most useful type of advice provided at the ADRC, 46% answered ‘advice on how to negotiate', 26% 'legal advice', and only 6% 'technical advice'.
Keeping in mind that a growing number of service recipients found general and legal advice more useful than technical advice, we will inject further efforts into the improvement of alternative dispute resolution services at the ADRC.
In response to the lowered rating of services by recipients in 2010, ADRC has applied its utmost resources to the enhancement of service quality. By these efforts, the service quality ratings turned up in 2012. We will persist in boosting the satisfaction of our service recipients. Operating as a certified public interest incorporated foundation since 1 April 2012, we aim to achieve even more reliable and satisfactory dispute resolutions.
(Our sincere thanks to SJ and JR)