Services of the ADRC
The ADRC, as a fair and neutral third party organization, provides consultations on how to resolve disputes between consumers and dealers/manufacturers over accidents arising from defects in vehicles, motorcycles (including mopeds), their service parts or accessories without resorting to litigation.
The consultation service covers both "product liability (compensation for injuries and/or damage caused by defects in vehicles, motorcycles or related products)" and "product quality (who must pay for the repair cost resulting from quality issues of vehicles, motorcycles or related products)."
When a consumer comes into contact with us, the consulting staff first listens to his/her case in detail, then identifies the issues and seeks direction to resolve the case. This process is called the "Issues and Framework Sorting", through which we clarify and advise the issues that the consumer would contend against the manufacturer or dealer in question. If legal advice and/or judgment are necessary, we request legal opinions from ADRC-contracted attorneys before advising the consumer.
If the consumer so requests, we communicate his/her claim to the manufacturer* accurately as a part of our effort to bring about rational discussions between the consumer and the dealer. The ADRC, as a public interest incorporated foundation, cannot give any orders to manufacturers and dealers, however, by this process, we will endeavor to bring about rapid and appropriate responses from manufacturers*. Our consultation service is available free of charge.
Our direct communication with manufacturers on behalf of consumers is limited to the manufacturers in the membership of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Japan Automobile Importers Association.
If the negotiations between the disputing parties come to deadlock and the parties agree to accept conciliation service from the ADRC, then the ADRC-contracted attorney starts conciliation. The first step of conciliation process is the attorney's hearing (and/or investigation) about the claims of each party (ordinary done by telephone). After the hearing, the ADRC-contracted attorney presents a conciliation plan to them, and if both parties are agreed the plan, the parties are to sign a conciliation agreement.
Although the conciliation service is offered free of charge, parties need to pay the cost for investigation which may be carried out by themselves in order to verify their contentions. Additionally, party must bear his/her travel expenses if the party attends any conciliation meetings.
Notwithstanding the conciliation attempt, if the dispute remains unresolved, the parties may consent to the examination service of the ADRC. It is also possible to opt for the examination service by skipping the conciliation process.
EXAMINATION (=CONCILIATION BY EXPAERT COMMITTEE)
The examination is performed by a sub-committee, which consists of a professor of law, a professor of automotive engineering, an attorney and a consumer affairs expert. The sub-committee listens to the claims of parties and verifies the claimed facts through hearings and investigations which would be carried out at the site of accident or problem, if necessary.
The sub-committee may try settlement again, and if the parties agreed, the parties are to sign a conciliation agreement. For the difficult cases (=no possibility of conciliation), the sub-committee provides a judgment from a fair and neutral standpoint. If both parties agree with the judgment, the parties are to sign a conciliation agreement in order to close the disputes.
But if either or both of them disagree with the judgment, the ADRC must terminate its services for this particular case. The disagreeing party then may take the case to a court or any other organization for dispute settlement.
Each of the parties is charged JPY 5,000 for the examination service provided by the ADRC. Additionally, the parties must pay the cost for investigation which may be carried out by themselves in order to verify their contentions. Additionally, party must bear his/her travel expenses if the party attends any sub-committee meetings
(Our sincere thanks to SJ and JR)