California Department of Consumer Affairs

06/29/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/29/2023 12:29

ACP: All About The Arbitration Certification Program

The Department of Consumer Affairs' Arbitration Certification Program (ACP) certifies and monitors third-party arbitration programs of participating automobile manufacturers to ensure compliance with California laws and regulations governing resolution of warranty disputes involving new/used vehicles purchased with the manufacturer's new-car warranty. ACP also ensures that certified programs conduct dispute resolution in a fair and expeditious manner. One of the program's goals is to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution, in lieu of court action, to reduce the strain and cost on consumers and the court system. ACP is mandated to perform the following:

Establish a program for certifying manufacturer's third-party dispute resolution processes for the arbitration of warranty disputes.

  • Prescribe and provide forms for applicants to use when applying for certification. • Establish minimum standards to determine whether a third-party dispute resolution process is in substantial compliance with certification requirements.
  • Prescribe information that the third-party dispute resolution process must submit to ACP so that ACP can determine whether the process continues to substantially comply with California's laws and regulations.
  • Conduct a survey of consumers who complete the arbitration process to measure customer satisfaction.
  • Submit a biennial report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of certified arbitration programs.
  • Adopt regulations as necessary and appropriate to implement applicable California laws

Once a manufacturer's arbitration program is certified, ACP monitors the program to determine whether it remains in substantial compliance with California's laws and regulations. ACP's staff gathers and evaluates information about the program through:

  • Monitoring arbitration hearings, auditing dealerships, and monitoring arbitrator training.
  • Reviewing individual dispute files;
  • Investigating consumer complaints; and
  • Conducting on-site inspections of the program's operations.

ACP investigates complaints alleging that a certified program has failed to follow its written operating procedures. ACP is required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of a manufacturer's failure to honor an arbitrator's decision within 30-days of notification that the consumer has accepted. Additionally, ACP tracks program violations or trends, informs consumers of other legal remedies, and evaluates consumers feedback and suggestions regarding the arbitration process.

Mission: To protect consumers whose vehicles are covered by their manufacturer's original warranty by providing a fair and timely state-certified arbitration program.

Vision: California will have a model arbitration process that encourages manufacturer participation and ensures consumer confidence.


  • Consumer Protection - We make effective and informed decisions in the best interest, and for the safety of Californians.
  • Service - We are professional and responsive to the needs of our stakeholders.
  • Accountability - We accept responsibility for our actions, exemplifying high ethical standards, and always strive to improve our effectiveness.
  • Fairness - We treat people equally and make decisions without favoritism and prejudice.
  • Integrity - We are committed to honesty, ethical conduct, and responsibility.

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