Lame duck California Gov. Gray Davis has signed legislation giving the California New Motor Vehicle Board authority to settle disputes between Golden State RV dealers, manufacturers and consumers.
The law, long sought by the California Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (CalRVDA), gives the New Motor Vehicle Board licensing authority over RV dealers and manufacturers. A requirement of the license is that there be a written operating agreement negotiated between the two parties.
The law does not dictate any of the agreement’s provisions.
Additionally, for $200 RV consumers can file an action with the board to adjudicate disputes they might have with a dealer or manufacturer.
Davis signed the bill one day before it would have become law without his signature. His approval was in doubt because of the political chaos surrounding his recall and the election of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him.
“Let’s just say that we were sitting with our fingers crossed,” said Ernie Friesen, owner of All Seasons RV and chairman of the CalRVDA Government Relations Committee. “It could have gone either way. As far as the bill itself is concerned, it’s good for dealers and consumers in California.”
Friesen said a primary provision of the law is that disputes will be settled in California, rather than in the home state of the manufacturer, a requirement often found in dealer-manufacturer agreements.
Bill Baker, director of governmental affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which in the past has been at odds with the national RVIA concerning franchise-type agreements and binding arbitration, expressed satisfaction with the final bill.
“We don’t have any difficulty with it,” Baker said. “There was some good give and take, and we are satisfied about how it ended.”