(1) Every motor vehicle manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler, factory branch or distributor branch, or officer, agent or representative thereof, shall:
(a) Specify in writing to each of its motor vehicle dealers, the dealer's obligation for delivery, preparation, warranty and factory recall services on its products;
(b) Compensate the motor vehicle dealer for warranty and factory recall service required of the dealer by the manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler, factory branch or distributor branch or officer, agent or representative thereof; and
(c) Provide the dealer the schedule of compensation to be paid the dealer for parts, work and service in connection with warranty and recall services and the time allowance for the performance of the work and service.
(2) In no event may:
(a) The schedule of compensation fail to compensate the dealers for the work and services they are required to perform in connection with the dealer's delivery and preparation obligations, or fail to adequately and fairly compensate the dealers for labor, parts and other expenses incurred by the dealer to perform under and comply with manufacturer's warranty agreements and factory recalls;
(b) Any manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler, or representative thereof, pay its dealers an amount of money for warranty or recall work that is less than that charged by the dealer to the retail customers of the dealer for nonwarranty and nonrecall work of the like kind; and
(c) Any manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler, or representative thereof, compensate for warranty and recall work based on a flat-rate figure that is less than what the dealer charges for retail work.
(3) It is a violation of this section for any manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler or representative to require any dealer to pay in any manner, surcharges, limited allocation, audits, charge backs or other retaliation if the dealer seeks to recover its nonwarranty retail rate for warranty and recall work.
(4) The retail rate charged by the dealer for parts is established by the dealer submitting to the manufacturer or distributor one hundred sequential nonwarranty customer-paid service repair orders that contain warranty-like parts or ninety consecutive days of nonwarranty customer-paid service repair orders that contain warranty-like parts covering repairs made no more than one hundred eighty days before the submission and declaring the average percentage markup.
(5) The retail rate customarily charged by the dealer for labor rate must be established using the same process as provided under subsection (4) of this section and declaring the average labor rate. The average labor rate must be determined by dividing the amount of the dealer's total labor sales by the number of total hours that generated those sales. If a labor rate and parts markup rate simultaneously declared by the dealer, the dealer may use the same repair orders to complete each calculation as provided under subsection (4) of this section. A reasonable allowance for labor for diagnostic time shall be either included in the manufacturer's labor time allowance or listed as a separate compensable item. A dealer may request additional time allowance for either diagnostic or repair time, which request shall not be unreasonable denied by the manufacturer.
(6) In calculating the retail rate customarily charged by the dealer for parts and labor, the following work may not be included in the calculation:
(a) Repairs for manufacturer or distributor special events, specials or promotional discounts for retain customer repairs;
(b) Parts sold at wholesale;
(c) Routine maintenance not covered under any retail customer warranty, including fluids, filters and belts not provided in the course of repairs;
(d) Nuts, bolts fasteners and similar items that do not have an individual part number;
(f) Vehicle reconditioning.
(7) The average of the parts markup rates and labor rate is presumed to be reasonable and must go into effect thirty days following the manufacturer's approval. A manufacturer or distributor may rebut the presumption by a preponderance of the evidence that a rate is unreasonable in light of the practices of all other same line-make franchised motor vehicle dealers in an economically similar area of the state offering the same line-make vehicles, not later than thirty days after submission. If the average parts markup rate or average labor rate is rebutted, or both, the manufacturer or distributor shall propose an adjustment of the average percentage markup based on that rebuttal not later than thirty days after submission.
(8) Each manufacturer, in establishing a schedule of compensation for warranty work, shall rely on the vehicle dealer's declaration of hourly labor rates and parts as stated in subsections (4), (5) and (6) of this section and may not obligate any vehicle dealer to engage in unduly burdensome or time-consuming documentation of rates or parts, including obligating vehicle dealers to engage in transaction-by-transaction or part-by-part calculations.
(9) A dealer or manufacturer may demand that the average parts markup or average labor rate be calculated using the process provided under subsections (4) and (5) of this section; however, the demand for the average parts markup may not be made within twelve months of the last parts markup declaration and the demand for the average labor rate may not be made within twelve months of the last labor rate declaration. If a parts markup or labor rate is demanded by the dealer or manufacturer, the dealer shall determine the repair orders to be included in the calculation under subsections (4) and (5) of this section.
(10) As it applies to a school bus, truck tractor, road tractor and truck as defined in section one, article one of this chapter, with a gross vehicle weight on excess of twenty-six thousand one pounds the manufacturer, distributor and/or O. E. M. supplier shall pay the dealer its incurred actual time at the retail labor rate for retrieving a motor vehicle and returning a motor vehicle to dealer's designated parking area. Dealer shall be paid $50 minimum for each operation that requires the use of each electronic tool (i.e. laptop computer). The manufacturer or distributor may not reduce what is paid to a dealer for this retrieval or return time, or for the electronic tool charge. The dealer is allowed to add to a completed warranty repair order three hours for every twenty-four hours the manufacturer, distributor and/or O. E. M. supplier makes the dealer stop working on a vehicle while the manufacturer, distributor and/or O. E. M. supplier decides how it wants the dealer to proceed with the repairs.
(11) All claims made by motor vehicle dealers pursuant to the section for compensation for delivery, preparation, warranty and recall work, including labor, parts and other expenses, shall be paid by the manufacturer within thirty days after approval and shall be approved or disapproved by the manufacturer within thirty days after receipt. When any claim is disapproved, the dealer shall be notified in writing of the grounds for disapproval. No claim which has been approved and paid may be charged back to the dealer unless it can be shown that the claim was false or fraudulent, that the repairs were not properly made or were unnecessary to correct the defective condition or the dealer failed to reasonable substantiate the claim in accordance with the written requirements of the manufacturer or distributor in effect at the time the claim arose. No charge back may be made until the dealer has had notice and an opportunity to support the claim in question. No otherwise valid reimbursement claims may be denied once properly submitted within manufacturers' submission guidelines due to a clerical error or omission or based on a different level of technician technical certification or the dealer's failure to subscribe to any manufacturer's computerized training programs.
(12) Notwithstanding the terms of a franchise agreement or provision of law in conflict with this section, the dealer's delivery, preparation, warranty and recall obligations constitutes the dealer's sole responsibility for product liability as between the dealer and manufacturer and, except for a loss caused by the dealer's failure to adhere to the obligations, a loss caused by the dealer's negligence or intentional misconduct or a loss caused by the dealer's modification of a product without manufacturer authorization, the manufacturer shall reimburse the dealer for all loss incurred by the dealer, including legal fees, court costs and damages, as a result of the dealer having been named a party in a product liability action.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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