(QCOSTARICA) Buyers of cars in Costa Rica have an ally when things go wrong.
The association of vehicle importers – Asociación de Importadores de Vehículos y Maquinaria (AIVEMA) – announced the opening of a conflict resolution centre – the first in Latin America, designed to settle disputes between car buyers and dealers.
The “centro de justicia automotriz “, independent of any one dealer or brand, promises to cut time to resolve conflicts of warranty or product issues of car buyers.
“When conflicts reach the courts it can go on for years without reaching a solution”, said the centre’s director, Carlos Aguilar. “However, if they choose the alternative method, it may be resolved within two to three one hour sessions,” he said.
“There is a significant amount of backlog and delay in operational systems,” added Aguilar.
The centre opened last Thursday (July 16). Dealers registered with the Asociación de Importadores de Vehículos y Maquinaria (AIVEMA) are required to participate.
Aguilar stressed that the resolution process is only for purchases made at AIVEMA registered dealers, and does not apply to “informal” sales, ie. private sales and purchases from car lots not part of the association.
“Anyone can approach us. We filter with a series of questions and we contact the counterpart,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar said the AIVEMA will act as mediator to the process that involves only the two parties (buyer and dealer), ensuring the dispute is resolved. The cost is US$350 paid by the parties.
“The mediator does not offer solutions, but will seek to ensure that there is balance between the parties and clear communication in both directions in the process,” said a statement by AIVEMA
The resolution is binding on the dealer, but, the buyer will still have the option of taking the case to court.