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Determining smash repairer disputes
The voluntary Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry Code of Conduct (the Code) started on 1 May 2017. It provides for the mediation and determination of smash repairer disputes between insurers and repairers by the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC). Under the Code, the VSBC is an approved determination provider to determine smash repairer disputes where mediation has failed. This means the VSBC can make a final decision to conclude a dispute.
Applying for a determination
Under the Code, either party in a smash repairer dispute can apply for a determination of a dispute that couldn’t be resolved at mediation. This needs to happen within 28 days of the unsuccessful mediation having been held (the mediation date is confirmed in the certificate the VSBC issues to both parties afterwards).
To apply for a determination, go to the Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry Code of Conduct website.
The determination process
What happens when the VSBC receives an application?
- After receiving an application, the VSBC contacts the other party in the dispute (the respondent), who then has 28 days to provide a submission in response. The party who made the application (the applicant) then has a seven day period to provide further comments.
- The VSBC might contact either party to ask for more information ahead of appointing an independent determiner to determine the dispute. Determinations are based on the written information provided by both parties, with the determiner taking into consideration the facts, relevant laws and evidence.
- The VSBC will send both parties the determiner’s contact details, a tax invoice and the determination agreement that they must sign. Each party pays $500 (the cost is subsidised by the Victorian Government). The determiner will decide if they need to meet with the parties before determining the dispute.
Making the determination
- After the determiner has received all submissions and evidence, they will make a final and binding determination as soon as practicable. Once made, the determination will be provided to the parties within ten working days.
- A de-identified copy of the determination will then be provided to the Code Administration Committee.
To read published determinations or access the Code, go to the Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry Code of Conduct website. If you have any questions, contact the VSBC on 13 8722 or at email@example.com.