A new, voluntary Motor Vehicle Insurance & Repair Industry Code of Conduct commenced operation on 1 May 2017. The Code, which can be found here, provides for the mediation and determination of smash repairer disputes by the VSBC. The VSBC is an Approved Determination Provider under the Code to determine smash repairer disputes, where mediation has failed.

This is a new function for the VSBC under the Small Business Commission Act 2017 which will be run as a pilot project to be reviewed after 12 months.

Under the Code, an Application for Determination of a dispute may be made by either party via the Code Administration Committee (CAC) within 28 days of an unsuccessful mediation. Following an unsuccessful mediation, the VSBC will issue a certificate confirming the unsuccessful mediation date.

Following receipt of an Application for Determination, the respondent to the Application will be given 28 days within which to provide a submission to the Application and VSBC in response to the Application. The Applicant will have ten days from receipt of the respondent’s submission to provide any further comments.

The VSBC may contact the parties to obtain further information and will then appoint an independent Determiner to determine the dispute ‘on the papers’ having regard to the facts, applicable laws and evidence. The VSBC will contact the parties to advise the Determiner’s contact details and to provide a tax invoice and the Determination Agreement which the parties must sign. Each party pays $500 and the VSBC subsidises the cost of the determination process. The Determiner will decide if it is necessary to meet with the parties prior to determining the dispute.

A final and binding Determination will be made as soon as practicable after the Determiner has received all submissions and evidence and will be provided to the parties within ten working days after it is made. A de-identified copy of the Determination will be provided to the CAC.

The VSBC Determination process can be found here.

The VSBC Application for Determination can be found here.

The Submission for Determination Template can be found here. (Note: This document is provided as a template and guide only. Additional pages may be added to this document or a different format may be used.)

The Determination Agreement Template can be found here. (Note: The actual Determination Agreement with the names of the parties and the Determiner will be circulated to the parties for signature once the Determiner is appointed by VSBC.)

On 10 October 2018 the first Determination was completed under the Code. A copy of the Determination can be found within the Resource Centre on the Code Administration Committee (CAC) website.

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