Consumer Dispute Resolution

1. If you have a problem with a car purchased from a local dealer, first try to work it out with the dealer. If the problem is not resolved, contact the manufacturer's regional or national office. Ask for the consumer affairs office. Many of these are listed in this section.

2. If you are still unsuccessful, consider contacting the other organizations in this section that handle consumer complaints. These programs are usually called alternative dispute resolution programs.

3. Generally, there are three types: arbitration, conciliation and mediation. All three methods of dispute resolution vary. Ask for a copy of the rules of the program before you file your case. Generally, the decisions of the arbitrators are binding and must be accepted by both the customer and the business.

4. However, in other forms of dispute resolution, only the business is required to accept the decision. In some programs, decisions are not binding on either party.

5. Remember, before contacting one of these programs, try to resolve the complaint with the car manufacturer. If you still cannot resolve your problem, contact one of the third-party resolution programs. Be sure to contact your local or state consumer agency to see if your state offers state-run dispute resolution programs.

6. If you suspect you have a vehicle problem that might fall under your state's lemon law, call your local or state consumer protection agency to find out about your rights under the lemon law.

Automotive Consumer Action Program (AUTOCAP)
National Automobile Dealers Association
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
Toll free: 1-800-252-6232
Fax: 703-821-7075
Web site:

Center for Auto Safety (CAS)
1825 Connecticut Ave., NW Suite 330
Washington, DC 20009
Web site:

Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22203-1838
Toll free: 1-800-955-5100
TDD/TTY: 703-276-1862
Fax: 703-525-8277
Web site:

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