Alaska legislators consider bill addressing business dealings between boat manufacturers and dealers

Alaska legislators are considering a bill that addresses business dealings between manufacturers and dealers. The bill, H.B. 303, addresses several areas of concern for boat, engine and powersports dealers, including nonrenewal requirements, warranty, succession and transfer of agreements, allotment of inventory and product damage responsibilities. The bill was introduced Jan. 15 by Rep. Mark Neuman, a Republican, and has bipartisan support from representatives John Harris, Bill Thomas, Bryce Edgmon and Kurt Olson.

“HB 303 will benefit Alaskan consumers and Alaskan marine and powersports dealerships by creating a more favorable business environment in which to buy or service boats, four- wheelers, snow machines, and outboard motors,” Neuman said in a statement.

He adds that Alaska is unique because consumers who use these products for recreational purposes also rely on them as a primary method of transportation.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association opposes the bill and similar bills that have been introduced in other states. The NMMA says legislation governing manufacturer/dealer relationships is unnecessary, and the industry-wide push for improved manufacturer/dealer agreements is gaining hold.

One focus of the bill in Alaska is the hot-button issue of warranty service and claims. The bill proposes that manufacturers who do not reimburse proper claims within 30 days must pay the dealer an interest rate of 1.5 percent a month on the claim.

“Throughout Alaska and especially in the bush, the cost associated with remedies for warranty issues through services provided by dealers is extremely burdensome to both consumers and dealers,” Neuman said.

The bill also calls for advanced notice from manufacturers before they can cancel or fail to renew an agreement, change a dealer’s territory or add a new dealer within an existing dealers’ territory.

The bill was heard before the Alaska House Labor and Commerce Committee in late January.

Source: Soundings Trade Only Today

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