N.Y. dealer bill signed

ALBANY, N.Y. – Governor George Pataki signed New York State Assembly Bill 10358, which regulates marine dealer agreements, into law last week.

First introduced in March of this year, the bill and its Senate version (6610c) were created “in order to level the playing field, promote fair and reasonable agreements and provide protection for the considerable investments which boat dealers are required to make,” according to the bill analysis.

Just over seven months and a number of amendments later, the bill’s final version is fair and balanced, said Chris Squeri, the executive director of the New York Marine Trades Association, in a recent interview.

“We feel that it’s not a one-sided bill and that it’s fair to everyone involved,” Squeri said. “We could have gone after a much harsher bill, but we wanted to make it fair so no one gets hurt and takes it on the chin. We weren’t looking to go all the way to the other side.”

The other side, say many dealers, was an unfair advantage for manufacturers that were protected by either one-sided agreements or no agreements at all.

The final version of this bill represents a compromise from the dealer body who introduced it. The NYMTA compromised on many aspects, including the wording for succession rights, buyback terms, reimbursement on parts and warranty rates, some of the hottest topics when it comes to dealer-manufacturer agreements.

According to Squeri, the terms for the buyback clause were reduced to include only the product that has been delivered within the last 12 months. Warranty labor rates were agreed to be reimbursed at 75 percent the first year of the agreement, 90 percent the second year and 100 percent during and after the third. And while dealers were looking for 100-percent retail reimbursement on parts, the final bill mandated a 40-percent reimbursement.

“Usually, the mark up on parts is anywhere from 50 to 100 percent,” Squeri said. “We settled in at 40 percent because the way we looked at it is that it’s more than we got before, and it’s going to allow the dealers a little more stability in their business.”

The bill takes effect January 3, 2005.

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