V C Section 3065.1 Franchisor Incentive Program

Franchisor Incentive Program

3065.1.  (a) All claims made by a franchisee for payment under the terms of a franchisor incentive program shall be either approved or disapproved within 30 days after receipt by the franchisor. When any claim is disapproved, the franchisee who submits it shall be notified in writing of its disapproval within the required period, and each notice shall state the specific grounds upon which the disapproval is based. Any claim not specifically disapproved in writing within 30 days from receipt shall be deemed approved on the 30th day.( )1

(b) Franchisee claims for incentive program compensation shall not be disapproved unless the claim is false or fraudulent, the claim is ineligible under the terms of the incentive program as previously communicated to the franchisee, or for material noncompliance with reasonable and nondiscriminatory documentation and administrative claims submission requirements.

(c) The franchisor shall provide for a reasonable appeal process allowing the franchisee at least 30 days after receipt of the written disapproval notice to respond to any disapproval with additional supporting documentation or information rebutting the disapproval. If disapproval is based upon noncompliance with documentation or administrative claims submission requirements, the franchisor shall allow the franchisee at least 30 days from the date of receipt of the written disapproval notice to cure any material noncompliance. If the disapproval is rebutted, and material noncompliance is cured before the applicable deadline, the franchisor shall approve the claim.

(d) If the franchisee provides additional supporting documentation or information purporting to rebut the disapproval, attempts to cure noncompliance relating to the claim, or otherwise appeals denial of the claim, and the franchisor continues to deny the claim, the franchisor shall provide the franchisee with a written notification of the final denial within 30 days of completion of the appeal process, which shall conspicuously state "Final Denial" on the first page.

(e) Following the disapproval of a claim, a franchisee shall have six months from receipt of the written notice described in either subdivision (a) or (d), whichever is later, to file a protest with the board for determination of whether the franchisor complied with subdivisions (a), (b), (c), and (d). In any hearing pursuant to this subdivision or subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d), the franchisor shall have the burden of proof.

(f) All claims made by franchisees under this section shall be paid within 30 days following approval. Failure to approve or pay within the above specified time limits, in individual instances for reasons beyond the reasonable control of the franchisor, do not constitute a violation of this article.

(g) (1) Audits of franchisee incentive records may be conducted by the franchisor on a reasonable basis, and for a period of nine months after a claim is paid or credit issued. A franchisor shall not select a franchisee for an audit, or perform an audit, in a punitive, retaliatory, or unfairly discriminatory manner. A franchisor may conduct no more than one random audit of a franchisee in a nine–month period. The franchisor’s notification to the franchisee of any additional audit within a ninemonth period shall be accompanied by written disclosure of the basis for that additional audit.

(2) Previously approved claims shall not be disapproved and charged back unless the claim is false or fraudulent, the claim is ineligible under the terms of the incentive program as previously communicated to the franchisee, or for material noncompliance with reasonable and nondiscriminatory documentation and administrative claims submission requirements. A franchisor shall not disapprove a claim or chargeback a claim based upon an extrapolation from a sample of claims, unless the sample of claims is selected randomly and the extrapolation is performed in a reasonable and statistically valid manner.

(3) If the franchisor disapproves of a previously approved claim following an audit, the franchisor shall provide to the franchisee, within 30 days after the audit, a written disapproval notice stating the specific grounds upon which the claim is disapproved. The franchisor shall provide a reasonable appeal process allowing the franchisee a reasonable period of not less than 30 days after receipt of the written disapproval notice to respond to any disapproval with additional supporting documentation or information rebutting the disapproval and to cure any material noncompliance, with the period to be commensurate with the volume of claims under consideration. If the franchisee rebuts any disapproval and cures any material noncompliance relating to a claim before the applicable deadline, the franchisor shall not chargeback the franchisee for that claim.

(4) If the franchisee provides additional supporting documentation or information purporting to rebut the disapproval, attempts to cure noncompliance relating to the claim, or otherwise appeals denial of the claim, and the franchisor continues to deny the claim, the franchisor shall provide the franchisee with a written notification of the final denial within 30 days of completion of the appeal process, which shall conspicuously state "Final Denial" on the first page.

(5) The franchisor shall not chargeback the franchisee until 45 days after the franchisee receives the written notice described in paragraph (3) or (4), whichever is later. If the franchisee cures any material noncompliance relating to a claim, the franchisor shall not chargeback the dealer for that claim. Any chargeback to a franchisee for incentive program compensation shall be made within 90 days after the franchisee receives that written notice. If the board sustains the chargeback or the protest is dismissed, the franchisor shall have 90 days following issuance of the final order or the dismissal to make the chargeback, unless otherwise provided in a settlement agreement.

(6) Within six months after either receipt of the written notice described in paragraph (3) or (4), a franchisee may file a protest with the board for determination of whether the franchisor complied with this subdivision. If the franchisee files a protest pursuant to this subdivision prior to the franchisor’s chargeback for denied claims, the franchisor shall not offset or otherwise undertake to collect the chargeback until the board issues a final order on the protest. In any protest pursuant to this subdivision, the franchisor shall have the burden of proof.

( )2 (h)( )3 If a false claim was submitted by a franchisee with the intent to defraud the franchisor, a longer period for audit and any resulting chargeback may be permitted if the franchisor obtains an order from the board.

Amended Sec. 14, Ch. 512, Stats. 2013. Effective January 1, 2014.
The 2013 amendment added the italicized material, and at the point(s) indicated, deleted the following:
1. " Following the disapproval of a claim, a franchisee shall have one year from receipt of the notice of disapproval in which to appeal the disapproval to the franchisor and file a protest with the board. All claims made by franchisees under this section shall be paid within 30 days following approval. Failure to approve or pay within the above specified time limits, in individual instances for reasons beyond the reasonable control of the franchisor, do not constitute a violation of this article. "
2. "(b)"
3. "Audits of franchisee incentive records may be conducted by the franchisor on a reasonable basis, and for a period of 18 months after a claim is paid or credit issued. Franchisee claims for incentive program compensation shall not be disapproved except for good cause, such as ineligibility under the terms of the incentive program, lack of material documentation, or fraud. Any chargeback to a franchisee for incentive program compensation shall be made within 90 days of the completion of the audit."