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Consumer Tips


Before purchasing a vehicle, either from a dealer or privately:


Budget Realistically

  • Consider all expenses – not just loan payment:
    • Insurance
    • Fuel
    • Maintenance
    • Parking: Home? Work?
    • Repairs: Can you afford repairs or should you consider a warranty?

Get Educated

  • Determine your priorities: price, features, mileage, warranty, etc.
  • Research vehicle reliability and depreciation rate 
  • Compare finance rates: dealer, bank, other sources
  • Ensure vehicle meets current and possible future needs
  • Research additional products, services or warranties you’re offered
  • New vs. used:
    • Some charges apply only to new vehicles (e.g., freight, pre-delivery inspection (PDI), air tax, tire tax, green levy fee, etc.)
    • Demonstrators (“demos”) are used vehicles
  • Prices advertised by Ontario dealers MUST include all fees and charges (except HST, licensing and agreed-upon options)

Research History & Value

  • Canadian Black Book may provide the wholesale value of your trade-in
  • CARFAX often shows reported incidents or collisions
  • Transport Canada may list known defects or recalls
  • Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) provides ownership history, lien information and historical odometer readings – by law, a private seller must provide a UVIP (ensure all pages are provided)

Know When You’re Protected

In Ontario, all motor vehicle dealers and salespeople must be registered with OMVIC. Consumer protection legislation ONLY applies when consumers buy from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer. There is no consumer law that covers private transactions. If something goes wrong, you’re unfortunately on your own.

If you purchase a vehicle from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer, your transaction is also protected by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.

Review the mandatory disclosures that OMVIC-Registered Dealers must provide in writing to consumers related to the vehicle’s history and condition.

Click here to confirm you're buying from a registered dealer.


Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

Take the time to read your contract or bill of sale and understand all the terms. Don't sign the contract until you're ready to commit to the deal. Once you give your deposit and/or sign the contract, you have agreed to purchase or lease that vehicle.

Remember: this is a legal and binding contract and there is no such thing as a "cooling-off" period under provincial law.