Buying a car can be an emotionally charged experience with long-term financial implications. Smart consumers know a purchase of this importance requires research, knowledge and careful deliberation. It’s vitally important consumers know what protections they are afforded and when they apply.
Consumer Protection Legislation
When Ontario consumers buy from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer, they are protected by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). You’re only protected by OMVIC and Ontario consumer protection laws when you buy a vehicle from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer. If you purchase privately and something goes wrong, you’re on your own; OMVIC cannot assist and you cannot make a claim to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. There is little recourse for private purchasers other than to the courts.
Consumers who buy from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer have a right to:
Click here to learn more about consumer protection legislation.
Buying Privately? Avoid Curbsiders
If you choose to buy privately, educate yourself, don’t become a curbsider’s victim. Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers. They often pose as private sellers, though some operate from small automotive businesses (repair shops, rental companies, etc.).
Curbsiders not only misrepresent themselves – they often misrepresent the vehicles they sell: many are previous write-offs with undisclosed accident-damage or are odometer-tampered.
Learn how to spot the telltale signs of a curbsider.
OMVIC’s Compensation Fund
The Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund is a consumer protection program available to consumers who purchase from OMVIC-Registered Dealers.
The Compensation Fund provides compensation to consumers who suffer a financial loss as a result of a transaction with a dealer (up to $45,000). Note: There are specific claims criteria.
Learn more about the Compensation Fund.