Consumer Line

March 2015

OMVIC Message

 

In This Issue

  • Enforcement Update

  • Is Your Car Purchase Haunting You? Think You Might Have Been Slimed? Who Ya Gonna Call?

  • A Tale of Two Keys -Toronto Repair Shop Charged with Curbsiding

  • 2015 Ottawa-Gatineau International Auto Show

Auto Talk


2015 Ottawa-Gatineau International Auto Show


Don’t have any plans for March break? Why not head to Ottawa for the 2015 Ottawa-Gatineau International Auto Show! The Auto Show runs from March 19 - 22 at the Shaw Centre (previously Ottawa Convention Centre).


Be sure to stop by OMVIC’s booth (booth #21/#22) in Room 202 to speak with helpful staff about your car-buying rights! You’ll also want to check out the OMVIC-sponsored Bray AutoSport NASCAR Canadian Tire Series stock car which will be at OMVIC’s booth for the duration of the show.

NASCAR

To purchase tickets or to find out more information, visit www.autoshowottawa.com.



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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for Consumer Line, email us at

omvic@omvic.on.ca and let us know what you think!


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INDUSTRY NEWS

Enforcement Update

Brampton dealer fined for breaching OMVIC’s Code of Ethics

Kalsi Motor Wholesale Inc. and Angrez Singh and Anit Singh were found in breach of OMVIC’s Code of Ethics and fined $6,000 for failing to make mandatory written disclosures related to the past-use, history and condition of vehicles sold. In an agreed statement of facts, the Brampton dealer admitted they had failed to disclose, or fully disclose, in writing:

  • Accident damage repairs greater than $3,000;
  • Structural damage history; and
  • Previous out of province registration

Note: All Discipline Decisions are made public. To access these Discipline Decisions in full or to view previous decisions, visit OMVIC’s website.

In 2014 OMVIC issued 98 Notices of Complaint – the first step in the Discipline Process.

Non-disclosures, Altered Documents Lead to Licence Revocation

“A startling disregard for the Act under which he is regulated”: this was the characterization provided by Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) Vice–Chair Laurie Sanford in rendering her decision to revoke the registration of Balwinder K. Sharma, operating as World Wide Motors.

The hearing, commenced after OMVIC issued a Proposal to Revoke Registration, heard evidence alleging the dealer:

  • Failed to disclose material facts to consumers including previous use as daily rentals, previous collision repairs and previous stolen status;
  • Conducted business at unregistered locations; and
  • Failed to deposit sales proceeds into the dealership bank account.

OMVIC also alleged that after the dealer was served the Notice of Proposal to Revoke Registration, he produced retail bills of sale that purported to show that disclosures had been made to consumers; but that these documents were altered from the original in an attempt to mislead OMVIC and the Tribunal.

In reaching its decision, the Tribunal noted, “An inability to comply with the Act raises the prospect of potential customer harm…” and stated “Mr. Sharma’s past conduct gives reasonable grounds to believe that he will not carry on business as a motor vehicle dealer in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty…”

By the order of LAT, the registration of Balwinder K. Sharma was then revoked.



CONSUMER PROTECTION

Is your car purchase haunting you? Think you might have been slimed? Who ya gonna call?

Well probably not Doctors Venkman, Stantz and Spengler; though knowing where to find help may seem just as allusive as the spectres they busted.

Ghostbusrets Car

Truth be told, who you call depends entirely upon whom you bought your vehicle from. “If the consumer bought from a registered dealer and needs help, he or she should call OMVIC for assistance,” explains Terry O’Keefe, Director of Communications and Education for OMVIC. “If they bought privately, they’ll unfortunately need to call their lawyer”.

OMVIC’s mandate to protect consumers and foster a fair and open marketplace is accomplished, in part, through complaint conciliation. Any consumer who purchases or leases from a registered dealer in Ontario and encounters a problem can utilize OMVIC’s free complaint handling service.

In 2014 OMVIC Complaint Handlers negotiated the return of $875,700 to consumers; and that amount does not include the hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs or vehicle exchanges the Team negotiated. “While OMVIC doesn’t have the authority to compel a dealer to return money or take back a car (only the courts have such authority), OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team is very successful when it comes to finding amicable solutions to most problems.”

Despite the Team’s success, many consumers still don’t know who to turn to for help. According to a recent survey, 86 percent of Ontarians realize dealers have to be registered; but only about one third of them know OMVIC is that regulator. “Fewer still realize that if they buy privately they’re not protected by OMVIC, Ontario’s consumer protection laws or by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.”

“OMVIC takes its responsibility to protect consumers very seriously,” says O’Keefe, pointing to the results of charges and discipline cases posted on the OMVIC website. “And while we don’t tell consumers to buy from dealers or not to buy privately, we do want them to be better educated and to understand when they’re protected and when they’re not”. Because that can determine who ya gonna call about a ghostly car problem in need of busting.




Consumer LineHAVE YOU HEARD

A Tale of Two Keys -Toronto Repair Shop Charged with Curbsiding

OMVIC has charged 2141212 Ontario Corporation, operating as Monterey Auto Repair and Amilcar Luis Monte Rey Nunez, Anibal Salomon Monte Rey Rios, Sergio Ruben Monte Rey Nunez and Bianca Daniela Lopez with curbsiding (acting as a dealer without registration), contrary to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA).

The Toronto-area group was also charged under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) for allegedly committing unfair business practices: i.e. failing to disclose to purchasers that vehicles were previously accident-damaged, branded as “salvage” or written-off.

“The alleged conduct is egregious,” claims Terry O’Keefe, OMVIC Director of Communications. “One of the charges relates to the sale of a vehicle with undisclosed accident repairs of more than $13,000.”

OMVIC alleges that in one instance, a purchaser was provided two different keys for her vehicle: one to open the driver’s door and one to turn on the ignition. It was later discovered the vehicle had been in a collision and the driver’s door was taken from another car.

All parties are scheduled to appear in a Toronto Court on March 23, 2015.

About Curbsiding

The MVDA requires ALL vehicle dealers and salespeople to be registered with OMVIC.

Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers. Just as they commonly misrepresent themselves – often posing as private sellers – they also often misrepresent the vehicles they sell; many are accident-damaged, rebuilt write-offs or odometer-tampered.

While curbsiders commonly pose as private sellers, many sell from small automotive-related businesses like repair centres or body shops. If a consumer is unsure whether a business selling vehicles is actually registered, they should conduct a search on OMVIC’s website, or ask to see the seller’s OMVIC licence. If they are unable to produce one, walk away!

To learn more about curbsiders, visit OMVIC’s website.

To report a suspected curbsider, call 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or email .


OMVIC Contact

OMVIC administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. OMVIC maintains a fair and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario's 8,000 dealerships and 25,000 salespeople, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations and prosecutions of industry misconduct and illegal sales (curbsiding). OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of its Board of Trustees.