Consumer Line

April 2015

OMVIC Message


In This Issue

  • Pre-purchase Inspections – Not Just For Houses

  • Vehicle Delivery Tips

  • Free Educational Seminars for Car Buyers

  • 2015 Georgian College Auto Show

Auto Talk

2015 Georgian College Auto Show

the $2 coupon for a discounted admission into the show

It’s that time of year again! The Automotive Business School of Canada (ABSC) at Georgian College will be hosting its 30th annual auto show! Taking place June 5-7 at the Georgian College Barrie campus this event is North America’s largest outdoor auto show.

One hundred percent student-run, the show features vehicles from nearly all major manufacturers and includes additional attractions like the Pfaff Porsche test track, Batman and the Batmobile, electric vehicle experience and much more! If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the Georgian College Auto Show is surely an event you won’t want to miss!

Don’t forget to stop by OMVIC’s booth and speak with our helpful staff about OMVIC or your car-buying rights!

Print off the $2 coupon for a discounted admission into the show!

The $2 coupon for a discounted admission into the show

For more information, visit

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Pre-Purchase Inspections – Not Just For Houses

If a car is being sold with a safety certificate (certified), should you still have it inspected by a mechanic before buying?

Yes, at least according to Alan Gelman, co-host of Dave’s Corner Garage on AM740. “Too many consumers think a Safety Certificate is a guarantee that there’s nothing wrong with the car. It isn’t!” In fact, a safety certification only means the vehicle met certain basic standards of safety on the date of inspection. According to Gelman, many of these standards haven’t been updated in decades and don’t include the inspection of important safety systems. “Airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes – these are features that people rely upon and take for granted – but they’re not included in a safety inspection.”

A pre-purchase inspection may help spot other problems too: oil or transmission leaks, structural corrosion, undisclosed accident repairs. “We had one lady bring us a Nissan Pathfinder she was considering purchasing. It looked great from a distance but the fresh paint was a give-away – it was a zipper car.” “Zipper cars” are created by welding together the front and back ends of two different salvage vehicles. “She was very fortunate she got a pre-purchase inspection and could walk away from the deal.”

“Bulbectomy’s” are another concern most consumers wouldn’t even know to look for. ”We’ve had vehicles come in for inspection that were missing airbags or had engine problems – but the warning lights weren’t illuminated in the dash. Why? The bulbs had been removed – a bulbectomy.” Gelman believes the bulbs were removed to hide serious problems from the purchaser. A pre-purchase inspection should include ensuring all warning lights are in working order.

But not all pre-purchase inspections end with dramatic findings; in many cases they simply uncover needed repairs due to normal wear and tear. “Often the seller doesn’t even know about the problem.” This gives the potential buyer and seller an opportunity to address any issues – sometimes resulting in a price change or the seller conducting the repairs as part of the purchase agreement.

Pre-Purchase Inspections – Not Just For Houses

Depending on the vehicle, pre-purchase inspections usually take about an hour, are available from many general repair facilities or specialized inspection companies and cost approximately $100. According to Gelman, a proper pre-purchase inspection must include a road test to check the function of the transmission, suspension and steering.

Clearly, a pre-purchase inspection is vital for anyone purchasing a vehicle privately as private purchasers are not protected by Ontario’s consumer protection laws or OMVIC, and have little recourse (other than the courts) should something go wrong. However Gelman suggests consumers buying from a registered dealer also consider a pre-purchase inspection, particularly if the vehicle is out of warranty. “This is a way to spot accident repairs that don’t show up on a history report.”

According to Terry O’Keefe, Director of Communications and Education for OMVIC, a thorough pre-purchase inspection is a critical step on the road to buying a car. “Just because a vehicle passes a safety inspection doesn’t mean it won’t require hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs within weeks or months of the purchase.” A smart consumer will want to guard against those potential costs, or at least be aware of them, before turning over their hard earned cash.


Vehicle Delivery Tips

Bought a new car? Can’t wait to take delivery? When the big time comes, don’t let excitement take over completely – there are still important steps to be taken to ensure your purchase goes smoothly.

For example, in some instances a new version of the contract is presented when you pick up the vehicle. If this is the case, make sure the terms and prices are the same as the initial agreement! And here are some additional tips to keep in mind when taking delivery of your vehicle:

  • Don’t be rushed; ensure you have all of your questions/concerns addressed to your satisfaction.
  • Sometimes when purchasing a vehicle, a consumer will sign a credit application; and then sign the loan agreement at the time of delivery. Ensure the loan agreement has the same terms/interest rate as agreed upon and no additional fees have been added.
  • Take a thorough walk-around with the salesperson to inspect for any scratches/damages. This should be done in daylight or in a well-lit area.
  • If you previously had an agreement that repairs would be conducted or options added, ensure they are completed before handing over money or signing-off on the final contract.
  • Have the salesperson explain how to operate all systems and features of the vehicle.
  • Have the maintenance and warranty requirements explained to you.
  • Ensure you obtain all keys of the vehicle.
  • Ensure you get copies of ALL paperwork, including safety/e-test.
  • If the vehicle is pre-owned, ensure there is a spare tire and jack.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with locking lug nuts on the wheels, ensure you get the key.


Free Educational Seminars for Car Buyers

Free Educational Seminars for Car Buyers

As part of our mandate to protect and educate Ontario consumers, OMVIC offers Car-Buying Seminars throughout the province. These free information sessions are offered to community groups, newcomer centres and schools!

Topics covered include:

  • OMVIC’s role as industry regulator
  • Laws that protect consumers and when they apply
  • What dealers must disclose about the history and condition of the vehicles they sell
  • What you can expect from a dealer’s advertisement
  • Differences between buying from a dealer and buying privately
  • Curbsiders: the dangers they pose and how to avoid them
  • The protection offered by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund

If you’re interested in having OMVIC present this seminar within your organization or community, or for more information, contact us at or by telephone at 1-800-943-6002 ext. 3172.

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.