Toronto ON, April 14, 2014 – Six GTA dealers and five individuals have been charged by the industry regulator, OMVIC, concurrent to a recent CTV-W5/Automobile Protection Association (APA) investigation. The APA/W5 report highlighted two troubling issues in the automotive marketplace: the dangers posed by curbsiders (illegal, unlicensed dealers); and an apparent lack of compliance by some registered dealers with Ontario’s advertising and disclosure regulations.

“Each year we welcome the APA/W5 report” states OMVIC Director of Communications, Terry O’Keefe. “A light shone on the deceptive practices of curbsiders and questionable representations of some registered dealers, is a good disinfectant; and just as importantly, it helps educate consumers. Combined with OMVIC’s rigorous enforcement efforts, better informed consumers are key to stemming these problems”.

OMVIC conducted its own undercover investigations of the dealers featured in the APA/W5 report; as a result, the following six dealers and five individuals face charges for alleged breaches of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) or Consumer Protection Act (CPA):

  1. Addison Chevrolet Buick GMC Limited and Ahmad MEREI – jointly charged - 1 count S. 36 (MVDA Regs) – re:advertising – extra fee
  2. Dean Myers Chevrolet Limited – 1 count S. 36 (MVDA Regs) – re:advertising – extra fee
  3. Auto Select Ltd. – 1 count S. 36 (MVDA Regs) – re:advertising – re:non-disclosure of daily rental
  4. 1298767 Ontario Limited o/a S&S Auto Clinic and Mohammad POPALZAI – jointly charged - 1 count S. 14 – Consumer Protection Act - re:making false, misleading or deceptive representation
  5. Toronto Used Cars Limited and Wasay SUKHERA and Rafay SUKHERA – jointly charged - 1 count S. 14 – Consumer Protection Act - re:making false, misleading or deceptive representation
  6. 1839204 Ontario Inc. o/a Auto Link Motors and Ianko SARATCHINOV – jointly charged - 1 count S. 28 (MVDA Regs)– re:selling off premises

Further charges and/or administrative actions are possible against other dealers, salespeople and curbsiders featured in the report.


Curbsiders

The APA/W5 report clearly demonstrated the dangerous practices of curbsiders. Curbsiders are illegal, unregistered dealers who often pose as private sellers and commonly sell vehicles that are:

  • Accident-damaged
  • Previous write-offs
  • Odometer-tampered.

APA/W5 visited five supposed “private sellers”, all of whom appeared to be curbsiders; each allegedly misrepresented themselves and the vehicles they offered for sale. According to the report, all vehicles for sale by curbsiders were previous write-offs or had been involved in significant collisions. These facts were not disclosed (or not disclosed fully) to the APA’s undercover shoppers. Further, many of the repairs were of dubious quality and the roadworthiness of the vehicles was questionable.

OMVIC warns car buyers that curbsiders are prevalent in private classifieds and online marketplaces; they also commonly sell from auto repair facilities. Consumers who purchase from curbsiders are deemed to have conducted private transactions and are therefore not protected by OMVIC, Ontario’s consumer protection laws, or the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. Those protections are only available to consumers who buy from OMVIC-Registered Dealers.


How to Spot a Curbsider

Curbsiders often use one or more of the following ploys to dupe car buyers:

  • No evident address – only want to meet in public
  • Vehicle usually priced below market value
  • No vehicle history report (CarProof, CARFAX)
  • Vehicle often unplated and/or uninsured; therefore thorough test-drive is not possible
  • Refusal of vehicle inspection by purchaser’s mechanic
  • Seller’s name doesn’t match ownership (ask to see seller’s driver’s licence and compare)
  • Refusal to provide comprehensive receipt or proof of purchase

Curbsider Convictions

For nearly two decades OMVIC has warned consumers about the very real dangers posed by these unscrupulous sellers and has dedicated significant resources to investigating and prosecuting them. According to O’Keefe, “In the past two and a half years alone OMVIC has prosecuted and convicted more than 130 individuals and businesses for curbsiding; another 49 are currently before the courts”. Follow this link for a list of recent convictions.


Report Curbsiders

To report curbsiding activities to OMVIC call 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or email nocurbs@omvic.on.ca


Dealer All-In Price Advertising

OMVIC, Ontario’s regulator of motor vehicle sales, wants consumers to know all-in pricing is the law. If an OMVIC-Registered Dealer advertises a price for a vehicle, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requires that the price include ALL fees and charges the dealer intends to collect. Examples include:

  • Freight
  • PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
  • Administration (Admin) fee(s)
  • Government levies (air tax, etc.)
  • OMVIC fee ($5)
  • Safety and e-test (unless the ad contains the mandatory “Unfit Vehicle” statement)
  • Note: HST and licensing do not have to be included in the price if the advertisement clearly and prominently indicates they are not included.

Further, if a dealer intends to charge for products or services they have pre-installed on a vehicle, those costs MUST also be included in the advertised price. Examples include:

  • Nitrogen/tire protection package
  • Warranties
  • Security or theft deterrent products/services (etching, etc.)
  • Fuel.

What is an Advertisement?

Any inducement to buy or lease is an advertisement. This would include, but is not limited to ads:

  • In print (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
  • On the Internet (dealer site, online marketplace, etc.)
  • On social media
  • On radio or TV
  • On signs (including those in or on a vehicle itself).

What Should a Consumer do if a Dealer Tries to Add Charges in Excess of the Advertised Price?

“Don’t buy from that dealer. Walk away!” exclaims O’Keefe. “If a dealer tries to charge in excess of the advertised price, that dealer doesn’t deserve your business; you should simply shop elsewhere and report the dealer to OMVIC”.


Consumer Protection

“OMVIC takes its role as regulator very seriously” says O’Keefe. “We have 15 Investigators and 13 Inspectors province-wide. We have two full-time Prosecutors and five Lawyers who prosecute Provincial Offences Act charges or who conduct Discipline Hearings (for breaches of the Code of Ethics) and Licence Appeal Tribunal Hearings (LAT - for proposals to revoke a dealer or salesperson’s licence)”. OMVIC also employs a team of complaint handlers to assist consumers who may have a dispute with an OMVIC-Registered Dealer. Last year this team negotiated the return of over 1.1 million dollars to consumers. “This is why the APA/W5 report is so important. It makes it clear that OMVIC’s role as industry regulator is of vital importance and that prosecutions, discipline proceedings and LAT hearings help protect Ontario consumers”.


Educated Consumers

While OMVIC’s role is to provide consumer protection and enforce the law, it’s just as vital that consumers educate themselves and learn their rights. In those infrequent instances that a dealer does not live up to the standards demanded of them, an educated consumer is the best line of defence. To learn more about vehicle-buying rights in Ontario, consumers are encouraged to visit omvic.on.ca.

Important note: OMVIC does not regulate vehicle manufacturers; therefore advertisements placed by manufacturers do not have to comply with the MVDA and all-in pricing is not required in manufacturer ads. That said, some manufacturers voluntarily comply with the all-in pricing provision and commendably provide transparency to consumers.

 

About OMVIC

The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of 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. OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of its Board of Trustees.

 

About Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund:

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund is fully funded by Ontario's registered motor vehicle dealers and provides compensation to consumers who have a valid claim against an Ontario-registered dealer. Qualifying consumers may be eligible to receive up to $45,000 for each valid claim to the Compensation Fund. Since its inception on July 1, 1986, the Compensation Fund has paid out over $5 million to consumers. In 2011, the Compensation Fund celebrated 25 years of providing advanced consumer protection to Ontarians.

 

For More Information Contact:

Terry O’Keefe
Director of Communications and Education
416-226-4500x3525
Email:
Web: www.omvic.on.ca
          www.buywithconfidence.ca

 

Sarah Choudhury
Communications Officer
416-226-4500x3172
Email:
Web: www.omvic.on.ca
          www.buywithconfidence.ca

 

Amy Paterson
Communications Assistant
416-226-4500x3335
Email:
Web: www.omvic.on.ca
          www.buywithconfidence.ca