Protect yourself. Read these important car-buying tips before you sign!
Friday, November 6, 2015
Many consumers in Ontario don’t know where to turn when something goes wrong with a vehicle purchase; they mistakenly believe that car dealerships are akin to the Wild Wild West where lawlessness was commonplace and bandits plentiful. But the truth of the matter is quite the opposite. Car dealers and salespersons must be licensed and abide by the rules and regulations of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA), the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and a strict Code of Ethics; and the “sheriff” administering and enforcing the laws is OMVIC – Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator.
One of the key pillars of protection offered to consumers who purchase from a registered dealer is the mandatory disclosure requirement. Ontario’s MVDA states that OMVIC-Registered Dealers must disclose in writing a vehicle’s past use, history and condition. For example, dealers must disclose incident or collision damage repairs over $3,000. This helps ensure you know what you’re buying before signing a contract and driving the car off the lot. This is just one example of the 22 mandatory disclosures dealers in Ontario are required to make.
When applicable, dealers are required to include written disclosure statements on the purchase contract. There are 22 mandatory disclosures that include:
To learn more about all 22 required disclosures, click here.
So when consumers purchase or lease from a registered dealer they are protected by provincial consumer protection legislation enforced by OMVIC. They are entitled to full disclosure of a vehicle’s past-use and condition, all-in price advertising, rescission rights and access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. Those who choose to buy privately, however, may actually enter a marketplace much like that of Dodge City, where larcenous crime was the norm and lawmen scarce, because consumers who buy privately have no protection. In Ontario, no consumer law covers private transactions and OMVIC cannot assist with problems in a private deal. Further, consumers who buy privately may become the unwitting victim of a curbsider – an illegal, unlicensed car dealer of the same ilk as the Old West’s Low “The Fixer” Blonger and Soapy Smith. So reign in those tired stereotypes of car dealers, know your rights in a regulated marketplace and understand how and when those protections apply.
An educated and informed consumer is a protected consumer. Visit OMVIC’s website to learn more about your car-buying rights and when they apply, as well as additional tips on buying a car in Ontario.
As the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, OMVIC protects consumers and maintains a fair and informed marketplace by:
Looking to buy a new or used car in Ontario? Understand all-in pricing and learn how consumers are protected by the Compensation Fund which is your right if something goes wrong.
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Toronto ON M4H 1P1