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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

New Year, New You... New Car

Jan 5

Friday, January 5, 2018  RssIcon

 New car New You


2018 Car-Buying Resolutions

Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Spend more time with family. Spend less time with family. Get organized. Be kinder to yourself. Be more determined. Ah yes, New Year’s resolutions. Surveys suggest 30 to 40 percent of us make them – a desire for self-improvement…an inspiration. Unfortunately, those same surveys demonstrate the vast majority of those who make one, fail to see it through.

But what if one simple resolution could potentially save you money, lessen anxiety, expand your knowledge and help protect you? Is that one you’d keep? Well, if a vehicle purchase is on the horizon in 2018, educating yourself and learning your car-buying “rights” is a resolution you should make – and it will probably only take about an hour to keep.

OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator, has long promoted that knowledge is power and that an educated consumer is a protected consumer. And yet many car buyers, even those who have bought dozens of vehicles throughout their lives, are woefully miss or uninformed. For example: “Only 15 per cent of Ontarians know that there is no cooling-off period when buying a car,” explained John Carmichael, OMVIC’s CEO. “Which is why contract cancellation disputes are common complaints OMVIC is asked to mediate.”

But while there may not be a mandated cooling-off period, Ontario’s consumer protection laws DO mandate other very significant car-buying “rights” that any car-shopper should resolve to know. 

A Car-Buyer's Bill of Rights


Ontarians have the RIGHT to All-in Price Advertising

If an OMVIC-Registered Dealer advertises a price for a vehicle (new or used), the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requires that price include ALL fees and charges the dealer intends to collect, except HST and licensing. Licensing refers to the actual cost of vehicle registration and plates.

Ontarians have the RIGHT to Full Disclosure of Vehicle History and Condition

Salespeople and dealers are required by law to provide 22 specific disclosures related to a vehicle’s past use, history and condition of the vehicle.

These include:

  1. collision or incident damage greater than $3,000
  2. if the vehicle requires repairs to major components (engine, transmission etc.)
  3. if the vehicle is a former daily rental that has not been subsequently owned by someone other than a dealer

Additionally, dealers must disclose any material facts related to a vehicle – facts that might affect a “reasonable consumers” decision to buy the vehicle.

Ontarians have the RIGHT to Recission  (for specified non-disclosures)

While there is no "cooling-off" period after you have signed a contract, there are certain conditions that can trigger a consumer's right to rescission – cancellation of a contract with a dealer.

General Regulation 50of the MVDA allows a customer to cancel a contract within 90 days of delivery of a vehicle if the dealer and contract fails to properly disclose:

  1. The previous use of a vehicle as a taxi or limo
  2. The previous use of a vehicle as a police or emergency service vehicle
  3. The previous use of a vehicle as a daily rental (unless the vehicle has subsequently been owned by someone other than a dealer).
  4. The make, model, and model year of the vehicle
  5. That a vehicle has been branded (irreparable, salvage or rebuilt).
  6. The actual distance the vehicle has travelled. If that cannot be determined, a dealer must make the appropriate disclosure statement.

Ontarians have the RIGHT to access the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund

In the rare instance that something does go wrong with a motor vehicle purchase or lease from a Registered Dealer, consumers have access to OMVIC’s Compensation Fund. Consumers who are eligible for compensation may qualify for up to $45,000 per transaction.

These are your rights. Know them. Demand them. Don’t agree to fees that are added to an advertised price (unless they’re for options you have agreed to purchase). Have all promises, disclosures and representations written on the bill of sale.

Finally, know when these rights apply…and when they don’t. The MVDA and OMVIC provide invaluable protection to Ontario car-buyers, but only when purchasing from a Registered Dealer. If you purchase privately and something goes wrong, you are on your own: there are no mandated disclosure laws for private sellers, OMVIC cannot provide mediation in private disputes and private purchasers cannot make a claim to OMVIC’s Compensation Fund. There is little recourse for private purchasers other than to the courts.

So if a new vehicle is on the horizon in 2018, keep that resolution. Be a smarter consumer. Protect yourself. Know Your Rights!

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