A Picture may be Worth a Thousand Words, but it Can Also Save You Thousands When Buying a Car
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Car-buyers have the right to expect Ontario dealers to include all fees and charges the dealer intends to collect, with the exception of HST and licensing (and safety standards certificate if the vehicle is advertised unfit/as-is) in any advertised price. It’s been the law since 2010.
Unfortunately though, research conducted by OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator, has uncovered two significant problems: less than half of Ontario car-buyers know they have a right to all-in pricing; and, many are being overcharged because some dealers continue to add fees on top of their advertised prices.
In fact, 29 of 50 GTA new car dealers tried to charge more than their advertised prices (some in the thousands of dollars) when visited by OMVIC mystery shoppers in 2017. This illegal practice is not only unfair to car-buyers, it gives non-compliant dealers an unfair advantage over those dealers whose advertised prices include all fees and charges, stated OMVIC CEO and Registrar, John Carmichael. “And this is why OMVIC has launched a province-wide consumer awareness campaign.”
Take a Picture!
We take pictures all the live long day—
a poetic interpretation of today’s image-capturing crazed society. Whether it’s of a crimson and gold dappled sunrise; a blazing birthday cake; or just a grocery list on a fridge, we snap, click and screen shot like never before. OMVIC’s province-wide TV, radio and online consumer awareness campaign harnesses this behaviour, asking each car shopper to take a picture of their dealers’ advertisement and bring it with them to the dealer. “We’re trying to empower vehicle buyers,” explained Carmichael. “If they have a copy of the advertisement and understand all-in pricing, it will help consumers protect themselves should they encounter a dealer trying to add extra fees.” It is important to note that dealer fees (like freight or administration fees) are not illegal—they just have to be included in the dealer’s advertised price.
Understanding All-in Price Advertising
When an Ontario Dealer advertises a price for a vehicle (new or used), that price must include ALL fees and charges. The only additional fees a dealer can charge are HST and licensing. Note: licensing refers to the actual cost of vehicle registration and plates (it cannot include extra fees added by the dealer).
An advertisement is any inducement to buy or lease a vehicle and includes, 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)
Examples of fees or charges that must be included in an advertised price include:
PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
Administration (Admin) fee(s)
Government levies (air tax, etc.)
Safety and e-test (unless the ad contains a mandated "Unfit Vehicle" or "As-Is Vehicle" statement)
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. This includes, but is not limited to:
Nitrogen/tire protection package/locking wheel nuts
Security or theft deterrent products/services (etching, etc.)
Note: All fees must be itemized individually on the contract
Vehicle Manufacturer Advertising
OMVIC does not regulate vehicle manufacturers; therefore advertisements placed by manufacturers do not have to comply with the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act
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.
So if you’re in the market for a car, take a picture! And bring it with you to your dealer. Because the combination of a simple jpeg and knowing your rights will help make your next vehicle purchase a happy one.
Learn more at omvic.ca.
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Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council
Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council
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