Q&A with OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
“I have a few questions about my vehicle purchase agreement.”
“If I purchased a non-motorized travel trailer at an OMVIC-Registered Dealer, can I still file a complaint?”
“Does the dealer need to provide a vehicle history report when selling a used vehicle?”
OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries team fields questions and complaints such as these regularly. Helmed by Tim Hines, this department receives and responds to hundreds of phone calls and emails per week.
Despite this high number, many Ontarians don’t know that OMVIC is a resource available to them when buying a car from a registered dealer.
Part of OMVIC’s mandate is to protect consumers in Ontario so any consumer with a car-buying complaint or inquiry can contact OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Department.
We asked Tim Hines,
Director of Complaints & Inquiries to explain more about OMVIC’s complaint handling process.
Before filing a complaint with OMVIC, what should a consumer do?
“In many instances, consumers may be able to find a solution just by talking to the right person at the dealership—the Dealer Principal (owner), General Manager or Sales Manager. Often, once they contact the dealership and find the most appropriate person to speak to, they realize that the dealership is willing to work with them.
For example, if the issue is with vehicle condition, we would suggest taking the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to get the vehicle looked at before contacting us."
How can OMVIC help before a car purchase?
"Our team can help guide consumers and offer them some helpful tips. If a consumer has problems after purchasing a car, we can provide him or her with advice to help resolve the issue. Our team is very successful when it comes to finding amicable solutions to most problems. If the situation is bad and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get resolved, we have a department here that can act as a checkpoint before a consumer goes off to court to try and negotiate a solution. We are bound by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, so the legislation does not give us the ability to replace the civil court system. We can’t force anybody to do anything, but we understand the rules and requirements registrants are responsible for, so we can make compelling arguments that can help consumers resolve the issue.”
What are the most common complaints?
"The most common complaints are usually about a vehicle’s condition after the purchase. The less time that has passed after the purchase, the easier it is for consumers to get assistance. The more time that has passed, the harder it is to make the argument that this issue is the dealer’s problem and not the consumer’s. The second most significant issue is contract cancellation or what we refer to as liquidated damages complaints. This occurs when a consumer purchases a car and then decides that this is not the right time and wants to back out of the contract.The problem is the consumer already signed the agreement and committed to the purchase.We cannot emphasize enough that when consumers sign anything, they must understand that they are committing themselves to the purchase of the vehicle."
To learn more about the complaints process and consumer rights, please visit OMVIC’s Complaints Process webpage. Consumers can contact OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1-800-943-6002 x3942
An educated and informed consumer is a protected consumer. Visit omvic.ca to learn more about your car-buying rights and when they apply, as well as additional tips for buying a car in Ontario. For more car buying tips, check out the OMVIC Academy for more resources, including multilingual videos and the downloadable OMVIC Academy Car-Buying Guide.
Connect with OMVIC on social media!
Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council
Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council
OMVIC Copyright ©2019