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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Buying a Car in Ontario? Don't Fall Victim to an Unfair Business Practice

Sep 5

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Thursday, September 5, 2019  RssIcon

ethics

Did you know that protections granted to consumers under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) cannot be nullified in a contract? Ontario’s CPA is THE LAW. 

The CPA applies to most Ontario businesses including car dealerships. Under the CPA there are two types of unfair business practices: false, misleading or deceptive representations; and unconscionable representations. Consumers who face an unfair business practice may be entitled to cancellation of their contract for up to one year from the date of contract signing. 

 

Two Types of Unfair Business Practices

False, Misleading or Deceptive Practices:

  • Failing to disclose a “material fact” (for example, not informing a consumer of structural damage to the vehicle)
  • Deceiving a consumer by distorting a “material fact” (using exaggeration, hints or double meanings)
  • Misleading the consumer on the car’s performance
  • Maintaining the vehicle is under manufacturer’s warranty, when it’s not
  • Saying the car is of a particular model, style, quality or grade if it is not.
  • Telling the consumer that the vehicle or part of the vehicle is new (or unused) if it is not.
  • Seriously understating the distance the vehicle has been driven or the amount of use it has had.
  • Selling a repair, replacement, service or part which is not needed.
  • Stating there’s a specific price advantage to the deal (e.g. price will go up Monday)
  • Dealer/salesperson misrepresenting the scope of their authority (to negotiate terms of agreement)
  • The dealer or salesperson misrepresents the purpose of an additional charge.
  • Any consumer can fall victim to an unfair business practice. However there are those who are more vulnerable, and can fall victim to an unconscionable deal. 

     

    Unconscionable Representations: 

  • When a consumer is unable to protect their interest due to disability, illiteracy, impairment, etc.
  • The price grossly exceeds the price that should be charged.
  • The dealer or salesperson put too much pressure on the consumer.
  • The consumer has no possibility of meeting the payments.
  • The deal is not in favour of the consumer, but is a great deal for the dealer.
  • Offering misleading opinion (s) to the consumer’s detriment.
  • The Consumer Protection Act is very clear – unfair business practices are not allowed. It sets serious penalties for breaches and gives consumers recourse if they have been misled. To learn more, click here. 

    About OMVIC

    As the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, OMVIC’s mandate is to maintain a fair and informed marketplace by protecting the rights of consumers, enhancing industry professionalism and ensuring fair, honest and open competition for registered motor vehicle dealers. Visit omvic.ca to learn more about your car-buying rights as well as additional tips for buying a car in Ontario. For car buying tips, check out the OMVIC Academy. You can view other resources such as multilingual videos and download the OMVIC Car-buying Guide.

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