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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

She purchased a used car and a day later this happened

Jan 10

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, January 10, 2020  RssIcon

Mandatory Disclosures

OMVIC received this question from Cathy, a consumer, who purchased a used vehicle from an OMVIC-registered dealer.

"I bought a used car. Had the car for one day and noticed the coolant was low, only to find out the coolant was leaking into the motor. What right do I have as a consumer?" Cathy.

Hello Cathy,

Thank you for your query.

We took your question to Terry O’Keefe, OMVIC’s Director for Communications, Media Relations and Education, and asked him to weigh in. Here’s his response.

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requires dealers to make 22 disclosures with regards to a vehicle’s past use and history at the time of a sale. The dealer must disclose if any of the major components including the engine, requires repairs.

It appears your vehicle’s engine may indeed require repairs.

The question then is: did the dealer know? When did the issue start? Did the problem pre-exist the sale of the vehicle? Unfortunately, OMVIC doesn’t have the expertise to answer these questions. As a consumer you have several options available to you.

  1. Speak to the dealer and inquire if they’re willing to fix the problem. If the dealer refuses, then,
  2. You will need to take the vehicle to a mechanic and have him inspect it and provide you with a detailed written report.
  3. Take the mechanic’s report back to the dealer and let the dealer know he should have disclosed that the coolant was leaking into the engine. Had this been disclosed, you would not have bought the vehicle
  4. If the dealer still refuses, you should contact OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team (see contact details below).

 “At the end of the day, OMVIC cannot order the dealer to fix the vehicle even if the consumer makes a compelling case and has a report that says the leak pre-existed the sale of the vehicle,” O’Keefe says. “Only a court can order that. In these instances, OMVIC will try to negotiate a settlement between the consumer and the dealer, if we’re unsuccessful, the consumer may need to take legal action against the dealer in small claims court.”

O'Keefe's advice: Have the used vehicle you intend to buy inspected by a mechanic before you hand over the money or sign a contract. If the dealer refuses to let you do so, you may want to walk away. Also, remember, as a consumer, you’re only protected if you buy a vehicle from an OMVIC-registered dealer.

For more information on your rights as a car-buying consumer, visit here. You can also reach OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team at 1-800-943-6002 x 3942 (Mon – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or email us at: consumers@omvic.on.ca.

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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