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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Car problems? Where do you get help?

Aug 28

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, August 28, 2020  RssIcon

car trouble

Thanks to technology, driver assistance has grown by leaps and bounds. It keeps us safe, helps us park, saves fuel and even lowers emissions. But what happens when smart technology backfires? Who do you call? Who can help?


The following question from a consumer illustrates what can go wrong when a car has a defect the dealership can’t fix and the consumer doesn’t know where to turn.


The Issue

Raven says: "I bought a new car last fall and it has a problem that has me worried. My car is equipped with a Stop-Start feature and shuts the engine off to save gas when the car stops. A few weeks ago, I was waiting to make a left turn at an intersection. As expected, the engine shut off. However, when I accelerated to make the turn, the car barely moved.

There was oncoming traffic and if I had decided to turn, I surely would have been hit.

I took the car to the dealer and was told this was a known problem with the vehicle. The manufacturer is working on a fix, but it hasn’t been resolved yet. So in the meantime, the dealer suggested I  disengage the Stop-Start system every time I start the car.  I have forgotten to turn it off a few times and quite frankly, it's scary.

I have read about other people seeking legal help for this issue. What do you recommend I do?"


First Step

OMVIC says: Because this issue may be related to a safety defect, Raven should notify Transport Canada
Their website has details on vehicle recalls, safety alerts and options to report suspected safety defects.


Next Steps

Raven should explain her concerns to the car manufacturer and present her desired solution. 

If the manufacturer can’t help, she can contact CAMVAP—The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan.

It helps consumers resolve disputes about a manufacturer's alleged defect.  CAMVAP works with many vehicle manufacturers, but not all participate. A quick look on their website can establish whether her car manufacturer is a CAMVAP member. If the car manufacturer participates (and most do), she can request an arbitration hearing. Depending on the outcome an arbitrator can order a manufacturer to conduct repairs and in some instances can order the manufacturer to buy the vehicle back.




An Ounce of Prevention

Before you buy a vehicle, check to see whether the model has been recalled or has any safety issues. Ask the seller to demonstrate driver assist and/or safety features. A thorough test drive, whether it’s virtual or in person, can reveal glitches. Pay attention and do your research. Even though car technology is becoming more intuitive and sophisticated, remember you are in the driver’s seat.



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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