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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Buying a Car from a Dealer? Here's What you Need to Know.

Dec 11

Friday, December 11, 2020  RssIcon

Last week we discussed how to buy a car privately. This week we explain what you should know if you decide to buy from an OMVIC-Registered dealer.

Who are OMVIC-Registered dealers?

If someone wants to be a dealer or a salesperson in Ontario, they must register with OMVIC. It is the law.

To be eligible for OMVIC registration, dealers and salespeople must undergo background checks. They must pass an automotive law and ethics course covering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and the Consumer Protection Act. Georgian College offers courses to help prospective dealers get their license.

Does that mean every Ontario business trading in vehicles is registered with OMVIC?

No. It pays to check.

How can I check if a dealer is OMVIC registered?

If you meet the dealer in-person, ask to see their OMVIC Registration certificate. Check the name and registration date to ensure it has not expired.

You can also verify a dealer or salesperson’s registration through OMVIC’s Find a Dealer/Salesperson search engine tool. Additionally, you can see if OMVIC ever charged the dealership or salesperson with violating the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act or the Consumer Protection Act

Here is a short video showing you how to check on the website.

Finally, you can always call OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team at 1-800-943-6002 and ask them to verify the business or dealer for you.

Why buy from an OMVIC-Registered dealer?

Buying from an OMVIC-Registered dealer is the safer way to buy a vehicle in Ontario. Consumers buying from registered dealers can access these four main protections:

  1. The right to all-in price advertising. If a dealer advertises a vehicle price, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act states the price must include all fees the dealer will collectexcept HST and Licensing. To learn more, visit OMVIC’s All-in price advertising help page.
  2. Full disclosure of a vehicle’s history and condition. A dealer must write - clearly and comprehensibly - information about a vehicle’s past use, history, and condition on a contract. Dealers must include:
    • If the vehicle sustained any fire damage
    • If the vehicle was a police cruiser or emergency service vehicle
    • If the dealer had any flood damage that penetrated the interior floorboards

    To learn more, read OMVIC’s disclosure requirements list for vehicle histories and conditions

  3. You may be eligible for contract cancellation if a dealer fails to write any of the six required disclosures, including:
    • Previous use of the vehicle as a taxi or limousine
    • Previous use as a police or emergency service vehicle
    • The actual distance a car has travelled
    • To read the full list of specified non-disclosures that can cancel a contract, visit: OMVIC’s Rescission (for specified non-disclosures) page.

  4. The right to apply to the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Compensation Fund.  If something goes wrong with your transaction, you can submit a claim to the Compensation Fund. If you are eligible, you may qualify for up to $45,000 per vehicle transaction.
  5. To learn more about how the Fund works, visit: Access to the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Compensation Fund

How can I ensure a positive car-buying experience?

Even though buying from an OMVIC-Registered dealer is the safer way to buy, take steps to ensure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. 


  • do your research
  • ask questions
  • ensure that the dealer is listening to you
  • take a thorough test drive
  • understand how to read a contract
  • ensure you are 100% certain before you sign the contract

If you buy used, get a CarFax report. Ask to take the vehicle to a mechanic you trust and get it inspected.

Visit OMVIC’s tips for buying from an OMVIC-Registered Dealerfor more advice on ensuring a smooth transaction,

How can I stay informed?

OMVIC has many resources for you! About OMVIC-Registered Dealers is a great place to start. Be sure to check out thisshort videoabout buying from a registered dealer from the OMVIC Academy.


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 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

Connect with OMVIC on social media!


facebook    Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council


instagram   @omvic_official

LinkedIn   Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council



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