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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Back to School Car-Buying Tips

Jul 22

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, July 22, 2016  RssIcon


Sending a “child” off to university or college can be traumatic – for the parents of course; the kid will be just fine. So to make it easier to keep ‘em coming home for more than just Thanksgiving and spring break, some parents will head out with their teens on an elusive hunt for a decent, but cheap, set of wheels. It’s worth noting decent and cheap can be difficult to find in peaceful coexistence in the automotive jungle.

“Many consumers looking for an inexpensive vehicle assume their best bet is to buy privately,” explained Terry O’Keefe, Director of Communications and Education for OMVIC – Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator. “Unfortunately that assumption isn’t always accurate and can lead to serious problems.” That’s because car buyers who purchase privately forego nearly all consumer protections provided by Ontario law. Should something go wrong with a private car purchase, consumers are basically on their own with little recourse other than the court system.

One mistake car buyers often make is assuming that because a vehicle has passed a safety inspection, it has no defects – that is not always the case. “The issuance of a safety certificate indicates items such as brakes, tires, steering components, lights, wipers and the exhaust have met the minimum standards of safety (set by the Ministry of Transportation) on the date of inspection,” says O’Keefe. “But it is not a guarantee that nothing is wrong with the vehicle.” Vehicles that pass a safety inspection could still have issues unrelated to safety items (e.g. engine/transmission/air conditioning) that require expensive repairs.

Wading into the private vehicle sales marketplace also exposes consumers to curbsiders. Commonly posing as private sellers (though some work from small automotive-related businesses) these illegal, unlicensed car dealers often sell vehicles that are rebuilt wrecks with undisclosed accident repairs or rolled-back odometers. According to O’Keefe, they’re the chameleons of the auto marketplace. “Curbsiders prey on unsuspecting consumers. Often the vehicles they sell aren’t registered in their names (or have only been registered to them for a short time); some even use phony ID.” If a consumer buys from a curbsider and later discovers issues with the vehicle, that seller will be nearly impossible to track down.

So, if you’re considering purchasing a vehicle privately consider the following car-buying tips and remember; you’re only protected when you buy from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer.

 

Tips for Buying a Car Privately, in Ontario

  • Ask questions: how long was the vehicle owned? Are there maintenance records? Why are they selling?
  • Confirm the seller’s identity: check ID and proof of ownership
  • Take a thorough test drive – not just around the block
  • Do research: order a vehicle history report before deciding
  • Carefully review the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) – seller must provide it (ensure all pages are provided)
  • Ensure there are no liens on the vehicle, check with the warranty and financial institution (information also available on UVIP)
  • Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before purchase
  • Avoid cash purchases: issue cheque to registered owner
  • Don’t avoid taxes, request receipt that includes the seller’s information

If you choose to buy privately, educate yourself and don’t fall victim to a curbsider. Click here to learn the telltale signs of curbsiders.

For more information visit omvic.ca

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