Only motor vehicle dealers registered with the OMVIC provide access to consumer protection legislation

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You’re on your own: buying a vehicle from a dealership will leave you isolated in case something goes wrong

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When shopping for their next used car or truck, many find offers from private sellers hard to ignore, especially when the price is lower than an equivalent model from a local dealership. Unfortunately, not all private sellers are who they say they are.

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If you are looking at a vehicle from a private seller who has multiple vehicles for sale, or if a vehicle has only been registered with the seller for a short time, alarm bells should start ringing. Chances are you are dealing with a “curbsider”.

Street vendors are people who buy and sell vehicles, but do not have a professional license to do so. In Ontario, dealers must go through a strict vetting process and complete an automotive law and ethics course to obtain a license. According to OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator, up to 25% of private sales are conducted by drive-thru salespeople. As supply chain shortages continue to affect the automotive industry and the value of used cars rises accordingly, the practice is on the rise.

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PHOTO GETTY IMAGES

In OMVIC’s experience, since dealerships are already operating illegally, there is a greater risk that they will also subject vehicle buyers to other illegal practices, such as odometer rollbacks, the sale of a car that was previously an insurance write-off or the withholding of other important aspects. vehicle history. As with any other private sale, the consumer’s only recourse in the event of deception, such as the purchase of a vehicle which is quickly found to have terminal mechanical problems, is to bring a civil suit – if the seller has not not already faded from sight.

Even a legitimate private sale is never without risk, however, OMVIC recommends that consumers take reasonable steps, such as requesting or purchasing a vehicle history report, to ensure that they have taken steps to understand the previous use and history of the vehicle.

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Obtaining a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) from the seller is a legal requirement for private sales in Ontario and will provide details of current ownership history and liens. A more complete historical report of CarFax is also a great option. Check that the seller’s ID matches the vehicle’s ownership, have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic, and beware of too-good-to-be-true offers. It probably is!

PHOTO GETTY IMAGES
PHOTO GETTY IMAGES

Buying a vehicle from an OMVIC-registered dealer provides greater peace of mind than a private sale, and not just because of the registration and registration process. “Buying from a registered dealer gives you access to pieces of legislation that could help you if you run into a problem,” notes Tim Hines, director of consumer assistance for OMVIC. “When you buy from a business in Ontario, you have protections under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and when you buy from an OMVIC-registered dealer, you have additional protections under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA).

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“A reseller must use all-inclusive price advertising and is obligated to make certain disclosures about the history and condition of the vehicle,” he continues. “If a dealership fails to meet its legal obligations under the MVDA, the consumer has certain rescission rights and may be eligible to make a claim to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.

“For example, if a dealership I bought from goes bankrupt before I submitted my extended warranty claim, I could file a claim against the Compensation Fund. If I buy from a drive-thru, I don’t have access to the Compensation Fund. Even if I find out there has been a major misrepresentation, like the odometer was rolled back on my car, it doesn’t matter. My only option would be to pursue this as a civil case.

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OMVIC maintains a list of all registered dealers. If you are buying from an individual or company that is not on the list, you can check with the OMVIC Customer Support team to verify if you are dealing with an authorized seller.

Many calls to the consumer support team come after purchase, but Hines urges consumers to reach out early in the buying process – whether they have concerns about a sketchy seller or simply need information from a reliable source. “OMVIC is here to help you, right from the start of the buying journey. We can provide guidance, resources and tools to help you along the way.”

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PHOTO GETTY IMAGES

OMVIC also collects moving walk information for its Enforcement Department investigators. At the time of writing this article, OMVIC has more than a dozen unregistered resellers before the tribunal, including individuals, vehicle recyclers, rental companies and repair shops. If you think you may be dealing with a bystander, call 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or email [email protected]

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“Having a license to sell cars in Ontario is a privilege, not a right,” summarizes Hines. “OMVIC screens people entering the industry to help protect consumers. Many private sellers are genuine, but neither they nor illegal underground sellers provide access to protections under consumer protection laws like the CPA and MVDA.

In this busy car buying season, visit omvic.on.ca to access free car buying resources to help you get started and sign up for the quarterly Consumer Line newsletter.

Contact OMVIC’s Consumer Support Team at [email protected] or 1-800-943-6002 for expert advice and answers to all your questions about buying a ‘a car.

To find out if you are eligible to receive financial assistance from the Compensation Fund, contact OMVIC at 1-800-943-6002 or email [email protected]

Follow OMVIC on social media to stay up to date with the latest news.

GI: @omvic_official

Twitter: @omvic_consumers

Facebook: Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

This story was created by content worksthe commercial content division of Postmedia, on behalf of OMVIC.

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