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January 22, 2022

Revamped car dealer law protects buyers

Ontario’s recent move towards “all-in” pricing for both new and used cars should help weary buyers from getting hosed, say consumer advocates.

Car dealers often shift profit potential from one transaction to another. If a customer is set on getting a good deal on their trade in, the dealer may then choose to concentrate on inflating monthly payments, reworking the down payment, or simply reinventing the advertised deal. 

But this might be changing.

Recent changes to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Dealers Act now mean that any price quoted in an ad must include all hard-to-track transaction charges such as freight, admin, pre-delivery inspections. 

As well, licensed dealers must disclose if the daily special had a prior existence as an emergency vehicle, is a cast off from rental agencies like Hertz and Enterprise or has been in a major accident, which can lead to big repair costs in the future.

Unfortunately, unlicensed curbside dealers, who often sell rebuilt or flood-tainted wrecks disguised as bargains, aren’t included here. But nobody in their right mind buys a car off the lawn anyway.

If otherwise legit dealers fail to provide this key information, you can return the vehicle for up to 90 days from delivery for a full refund, including the value of any trade-in.

You may also have access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund, which now provides up to $45,000 (up from $15,000) for customers dealing with issues like unpaid liens on a car they’ve bought or recovering the deposit on an undelivered vehicle.

Have you been caught out when buying a car? Will these new regulations make any difference?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...