From the expert: What is OMVIC and how can it help ease your mind when buying a car?Nov 28, 2022
From our resident scholar and car expert Farah Mohammed of Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
Supply chain disruptions, increased global demand and chip shortages have led to a market squeeze and exorbitant price increases in the auto sales market. Demand may be slowing slightly, but many of these issues are still impacting the industry and keeping prices high for consumers.
In its 25 years, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) has “never seen a market quite like this,” says Tim Hines, director of consumer support.
OMVIC is Ontario’s motor vehicle sales regulator, responsible for maintaining a fair and informed marketplace and administering and enforcing the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery.
Great, but what does that mean? The MVDA is a key piece of consumer protection legislation in Ontario. And, in order to sell vehicles legally, all dealers and salespersons must be registered with OMVIC. Registered dealers and salespersons undergo background checks, they must successfully complete and pass a certification course in automotive law and ethics, and, once registered, they must abide by professional standards and strict regulations as outlined in the legislation.
Selling vehicles for profit outside of this regulatory framework is illegal. In fact, the minimum fine for acting as an unregistered dealer or salesperson (also known as a curbsider) is $2,500.
Know your rights: Ontario car buyers are protected by the MVDA
When you buy or lease a new or used vehicle from an OMVIC-registered dealer in Ontario, you have rights under the Motor Vehicles Dealers Act (MVDA).
These include but are not limited to:
- All-in price advertising: If a dealer advertises a price for a vehicle, the price must include all the fees the dealer intends to collect (except HST and licensing). You should never be charged more than an advertised price, and you can bring the ad—or a picture of it—with you to the dealership.
- Mandatory disclosures: Registered dealers must disclose information about a motor vehicle’s past usage (i.e., if it was used as a taxi or a daily rental) and condition, in writing. This allows buyers to make an informed decision.
- Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund: The compensation fund is available to consumers who submit a valid claim, within two years of damages, up to $45,000 per vehicle transaction. There has been a total of $7 million paid out since its inception in 1986.
It is important to know, these vehicle-buying protections only apply when consumers purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer. To learn more about your car-buying rights, protections under the MVDA or the claims and eligibility requirements for the compensation fund, visit omvic.on.ca.
Shop confidently with an OMVIC-registered dealer
Dealers and salespeople are required to show their registration certificate to anyone who asks to see it. To identify an OMVIC-registered dealer, look for the blue and yellow decal on dealership doors and windows or find registered dealers listed in the dealer search section of the OMVIC website.
No matter what is happening in the market, you can shop confidently with OMVIC-registered dealers, knowing that OMVIC is there to ensure dealerships are following the rules and you’re protected by the MVDA.
OMVIC is here to help
Visit omvic.on.ca to access free car-buying resources to get you started, and sign up for the quarterly newsletter, Consumer Line.
You can also contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at [email protected] or 1-800-943-6002 for expert advice and answers to all your car-buying questions.
Follow OMVIC on social media to stay up to date on the latest news.
Facebook: Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
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