Dealers need to tell you about the prior use of the vehicle – that is, if the vehicle was previously used as a taxi, emergency vehicle, etc. They need to tell you the odometer readings and if it was ever registered outside of BC. Dealers also need to let you know if the vehicle had damage repairs that total more than $2,000.
Click here for a full list of conditions that dealers need to declare.
What does total damage repairs mean?
It is the total cost of all damage repairs done to the vehicle. For instance, if the vehicle needed two repairs – with one costing $500 and the other $1,700 - then the dealer needs to declare there was damage over $2,000.
Does this include only accident damages?
No. Vandalism, theft and windshield claims are also included. Normal mechanical repairs are not included in the total.
Which documents show damage declarations?
I'm buying a new vehicle. Does the dealer need to declare damages?
Yes. New vehicles can get damaged before the sale and repaired. If the damage amounts to more than 20% of the asking price, then the dealer must declare that. Damage that would be important, or material, to your decision to buy that particular vehicle, should be disclosed to you as well. To be sure that the salesperson understands what is "material" to you, you can indicate that you want a new vehicle that has not been repaired in any way. Make sure to have this noted in writing on the purchase agreement.
The seller didn't declare anything. Is there a way I can double check?
If the dealer did not provide a vehicle history report and you did not ask for one, you can get a vehicle history report to confirm or uncover past damage. CarProof contains ICBC claims information and may include accident repair estimates.
The motor dealer licence of Autosalescanada.com Enterprises Inc. doing business as Trinity Auto Center (#30695) was suspended on February 5, 2014 pending further investigation. The licences of salespeople Harmit Setia (#108040) and Baldip Sachdeva (#106423) were also suspended. The VSA and Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund will not be offering any consumer protection to those who have entered in any transactions with Trinity on or after the suspension date.
Carfax, an American based vehicle history report provider, recently released data that showed that close to 200,000 vehicles are affected by odometer fraud in the US. The average number varies state to state, but Oregon alone is host to an estimated 6,000 tampered vehicles.
Before purchasing a vehicle, study a vehicle history report in detail and check for past odometer readings. Your dealer should provide the report, but if not, a report can be ordered online. Some vehicle history reports are CarProof, Carfax or an ICBC report.
In addition, Carfax recommends the following tips to detect odometer fraud:
· Check that the car's wear and tear is consistent with the odometer reading
· Ask the seller for service records and note the mileage
· Buy from a trusted seller or dealer
· Be wary of unrealistic deals or overly aggressive sellers
· Have a trusted mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle
In short – yes! An important step for anyone purchasing a vehicle is to obtain a vehicle history report. These reports are provided regularly by many licensed dealers as part of the presentation of a used vehicle. There are a number of reports available that can show where the vehicle came from, past registration records, and any past accidents and damages.
While some reports are more comprehensive than others, recent CBC investigations show that many still have limitations. Know the differences on which one you're being offered:
CarProof Verified BC is the most comprehensive vehicle history report available for BC. It includes ICBC data and can include details of private repairs. It is available online and can be accessed immediately using a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
ICBC Vehicle Claims History Reports detail the vehicle's damages and repairs. The report will provide the vehicle's status, any damages claimed through ICBC, and whether it's been imported into the province. It is available online.
ICBC Vehicle Status Inquiry will provide you with the vehicle's status only. It is available for free.
Dealers are obligated to disclose a vehicle's history. However, if a dealer does not provide a copy of the vehicle history report, ask for one.
Note: The reports are not 100% accurate. Completing a vehicle inspection prior to purchase is highly recommended.
Low mileage alone does not mean that a car is new. There are several other factors to consider.
All new Canadian vehicles require a New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS). This is the vehicle's "birth certificate" and identifies it as new. A vehicle cannot be registered with ICBC if it doesn't have a NVIS. When a vehicle is sold, the NVIS is surrendered. At this point, the warranty begins and the vehicle is registered in someone else's name. This vehicle is no longer new.
However, a dealer may take a vehicle back shortly after a sale for a number of reasons and put it back on the lot. Due to its low mileage and model year, it may look like a new vehicle. But – since it has already been registered to a new owner, it is considered used and the dealer should sell it as such.
As some purchase agreements do not indicate if a vehicle is new or used, make sure to discuss this with your dealer prior to buying. If it is important to you, you can ask them to note it on the agreement. Confirming the start date for the warranty is also important.
Note: You may also be offered what is called a demo or demonstrator vehicle. Demo vehicles can either be new or used – the term demo describes the prior usage of the vehicle. Your dealer should clearly explain what the term demo means at their dealership. Details on how the vehicle was used, by whom and when the warranty starts or started will be more helpful that simply knowing if the vehicle is new or used.
In the United States alone, odometer fraud affects close to 200,000 cars a year. This costs Americans some $760 million in lost value and repairs.
Older vehicles – typically those around 14/15 years – often have their odometers rolled back at least 50,000 miles. These vehicles are then sold through online classifieds and private sales to unsuspecting consumers. Not only does each consumer lose thousands of dollars, but serious safety issues may occur with the vehicle.
Many used vehicles in BC are imported from the US – what can BC consumers do to make sure they don't fall prey?
- Confirm the mileage on recent repair records
- Check that the wear and tear of the vehicle matches the reported mileage
- Get a vehicle history report
- Complete a full inspection of the vehicle
- Buy from licensed dealers. Consumers can search for licensed dealers and salespeople in their area.
Earlier this year, numerous Canadian car buyers fell prey to online scams, losing thousands of dollars in the process. While the websites shut down due to press, they continue to reappear under new names - this time as Double Eagle Motors. Like Ambient, Sprint and Husen Autos, Double Eagle Motors has a U.S. address and specifically targets Canadian buyers by posting ads on Autotrader and Craigslist. Their low prices on high-end vehicles, as well as hassle-free shipping, entice consumers to shell out money for a vehicle that may not actually exist.
As before, consumers should continue to do proper and thorough research before purchasing a vehicle, especially online. Buying from a licensed dealer and getting a vehicle history report is the best way to ensure maximum protection. BC car buyers are encouraged to check the list of known curbers (unlicensed dealers) and search for licensed dealers and salespeople.
According to the 2013 Public Confidence Survey, consumers are more confident in BC's motor vehicle industry than ever before. The survey was commissioned by the VSA and done by Ipsos Reid to rate the general public's confidence in the industry. The survey found that:
- 67% of recent buyers gave the industry a rating of seven or above (on a ten point scale)
- 35% of all buyers said their recent buying experience is better than before
- 42% of recent consumers gave the industry a top three rating, compared to 34% of consumers who purchased two to five years ago
Moreover, today's consumers are more likely to receive mechanical inspection reports and vehicle history reports without asking. This confirms that dealers and salespeople are adopting dealership best practices and are striving to promote a professional industry.
The entire 2013 Public Confidence Survey is available online.
Make sure your dealer has disclosed to you the RVs two Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) and model years. RVs have two VINs – one for the chassis* (primary), and one for the coach (secondary). There are no set rules across the country as to which VIN is required at registration; therefore, when an RV gets imported from one province to another, the actual year of the vehicle may be unclear. Remember to check the purchase agreementand/or the ICBC Tax/Transfer (APV9T) Form (request these from your dealer if they aren't provided). Both forms leave the dealer enough space to include the two VIN numbers and years.
*the chassis includes the frame, steering and suspension, exhaust and power-train.