Motorcycle dealers are required to follow the same advertising rules as automobile and RV dealers. The VSA Advertising Guidelines require the dealer name and number as well as the total price of the motorcycle in all ads. A consumer can assume that freight and PDI are included in the advertised price for a motorcycle as it must be total price. Failure to offer a motorcycle to a buyer at this advertised price, or to add freight and PDI to the advertised price, could be a violation of the Motor Dealer Act.
Dealers are obligated to declare and disclose information to the best of their knowledge and belief. But remember, as a consumer, you also have a responsibility to tell the dealership exactly what you're looking for in a vehicle. Here are some things to consider:
What does material fact mean?
A material fact is anything that can have a significant impact on your buying decision. Material facts are not universal – what may be material to one person may not be for another. Some material facts are set in law:
- If the vehicle was used as a rental
- If the vehicle came from another province or the U.S.
- If the vehicle had repairs due to damage that cumulatively cost more than $2,000
Others will be based on the specific needs of the buyer. Such as:
- a pet-free used vehicle
- if the vehicle was previously used by a smoker
- specific load or towing capacity for a camper or trailer
Is a dealer required to tell me if a used car has damage less than $2,000?
It depends on you, the consumer. Ask yourself – if there is less than $2,000 of damage on a vehicle, is it important? If yes, then this is considered a material fact. But, the dealer needs to know it's important to you to have the complete accident history, not just the minimum declaration required by the law.
How is a dealer supposed to know what is material to me?
As a consumer, your job is to clearly communicate what you want in a vehicle. If having a pet-free vehicle is important to you – and will ultimately affect your decision whether to buy or not – say so!
I bought a vehicle and found out that it had a long history of accidents. If I had known this, I probably wouldn't have bought it. What happens now?
A licensed dealer is accountable whether even they innocently, intentionally or negligently didn't tell you about required material facts or specific requirements that you made clear to them prior to the negotiations. You may file a complaint with the VSA. The complaint will be assessed to confirm that the VSA has jurisdiction. If the VSA jurisdiction, the complaint will be investigated.
The risks of buying from curbers are being recognized as the Mainland Better Business Bureau (BBB) named curbers the Top Sales Scam of 2014.
This year, the BBB focused their Top Ten Scams around Fraud Prevention Month, "celebrating 10 years of educating consumers to Recognize it! Report it! Stop it!" Alongside curbers were scams such as catphishing, affinity fraud, astroturfing and more.
With the official release of the Top Ten Scams, a press conference was held on February 28th. Representatives from the BBB, BC Securities Commission, Consumer Protection BC, the Competition Bureau of Canada, the RCMP and the VSA were all present and provided insights into their fields.
The VSA also had the opportunity to introduce their upcoming consumer awareness campaign featuring Walt the Curber. With the intent to raise awareness and keep used car buyers safe, the campaign is a collaborative effort between the VSA, CarProof Vehicle History Reports and ICBC. Walt represents a fictional curber and, through his confessions, is used to show readers the dangers of buying from sellers like him and the importance of vehicle history reports.
More information on the Top Ten Scams and the consumer campaign can be found:
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.