What are my rights? Know your rights as a buyer of a personal use vehicle at a licensed motor dealer
Is a license required?
Yes. Dealers and salespersons that sell personal use vehicles in BC must be licensed by the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (the “VSA”). To find out if the motor dealer or a salesperson is licensed by the VSA, use the VSA online licensee search
What are my rights?
When dealing with a licensed BC motor dealer or salesperson with respect to purchase, lease or exchange of personal use vehicles, you have the right to:
- Get the information you need to make an informed decision about the transaction you are about to make with respect to a personal use vehicle.
The VSA has information on its website to help you to be prepared:
- Vehicle Buying Checklist
- Vehicle Buying Guide
- Expect that the licensed dealership and salesperson know and meet the requirements of the laws of BC and Canada
The Motor Dealer Act and its regulations require dealers and salespersons to disclose information about a vehicle before it is sold. Dealers and salespersons have a duty to learn about the vehicles they are selling and disclose this information to you to the best of their knowledge. Dealers must:
- Sell vehicles that meet the safety rules of the Motor Vehicle Act. If an unsafe vehicle is sold, it must be advertised and declared as not suitable for transportation
- Disclose the prior use of a vehicle, including any previous use as a taxi, emergency,rental or lease vehicle
- Make declarations about prior damages and the accuracy of the odometer
- Tell you if the vehicle was ever registered outside of BC
The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act prohibits dealers and salespersons from engaging in deceptive acts or practices. The law defines a deceptive act as any spoken, written or visual statement or action that could mislead a buyer and lead a reasonable person into making an error of judgment. Dealers must:
- Sell vehicles in a clear and transparent manner
- Stand behind the statements they make to you about the vehicles being sold
- Explain the terms of your purchase and let you agree or disagree to those terms
- Give you the cost of borrowing statement before you agree to the purchase, if you are leasing or financing
Can I complain to the VSA?
Yes. If you would like to complain to the VSA about a motor dealer or a salesperson – know your options.
- If you are in dispute with a licensed motor dealer or a salesperson and you believe they did not meet the requirements of the above legislation, you can make a formal consumer complaint with the VSA. Complaints that are within the jurisdiction of the VSA will be investigated. To get a complaint form and to find out what to expect if you make a formal complaint, see Consumer Protection Facts “Complaints about Motor Dealers and Broker Agents“
- If you would like to only report non-complaint activity by a licensed motor dealer or salesperson to the VSA, you can complete and submit to the VSA a Report a Concern or Issue Form
- If you believe you experienced a loss a transaction with a licensed motor dealer that is no longer in business, you can make a claim for compensation from the Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund. Eligible claims will be investigated and sent to the independent tribunal for hearing. For information on how to make an application for compensation from the Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund and to get the application forms, see Consumer Protection Facts “Compensation Fund – Claim Process”
The VSA website has comprehensive information and tools to help consumers make informed decisions related to the sale, purchase or lease of a vehicle. Consumer information is available at this link
If you have any questions, please contact VSA Consumer Services
NOTE: This is to provide general information and is not intended to be legal advice.
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