The VSA’s authority comes from the Motor Dealer Act and related Regulations, and certain parts of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. The VSA can investigate complaints about violations of these laws. The VSA’s policies are available here.
If a complaint about your business is received at the VSA, it will be handled as follows:
You will get a copy of the complaint
After the VSA receives a complaint application and determines it has grounds to investigate the complaint, the VSA will email to you a Notice of Complaint.
The Notice will include a copy of the Complaint Form for your review and a copy of the blank Complaint Response Form for you to complete.
You will be required to respond to the complaint
You will be given 10 business days from the date of the Notice of Complaint to send your response to the VSA.
Once the VSA receives your Complaint Response Form and the supporting documents, a Consumer Services Officer will review your submission and will remove any personal and proprietary information. A copy of your response will then be sent to the complainant.
If further investigation is needed
The complaint and your response will be evaluated to determine the next steps. If further investigation is required, it will be investigated by a Compliance Officer.
During the investigation, the VSA will contact you as needed.
The length of the investigation will vary based on VSA staff resources and how responsive the participants are when investigative requests are made. Some complaints are investigated and closed in as little as 60 days, but most take 120 days or more to investigate and resolve or close.
If a hearing before the Registrar of Motor Dealers is needed
Q : Why am I given 10 business days to provide a response to the complaint?
A : A legal principal called procedural fairness requires that a person who is alleged to have done something wrong must be allowed time to respond to the allegations. This includes time to gather documents to support its response.
Q : Do I need to include all business files relating to the complaint?
A : Yes. Failure to provide all records pertaining to a complaint is an offence under the Motor Dealer Act. Failure to comply may be dealt with as a licensing matter by the Registrar.
Q : What if I don’t respond to the complaint within 10 business days?
A : If the VSA doesn’t hear from you by the required date, a Compliance Officer will start the investigation based on just the complainant’s statements about the dispute. Your failure to respond may also be reviewed by the Registrar as a licensing infraction.
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
A : Whether or not you use a lawyer is up to you. Depending on a complexity of a complaint, a lawyer may be helpful in focusing your attention on the important facts and the relevant law, and also to protect your rights.
Q: Can I talk to the complainant to try and resolve the dispute?
A : Yes. There is nothing stopping you from speaking to the complainant and attempting to resolve the dispute.
Q: If I resolve the dispute with the complainant, will the VSA end its investigation?
A : If you resolve the complainant’s dispute, that does not mean the VSA will automatically end its investigation. The VSA has a duty to the general public to ensure that a VSA licenses complies with the law in the future. If the investigation continues, the VSA and the Registrar are required to take into consideration your attempts to resolve the consumer’s concerns.
NOTE: This is to provide general information and is not intended to be legal advice.