1. Advertising Rules
Licensed dealers must include accurate pricing in their advertising. The sticker price or the price listed in an ad must represent the total cost, not including taxes IF the buyer is paying for the vehicle in-cash, without financing, a trade in or extras. This is referred to as “The Drive-Away Price.”
The “Drive-Away Price” must include:
- charges for freight;
- inspection before delivery; and
- any additional fees and levies
The “Drive-Away Price” applies only to full-cash purchases and does not apply in the case of trade-ins or financing.
Samantha sees a brand new SUV with a sticker price of $35,000 on the lot. She decides she wants to pay cash (the full price, by any method, cash, cheque, etc.), without a trade in or any extras. The dealer is obliged to sell her the vehicle for a maximum of $35,000 or less if Samantha negotiates for a lower price, plus tax.
Failure to deliver the “Drive Away Price”
A buyer can sue for the difference between the advertised price and the price they paid if a dealer doesn’t follow the requirements in the regulations. The Consumer Protection Division may consider other regulatory actions against the dealer which can include issuing a compliance order, suspending or cancelling a dealer’s licence for failing to deliver the “Drive Away Price.”
2. Knowledge is power
Licensed sellers must provide buyers with reasonably obtainable information such as the vehicle’s history or any other information that might influence a decision to purchase.
Here are some of the material facts required to be disclosed to potential buyers:
- A printed VIN search (in the case of used vehicles)
- If the vehicle was damaged in transit, totaling more than 20 per cent of its value (if new)
- If the vehicle was used as a taxi, for law enforcement, as an emergency vehicle or for racing.
- If the odometer doesn’t represent the true distance traveled by the vehicle, or has been altered or replaced.
- If the vehicle was owned by a rental company in the last 24 months.
- Any information a dealer should expect could influence a consumer’s decision to buy or lease, or refuse to buy or lease, a vehicle from the dealer.
- If a dealer advertises a periodic payment for a vehicle that is to be financed on approved credit, the dealer must include in the advertised price the total charges that the consumer would pay if credit is approved (not including taxes).
- And more; for a complete list of disclosure requirements, please see the regulations.
Failure to disclose
A buyer may choose to pursue a dealer for damages or for the purchase price if there is a failure to disclose all necessary information about a vehicle, or if the information disclosed is false or misleading.
If the dispute meets the conditions for a failure to disclose a consumer may be able to return the vehicle for a full refund and recover any damages or losses.
3. Minimum warranties
The new regulations provide for a minimum warranty on the sale of some used vehicles. If a used vehicle has less than 200,000 kilometres, the dealer must provide a minimum warranty on the power train for 30 days or 1,000 kilometres, whichever occurs first.
If any component of the power train fails during the warranty period, the purchaser can choose to have it repaired or require the purchase price be returned. If repairs are to be made, the dealer may only require the consumer to pay a maximum of $200 towards the cost of the repairs.
The required warranty does not apply if the consumer misused the vehicle or the defect was brought to the buyer’s attention in writing.
4. Buy from a licensed dealer
Buying from a licensed dealer is the best way to protect yourself when getting a vehicle, new or used. Dealers are obligated to follow all the rules, including honouring warranties and the “drive-away price.” If a consumer buys from a private seller or unlicensed dealer (known as curbers), it’s a buyer-beware situation and they will not have the same protections.
5. Don’t buy from a curber
Curbers illegally sell vehicles for profit. While it is legal to sell a personal vehicle, if one is in the business of selling vehicles (For example, fixing up old beaters and selling them online) they must be licensed.
Far too often, curbers leave consumers in the lurch if something goes wrong – from sloppy repairs to rolled back odometers, or bait and switch. They’re just looking to make a quick buck.
The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act and The Vehicle Dealer Regulations regulate the sale, lease, and consignment of all new or used motor vehicles, motorcycles and snowmobiles in Saskatchewan. Dealers are required to be licensed and bonded.
Consumers are protected under the legislation in several major ways:
- dealers must maintain a place of business in Saskatchewan that is acceptable to the Registrar;
- the Registrar may grant or suspend a license subject to terms and conditions, or may cancel the licence;
- contracts for the sale of a motor vehicle are to be in a form approved by the Registrar;
- bonds may be forfeited when the dealer or any salesperson, representative or agent of the dealer:
- has had a judgment made against that person in respect of a claim resulting from a motor vehicle contract;
- contravenes the legislation;
- is convicted of an offence involving fraud or theft or conspiracy to commit fraud or theft under the Criminal Code;
- commits an act of bankruptcy whether or not proceedings have been taken under The Bankruptcy Act (Canada); or
- dealers are prohibited from selling or giving in exchange a motor vehicle that is not properly equipped or mechanically fails to meet vehicle safety standards. Reference S.5-20 of The Vehicle Dealer Regulations and S.114 of SGI's Traffic Safety Act and Vehicle Equipment Regulations.
A person who buys a vehicle privately is not protected in this way.