Illegal predators abound in auto imports from the U.S.

    BURNABY, BC, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - The Registrar of Motor Dealers in B.C., Ken
Smith, has warned consumers who attempt to import vehicles from the United
States by using unlicensed agents behaving as dealers - possibly people with a
very questionable background - that they are participating in illegal
    "Canadians are certainly entitled to purchase vehicles outside of this
country, and bring them here, as long as they comply with all federal and
provincial import, taxation and licensing guidelines, but any unlicensed third
party who earns income from facilitating the process is breaking the law,"
Smith said.
    The Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSA) is delegated by
government to administer the Motor Dealer Act and related regulations, as well
as other statutes concerning the retail sale of motor vehicles, with a mandate
to serve both consumers and industry. Motor vehicle dealers and all
salespeople must be licensed and standards of practice are clearly defined.
    "When there is a rapid change in currency values it can take some time
before it works its way through the system," Smith said. "It is a very
difficult period for Canadian dealers who have issues both with the
manufacturers they represent and also the rapid devaluation of their used
vehicle inventories."
    The Registrar added that he is confident that the industry will adjust
quickly and noted that many B.C. dealers are legally importing large volumes
of used vehicles from the U.S. to Canada and offering them for sale at
beneficial pricing.
    "Many smart consumers have also made excellent purchases in the U.S, and
successfully and properly imported them to Canada, but others have discovered
that their new vehicle fails to comply with Canadian standards, that new car
warranties don't apply and other problems."
    Smith urged anyone considering importing a vehicle from the U.S. to visit
the special Transport Canada web site for the federal Registrar of Import
Vehicles and carefully follow instructions
( Buyers of new cars should
determine in advance all warranty issues and those proposing to import a used
vehicle should conduct a professional vehicle history search such as that
offered by the Canadian company, CarProof (
    "Our principal concern is that the most unsavoury people in the B.C. car
business, many with criminal records, have seized upon this currency anomaly
for profit," Smith said. "The simple test for consumers is to ask anyone
selling either vehicles or agent services, to produce their VSA license. If
they don't have one, they are breaking the law."
    By failing to purchase from a licensed dealer, a B.C. consumer is also
putting at risk the protections offered by the Motor Dealer Act, the Business
Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Motor Dealer Customer
Compensation Fund.

For further information:

For further information: Judy McRae, Manager Corporate Services and
Communication, Phone: (604) 293-3521

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