TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2018 /CNW/ - Ontario car-buyers have a right to all-in price advertising. That means if a dealer advertises a price for a new or used vehicle that price must include all fees and charges the dealer intends to collect, with the exception of HST and licensing (and safety standards certificate if the vehicle is advertised unfit/as-is). It's been the law since 2010.
Unfortunately however, research conducted by OMVIC, Ontario's vehicle sales regulator, has uncovered two issues that may be contributing to some car buyers being overcharged. "Less than half of Ontario car-buyers know they have a right to all-in price advertising" explains John Carmichael, OMVIC CEO and interim Registrar. "And this is problematic because OMVIC still finds unacceptable levels of non-compliance with the all-in pricing regulations by some dealers."
In fact, 29 of 50 GTA new car dealers tried to add surprise fees to their advertised prices when visited by OMVIC mystery shoppers in 2017. "This illegal practice is not only unfair to car-buyers, it gives non-compliant dealers an unfair advantage over those dealers whose advertised prices include all fees and charges and provide transparency to consumers," states Carmichael. This is why OMVIC has launched its province-wide consumer awareness campaign.
OMVIC's Consumer Awareness Campaign
A photo of a beautiful sunrise; a birthday party; even a grocery list on the fridge—yes we take pictures "all the live long day," OMVIC's TV ad notes. So why not "take a picture of the dealer's advertisement the next time you're shopping for a car and take it with you to your dealer; because the dealer should not charge more than that advertised price."
"This messaging is designed to help empower consumers," explains Carmichael. "If they have a copy of the advertisement and understand they have a right to all-in pricing, it will help consumers protect themselves should they encounter non-compliant advertising." It is important to note that dealer fees (like freight or administration fees) are not illegal—they just have to be included in a dealer's advertised price.
Utilizing TV, radio, online and social media advertising, OMVIC's province-wide campaign launches August 20th. To help reach new Canadians, many of whom are unfamiliar with Ontario's consumer protection laws, radio advertisements are also being broadcast in Mandarin and Cantonese and Google search ads will appear in French, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, Mandarin and Russian.
Understanding All-in Price Advertising
If a Registered Dealer advertises a price for a vehicle (new or used), that price must include ALL fees and charges the dealer intends to collect. The only additional fees a dealer can charge are HST and licensing (and safety standards certificate if the vehicle is advertised unfit/as-is). Note: licensing refers to the actual cost of vehicle registration and plates (it cannot include extra fees added by the dealer).
An advertisement is an inducement to buy or lease a vehicle. This would include, but is not limited to ads:
- In print (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
- On the internet (dealer site, online marketplace, etc.)
- On social media
- On radio or TV
- On signs (including those in or on a vehicle)
Examples of fees or charges that must be included in an advertised price are:
- PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
- Administration (Admin) fee(s)
- Government levies (air tax, etc.)
- Safety (unless the ad contains a mandated "Unfit Vehicle" or "As-Is Vehicle" statement)
If a dealer intends to charge for products or services they have pre-installed on a vehicle, those costs must also be included in the advertised price. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Nitrogen/tire protection package/locking wheel nuts
- Security or theft deterrent products/services (etching, etc.)
Note: While all fees must be included in advertised prices they must be itemized individually on the contract
Vehicle Manufacturer Advertising
OMVIC does not regulate vehicle manufacturers; therefore, advertisements placed by manufacturers do not have to comply with the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and all-in pricing is not required in manufacturer advertising. That said, some manufacturers voluntarily comply with the all-in pricing provision and commendably provide transparency to consumers.
SOURCE Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)