Registrar of Motor Dealers targets deceptive deposit practices

    BURNABY, BC, July 8 /CNW/ - The Registrar of Motor Dealers has issued a
new directive (Directive 13) to the British Columbia motor vehicle sales
industry concerning the proper procedures for accepting deposits or partial
payments from consumers, expressing concern that incidents of abuse and
deceptive practices have become far too common.
    "It is unfortunate that a small minority of salespeople and/or dealers
undertaking unfavourable practices regarding deposits generate so many
consumer complaints; negatively impacting the entire industry's image," said
Ian Christman, the Deputy Registrar and the Director of Licensing for the
Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSA). "About one quarter of all
consumer complaints investigated by the VSA concern deposits, exposing a
pattern of abuse of consumers."
    The taking of a deposit is often part of an agreement to purchase a
vehicle or is a separate agreement for services, generally: to hold a vehicle;
to locate a vehicle; to bring in a vehicle; and/or to arrange financing for a
vehicle. If there is a written purchase agreement, the Motor Dealer Act
Regulation requires motor dealers to detail the terms and conditions under
which a deposit is refundable.
    If money is taken as a deposit, or if nothing is said about the purpose
of taking the money, and the motor dealer later claims it was for a partial or
down payment, this is a deceptive act under the Business Practices and
Consumer Protection Act. This may also be an unconscionable act or practice
under that same Act.
    Christman said that if a customer makes a deposit or partial payment, the
law requires the dealer to provide a proper document with details, including
details on refundability.
    "Nobody should leave a deposit without knowing what it's for and they
should never sign a document that has not been filled out or that they don't
understand - just walk away from the dealership if the salesperson is not
willing to provide proper documents and explanations," the VSA Deputy
Registrar said.
    More details can be found on the VSA web site and consumers can also phone the VSA consumer
services line 604-294-9889.

For further information:

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

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