RV dealer suspended and "freeze order" issued

    BURNABY, BC, July 23 /CNW/ - Southwest R.V. and Sport Ltd., with
Vancouver Island locations at Sidney, Chemainus and Duncan has been suspended
from doing business by the Registrar of Motor Dealers. A "freeze order" was
issued July 15, 2008 on all of the dealership's assets and bank accounts and
the salesperson licence of the company's dealer principal, Kersti Clark, has
also been suspended.
    Southwest and Ms. Clark have been a subject of concern for the Motor
Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSA) since they were first denied permission
to conduct consignment sales, shortly after the company obtained a dealer
licence in 2006. The recent action concerns multiple complaints involving
consignment sales.
    Complaints since March 2008 involved consigned recreation vehicles worth
approximately $225,000, subsequently sold by Southwest, but the complainants
reported difficulty tracking either their vehicles or their money. A portion
of the proceeds were paid to the consignees after the VSA commenced its
investigations, but there is still an outstanding amount of approximately
$100,000 yet to be accounted.
    "Consignment issues cause our investigators a great deal of concern,
which is why the regulations award the privilege only to experienced,
established dealers with an impeccable track record," said Denis Savidan, the
VSA's Manager of Compliance and Investigations. "In this case, there is an
allegation that one of these RVs was rented to another customer by Southwest
with no remittance of cash to the rightful owner."
    Consignment sales are frequently approved for established dealers who
have a documented history of professional conduct, no consumer complaints or
compensation fund claims, subject to letter of credit requirements and the
dealer complying with the Motor Dealer Consignment Sales Regulation under the
Motor Dealer Act.
    Southwest RV & Sport Ltd. had been denied such permission because they
lacked the obligatory three years of experience and demonstrable credibility.
    A Judicial Review to appeal the Registrar's ruling was filed by Southwest
RV & Sport Ltd. in the British Columbia Supreme Court in early 2007. That was
ultimately rejected by Justice Wong, who ruled that the Legislation empowers
the Registrar to establish appropriate criteria before consideration of an
application to accept and sell vehicles on consignment and, if those
conditions are met, to then decide each case on its own merit.
    The company subsequently filed an appeal of this ruling in the B.C. Court
of Appeal, a case which is to be heard in September. This is a completely
separate issue from the alleged egregious matters that have led to the
suspension of both the company's dealer license and Ms. Clark's salesperson
    Consumers who have had consignment dealings with Southwest RV & Sport
Ltd. are encouraged to call the following number.

For further information:

For further information: Bruce Forbes, Senior Compliance Officer, VSA at
(604) 293-3531

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