By Myron Love
WINNIPEG, MAN. – Manitoba new and used-car dealers are by and large in favour of new provincial government regulations that, among other things, require advertising to indicate the total price of a vehicle including all additional charges.
“We are very excited about the new legislation (which comes into effect on June 1),” says Geoff Sine, executive director of the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association.
“This has been a long time coming. It levels the playing field for all dealers and makes all sales transactions clean and concise.”
The Manitoba Used Cars Dealers’ Association (MUCDA) is in full agreement.
“Our members are really looking forward to this legislation,” says Nick Roberts, the association’s long time executive director. “We believe that this legislation is long overdue. We have been after the government to bring in this kind of legislation since 2008.”
The bill amends the current Consumer Protection Act by combining new motor vehicle advertising provisions with the existing information disclosure requirements from the Business Practices Act.
Among the key provisions of the new legislation are that the advertised price of the vehicle must include all additional charges (except for sales taxes), must not be calculated on the inclusion of any special deduction or circumstance and must not highlight the amount or timing of payments more prominently than the total price of the vehicle.
As well, photographs must indicate the base model price and the price of the vehicle plus options in the same or greater size when showing vehicles with options not available on the base model.
As to vehicle availability, advertising may be placed only if the dealer has the model in inventory at the stated price. If the vehicle is only available for a limited time, that should be in the ad. If the number of vehicles available is limited, that and the number of vehicles in stock should also be in the ad.
The legislation also states that claims as to a vehicle winning an award must list the name of the award and date it was received.
The term demo may only be used for new vehicles that have been driven only for normal business purposes.
The June 1 date is intended to give dealers enough time to ensure that all sales and advertising staff become familiar with the new regulations and adjust their advertising accordingly.