In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the recent decision by the Ontario government to close car dealerships, Carpages.ca has launched a contactless way to buy a car without setting foot in a dealership. The online marketplace called Buy From Home will enable customers to buy a vehicle from the safety and comfort of their own home while dealerships remain closed.
The new contactless service is currently available in Ontario with more than 200 participating dealers across the province with a nationwide expansion to follow. Buy From Home will allow customers to conduct virtual inspections at home, e-sign documents and have the vehicle delivered to their home after purchase. Following the government-mandated 14-day closure the ability to test drive vehicles from home will be made available.
“As Health and Government officials continue to stress the importance of physical distancing, we knew we needed to find a solution for customers who still needed a vehicle to get to work, or get groceries,” said Ben Mirecki, president and founder of Carpages.ca. “We also wanted to prevent our dealers, many of which are family owned, from losing everything by giving them the option to participate in Buy From Home.”
Like many other businesses, dealerships are experiencing a sharp downturn in sales. According to recent research, March sales alone were down 48 per cent compared to March of last year due to COVID-19. With even greater losses already being projected for April and May, Ontario’s recent closure of dealerships will only compound these losses. The hope is that Buy From Home will help to mitigate this downward trend and boost vehicle sales while adhering to public health directives.
“These are trying times for all of us and looking ahead, there is still a lot of uncertainty about when we’ll be back to business as usual. We understand the importance of our customers staying home and staying healthy,” said Mike Foster, co-owner of Foster Auto Group. “Carpages’ Buy From Home is a way for us to protect everyone, but also stay open even though our doors are closed.”
To promote the health and safety of all parties involved in the Buy From Home program, proper sanitation of vehicles is a top priority. Dealers who enroll in Buy From Home are required to take all necessary precautions in order to deliver vehicles in a safe manner. This includes sanitizing the vehicle’s interior, door handles, and keys and also maintaining proper physical distancing during delivery. Once at home test driving is permitted, dealers will ensure vehicles are sanitized between customers. Customers are also encouraged to follow public health directives while shopping for vehicles.
As with all business conducted online, customers are urged to be aware of online buying scams. Carpages.ca offers the following tips to protect Ontario consumers:
- Look for dealers who are OMVIC-licensed businesses. OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, its regulations and code of ethics, as well as relevant sections of the Consumer Protection Act.
- Beware of vehicles that cannot be viewed or inspected prior to purchase. Ask the dealer if they can do a video chat with you to show you every detail of the vehicle remotely.
- Ask the dealer for a vehicle history report (i.e., CARFAX) to see any records of previous owners, damage, or insurance claims.
- Have a conversation with the dealer or salesperson by email, phone or video chat and read over the contract carefully to ensure any promises, conditions, etc., are stated.
- Keep copies of all documentation for reference.
- Take time to do all the homework you need before you purchase and beware of sellers who want to close the deal as quickly as possible.