Secret shoppers from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) visited 20 dealerships in Ottawa in July. They didn’t like what they found: of the 20 stores they visited, 25 per cent – five of them – quoted a price that was higher than their website’s advertised price.
Terry O’Keefe told Canadian AutoWorld in an email that “OMVIC unfortunately continues to find unacceptable levels of non-compliance with the all-in price advertising regulations by a minority of dealers, both new and used.
“Not only is this unfair to consumers, who are being overcharged when buying a car, it is unfair to the majority of dealers who are compliant and who provide transparent advertising as required under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act,” O’Keefe said.
So OMVIC is focusing its 2016 Consumer Awareness Campaign on educating car buyers about their right to all-in price advertising.
He added that the regulator was launching the campaign not just on the basis of the Ottawa findings but from the complaints of consumers and other dealers.
“The majority comes from other dealers; and understandably so. If a dealer has hidden fees that are not included in their advertised prices it creates the illusion that their vehicles are cheaper than they are. This is unfair to consumers and it is unfair to compliant dealers.”
OMVIC believes the best regulator is an informed consumer. If consumers know they have a right to all-in price advertising and know that dealers can’t charge extra fees other than HST and licensing in excess of their advertised prices, they won’t be fooled.
They will avoid dealers who break the law and instead buy vehicles from those dealers who play by the all-in pricing rules.
The rules have been in force since 2010.