The temptation of purchasing a new vehicle can be overwhelming: that sweet new car scent (sans the blue pine tree hanging from your rearview mirror), that soft click of a keyless entry system and that pristine, crumb-free interior. But before you sign off on a new ride, we want to offer up some “did-you-knows” with regard to purchasing a new vehicle.

Did you know #1: once you sign, there’s no return guarantee.

Consumers often believe there’s a grace period after purchasing a car, allowing the buyer to return the vehicle if they’re not fully satisfied. Unfortunately, this is most often not the case and there is no law stating a consumer’s right to return a vehicle (although individual dealerships may have a return policy – be sure to ask). For more information, check out this blog post about vehicle returns from the Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia (VSA).

Did you know #2: elements of buying a car are regulated in BC.

The Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) is an independent, non-profit regulatory agency that oversees the retail sales of personal-use motor vehicles in British Columbia. This provincial regulator has authority to administer and enforce the Motor Dealer Act, portions of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and related regulations. The VSA also offers consumer assistance, dispute resolution and has a number of tips for consumers on their website.

Did you know #3: there’s a Canadian program designed to resolve disputes regarding manufacturing defects and warranty application/administration.

Called the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), this cross-Canada program is designed to resolve disputes (through binding arbitration) with a manufacturer about defects in your vehicle’s assembly or materials, or with regard to how the manufacturer is applying or administering its new vehicle warranty. CAMVAP covers most domestic and imported passenger cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans and multi-purpose passenger vehicles purchased or leased in Canada, as long as the vehicle is the current model or one of four previous model years.

Did you know #4: if you’ve suffered a financial loss due to a motor dealership going out of business or failing to meet legal obligations, you may be eligible for compensation.

There’s a fund, called the Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund, that provides compensation (to a maximum of $20,000) to consumers who’ve lost money because a motor dealer has either gone out of business or has failed to meet certain legal obligations. The Motor Dealer Act and Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund Regulation control how the fund operates, what losses are eligible for compensation and how compensation decisions are made. While the length of the claim process will vary based on the complexity of the claim, it typically takes between three to six months (in some cases, it can take longer.)

I hope this information was helpful!

ADDITIONAL READING:

Buying or leasing a car – what’s right for you?
Can I return a new car?
Can you spot a shady used car deal?