We often get questions from consumers about buying new and used vehicles and returning a new car. While we don’t have authority over these areas, we are always happy to offer a referral if there is an organization that is better equipped to help you. Read on for examples of some of these types of consumer questions and our answers.
A question about buyer’s remorse:
Hi there, I recently bought a new car from a dealership. Once I got home and had a conversation with my wife about our finances, I realized that we cannot afford the monthly payments. Can I return the car? I’ve barely driven it at all.
Our answer: Thank you for your question. There is no law that gives consumers the right to easily return a vehicle so generally speaking, you likely can’t return it. You could try contacting the dealer or find out if there are any cancellation provisions in your purchase agreement. You could also contact the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) as they license motor dealerships and salespeople in BC. Here is their website. You can also contact them at email@example.com or by phone at 604-575-7255 or toll free 1-877-294-9889. I hope this helps!
A question about buying a used car:
I’m trying to buy a used vehicle and I’ve found one that seems to be from a legitimate private seller. How do I know if the person I’m dealing with is legitimate or if they’re working for a business and posing as a private seller (ie. “curber”)?
Our answer: It can be hard to determine the legitimacy of a private seller. The Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) has a page on their website that helps consumers identify curber red flags. One of which is if the seller has more than one vehicle listed with the same phone number. You can find this webpage here. According to the VSA, curbers offer none of the protections the law provides for purchases from a Vehicle Sales Authority licensed dealer, so it might be good idea to become familiar with the red flags. Best of luck!
A question about returning a faulty new car:
I bought a new car from a dealership and I’m hearing horrible sounds coming from the engine and I think there might be something seriously wrong with it. I just bought it a couple weeks ago, I should be able to return it and get a functioning vehicle. What are my options here?
Our answer: Hi there, thank you for your question. The organization which oversees the law governing certain aspects of dealerships is the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA), so I would suggest you contact them directly. There is no law that gives consumers the right to easily return a vehicle. According to their website, you may be able to return a vehicle if the dealership has an advertised or stated return policy, if the vehicle did not meet the minimum standards for a vehicle to be driven on the road at the time of purchase, or if there was a material misrepresentation of the vehicle at the time of purchase. You can find out more about this on their webpage here. I might suggest taking a look at the How to Resolve a Dispute and Filing a Complaint with the VSA Fact Sheets. This may not apply to your situation but there is also the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), which is a program that allows disputes between consumers and vehicle manufacturers to be resolved through binding arbitration. They deal with disputes about alleged defects in the assembly of a vehicle or implementation of the new vehicle warranty. Please note that FCA Canada Ltd. (Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM trucks) does not participate in CAMVAP’s program, therefore claims for FCA will not be accepted. I hope this helps and best of luck!
Our organization is responsible for overseeing certain consumer protection laws in British Columbia. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best solution. Either way, we will do our best to give you the most relevant information.
Can I return a new car?
Can you spot a shady used car deal?
Watch out for curbers!
Getting your first car? Read this before you sign the sales slip
Buying a used car: common questions about damage declarations
51 thoughts on “Dear Consumer Protection BC: vehicle questions”
You are using plural pronouns for singular nouns
You could also contact the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of BC as they (should be it)
You can also contact them (should be it)
(VSA) has a page on their website (should be its)
There are many other examples of the same error in your text
Hi there, thank you for taking the time to comment on our blog. We like to take a more friendly tone when we talk about other organizations so we treat collective nouns as plural (which is the British English approach). We appreciate your feedback and we are always grateful for spelling or grammar corrections. Thanks again 🙂
I taught esl for 20 years and you are being excessive.
When referring to a company or organization, using the personal pronoun of they or them is fine because we are assuming that the building or company do the action, it would be the people in the organization who do the action. Therefore, personal pronouns.
I agree with you and what Amanda said in her original comment. Thank you for taking the time to write to us!
are documentation fees legal?
Hi Shan, thank you for your question. I also responded to your question on our Facebook post, but here is what I said: According to the Vehicle Sales Authority, documentation fees are legal in BC. However, these fees do need to be clearly and accurately disclosed in the total price of the vehicle ad. There is more information on this here: https://mvsabc.com/consumer-tips/whats-deal-dealer-fees/. I hope this helps!
I just purchased a used car with mine as a ttadr. I have signed the contract but have not taken possession. Do I have to go thru with the sale.
Hi Gail, generally speaking, you cannot return a car as there is no cooling off period in BC for vehicle purchases. Having said that, you may want to contact the Vehicle Sales Authority if you have any further questions about your transaction. Their contact information is here – https://mvsabc.com/contact-us/. I hope this information is useful to you.
Hi I had a problem with my transmission (it was making a weird noise) i serviced my transmission fluid from a oil change place and they used the correct fluid but now the dealership is saying its not warranty covered? i explained to them the problem was was happening before i changed the fluid. can they just void the warranty ?
Hi Robin, thanks for reaching out to us here with your question. Like the blog post suggests, we have no authority when it comes to issues around vehicles. I think the organization you would want to speak to is the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (VSA). They regulate licensed dealerships in the province. Here’s a link to their contact info so you can direct your question to them: https://mvsabc.com/contact-us/. I hope this is helpful to you and best of luck! 🙂
We purchased a motorhome as a private sale in August. It was advertised as being in “excellent” condition. Due to the location of the buyer which was not in our vicinity we were unable to have the vehicle thoroughly inspected before purchasing. We had to trust that the seller was giving us truthful information. After we had paid for the motorhome we discovered some serious problems. It was barely drivable and would not have passed Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection. We were fortunate not to have had a serious accident. We immediately contacted the seller to express our disappointment and concerns and gave him the opportunity to refund some of the purchase price in case he was not aware of the condition of the motorhome when he sold it to us. This would offset the repairs needed to make the vehicle roadworthy We did not receive a response and have since had to make the repairs at considerable expense. And, we have since discovered many more issues that he misinformed us about. All the information we got from him with was false and misleading with the intention of deceiving us into making this purchase. My understanding is that legally this could be considered misrepresentation and could be grounds to take him to small claims court not only for refund of the original price but also of the considerable sums we had to pay to make the vehicle roadworthy to get any kid of use out of it at all. In your opinion would we have any success in small claims court for misrepresentation in this situation?
Hi Marlyn, thanks for reaching out to us here with your issue – that sounds frustrating. We are not in a position to offer legal advice, and we can’t help with consumer to consumer transactions, but I’m happy to offer as much info as possible here. What I would suggest is trying out the Lawyer Referral Service offered by the Canadian Bar Association – you can speak to a lawyer for 30 minutes for about $25. Here’s a link to more info on that: https://www.cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Lawyer-Referral-Service. I hope this is helpful to you and best of luck, Marlyn. – Amanda
Same thing just happened to me. Wondering what ended up happening with your situation. Thanks
Hello, today my friend parked her car in a private parking lot, paid the fee, yet had her vehicle towed by mistake. The parking lot belongs to IMpark, and the towing company is Drake Towing. When being called, IMpark says they are not sure why the car was towed, but “just call the number on the ticket when you get the car back”, and Drake Towing refused to let us even look at any paperwork before we pay, and kept repeating “if you want your car back, pay $120.” When asked if they are extorting, they simply said: “that’s how it works here, that’s how things are done here, do you have a problem?” Please refer me to a regulatory agency regarding private parking and towing companies, as neither offer any kind of transparent dispute mechanism, customer service or even display any hint of professionalism. I am very saddened and frustrated by Drake Towing’s business practice, as it basically resembles organized crime.
Oscar (from Vancouver BC)
Hi Oscar, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, parking companies are not regulated by any governmental organizations so the only place you may be able to report their business practice is the Better Business Bureau (if they are registered with them). The other option is to dispute the fine through CRT (Civil Resolution Tribunal). The process can be completed online and here’s their website with more information if you are interested in taking this further – https://civilresolutionbc.ca/. Sorry that there isn’t much more we can offer.
Purchase new truck ram brand new. Dealer told me the truck warranty 3years/60k but i purchased extended to make basic to 5yrs/100000km. But i got extended warranty in mail 10days after the signing the contract. only got 4years and 8months left. I think its a fraud. What should i do? Can i return the truck?
Hi Ronald, thanks for your question. It’s my understanding that, generally speaking, in BC you cannot return a new vehicle. That said, like the blog post mentions, we have no legal authority when it comes to vehicles sales in BC. I would suggest you contact the Vehicle Sales Authority, as they regulate licensed car dealerships in the province to see if they can answer the questions you have. You mention fraud, I don’t totally understand the context of that, but if you believe there is fraud involved in your situation, you may be interested in reporting that to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre so they are aware of it. I hope this helps and best of luck!
Purchased a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric recently only to find out that two(2) features listed as included on the pamplet and brochure are not actually included. Dealer apologized and stated that they get the marketing brochures from Hyundai Canada. Contacted Hyundai Canada only to get a box of useless stuff as an apology. Is there any recourse for the misrepresentation and false advertising?
Hi Andrew, for advertising issues you may want to contact the Advertising Standards Canada. Their website is here and this page explains how the complaint procedure works. I hope they will be able to point you in the right direction!
Purchased a used car only four year old with 29000k on it.. Within two hours of leaving the lot the vehicle broke down in traffic and would not move. The vehicle was towed back to the dealer the same day awaiting to hear back about it tomorrow as it was bought Saturday and they’re closed Sundays. Do I have grounds to exit the purchase?
Hi Tony, thank you for asking a question here. As the post suggests, the organization which oversees the law governing certain aspects of dealerships is the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA). The links to their website, contact phone number and email are all included in the post so please contact them and see if you have any recourse. Best of luck!
I took my RV to mechanic shop to have a leaky exhaust issue fixed. This was on May 8th. They still have my RV and despite daily phone assurances I will get the vehicle soon, and I do not have my vehicle. The last time I called them they indicted the bill will likely be around $7000!! but they wouldn’t know until they were finished. Do I need the police?/
Hi Ray, thanks for your question. I would work with the business to try to come to a solution. It’s my understanding this would not be a matter for the police. However, if you are not able to resolve the issue with the business directly, your recourse would likely be through the courts. If you would like to speak to a lawyer about this, you may be interested to know that the Canadian Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service where you can speak to a lawyer for 30 minutes for approximately $25. Here’s a link to more info on that: https://www.cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Lawyer-Referral-Service. I hope this helps and best of luck!
You can also contact the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC consumer services department with your complaint.
I purchased a used car from a private dealer shop, but the vehicle inspection sheet they provided me before the purchase may not be true.
I had to repair / replace 3+ items after driving 2,300km. Ended up paying 1500+ dollars for repair before 3 months of the purchase. (New inspection / repair was done at the infiniti dealershop)
Am I eligible to ask dealer to pay the portion?
Hi Lloyd, thank you for asking a question! In BC, there is no law that gives consumers the right to easily return a vehicle or get a refund for certain repair costs. Having said that, the organization which oversees the law governing certain aspects of dealerships is the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA), so I would suggest you contact them directly.
Hi. The only issue is the VSA does not advocate for the consumer. Their job is in regards to the vehicle purchase act. I’m currently in a dispute and the VSA is involved but they are not advocating for me. Who deals with that? Who is there to say “this consumer was treated unfairly in this transaction. These are their rights, which were ignored, here’s how you will be held accountable”?
Hi Traci, thanks for reaching out to us here with your questions. While I can’t speak to the details of your situation or the context of your complaint, the VSA does oversee laws around dealerships focused on consumer protections around disclosures and safety. If you are unhappy with the outcome of your dispute with the VSA, you can submit a complaint to the provincial Ombudsperson, who is responsible for reviewing decisions made by the VSA. What consumer laws/rights do you believe were ignored? If I know more I may be able to provide you with a more specific referral.
While I don’t know the details of your situation yet, you can always pursue your issue with the dealership in the courts if you’re unable to resolve it through the VSA. The Civil Resolution Tribunal can helps with claims up to $5,000 and Small Claims court can help with disputes over and above that amount. I hope this helps and please let me know if I’ve misunderstood. Thanks again for reaching out to us.
Hi. After getting the new car yesterday, as we check the finance amount, the trade amount is not the amount we agreed. We agreed trade in for 12500 but noticed when we got home that they only put 11201.67. Does toyota dealership can tax my trade-in amount? Thank you
Hi Mary, thanks for reaching out to us here with your question. Like the blog post suggests, we have no authority when it comes to issues around vehicles. I think the organization you would want to speak to is the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (VSA). They regulate licensed dealerships in the province. Here’s a link to their contact info so you can direct your question to them: https://mvsabc.com/contact-us/. I hope this is helpful to you and best of luck!
The VSA representative told me, and it flat out says it on their website as well, that they are not on the side of the consumer, nor of the seller. They are not there to advocate for the consumer. In my case the paperwork was wrong, the car was misrepresented and the history/previous use was not disclosed to me. The VSA cannot force the dealership to do much really, it only levies it’s own administration fees for breeches and can cancel a salespersons or dealerships license. But THERE IS RELATIVELY LITTLE THEY CAN OR WILL DO FOR THE CONSUMER WHO SUFFERED THE LOSS. To recoup any of the costs a consumer has to take the dealership to court. Even the compensation fund the rules are so strict that for every claim they pay 3 more are denied even if the VSA found in favour of the person making the complaint. They have very stringent criteria for what constitutes a payable claim. All in all insofar as I can tell the VSA, from the standpoint of the consumer, is fairly useless, though they may serve an industry purpose.
To whom it may concern,
I leased to own a 2016 Ford F-150 Lariat 3.5 Ecoboost truck on January 30, 2017.
Without any indicators from any of the icons or warning lights on the instrument cluster, my truck started to lose power.
November 10, 2019. I decided to take the truck back to the dealership the next day November 11, 2019, and left the keys in the dropbox.
After waiting for approx. 3 weeks to find out what was wrong with my engine, I received a call from a service advisor from the dealership, stating my engine was blown.
I was in disbelief because the truck only has 48,000 km.
This has been going on since November 11, 2019, I still haven’t got my truck back and I’m paying the monthly lease and insurance.
The service manager tells me the whole engine is blown including the turbos and it’s going to cost me approx. $14,0000 to be fixed.
Again total disbelief.
I was requested by the service manager to provide maintenance receipts because of the “lack of maintenance” which in their opinion was the cause.
I had my oil service performed by another shop and not Ford, maybe that adds to some of the decision makings.
Yes, there’s sludge inside the engine but I provided oil change receipts as per the dealerships request all within the manufacturer’s guidelines.
On request from the dealership I also had an oil analysis performed by Finning Tractor in Langley, B.C. Which came back with high concentrations of H20 with normal wear.
This dealership and Ford Canada haven’t even looked at what other reasons may have caused the sludge to get inside an engine with 48,000 km. Furthermore, any other mechanical issues that may have caused the breakdown of this engine.
For both turbos to be blown is very rare and no metal fragments anywhere inside the engine compartment or oil analysis.
That’s why I’m reaching out today because I’m at the end of my rope and no one from the dealership or Ford Canada will respond to my emails.
Not only do I have the engine warranty issue, there’s a leasing issue where it indicates the lease expires on January 30, 2020, but they wrote it as a 48 month.
We have had 4 previous leases from Ford over the years and all of them have been for 36 months, never for 48 months.
Finally, the mileage was horrible and not what it was advertised.
I’ve attached the two letters I emailed on January 16, 2020, to the dealerships GM & SM, still as of today January 29, 2020, no response.
The insurance expires on January 30, 2020
Lease states January 30, 2020, contract expires with a $16,000 buyout.
I’m looking to speak to someone that could look over my evidence and guide me, which way to go.
Thank you for your time.
Hi Bryan, thanks for reaching out to us here. Like the blog post suggests, this isn’t something our office has any authority over. The folks to speak to about issues with dealerships are the Vehicle Sales Authority. Their contact info is the blog post. Thanks and best of luck!
they won’t help anyone who has a vehicle registered under a company – even if it’s sole proprietorship. what now?
Hi Marrie, thank you for reaching out to us. Have you tried talking to a lawyer? That may be a good next step. You can visit the Access Pro Bono website and see if you qualify for their service. Here is their website. I hope you will be able to get the help you need.
My son Bought used car from dealer, price agreed was aprox. 18000/. When he came home I saw purchase agreement, I saw that they borrowed $29800/ from bank on his behalf, because they added warranties and scratch fee. On third day he called to warranty company to cancel the warranty. Warranty co, said that he need to talk to dealer. He called dealer that why he borrowed $29800/ instead of agreed price $18000/. They said that warranties are added and you have signed the purchase final sale agreement, it means you agreed. Car sale and all products including warranties and service were final and can not be cancelled as per BC law.
Is it true that car and warranties can not be cancelled ,once agreement is signed?
Which section of BC and Canadian law says that car and warranties can not be cancelled at all?
What we can do?
Hello and thank you for contacting us here. Car dealerships are regulated by the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (VSA) but as far as we know, you are not able to return a vehicle you purchased. There are no laws in BC that allow for a cooling-off period or 30-day return or anything similar to that nature. You may want to visit VSA’s website for more information as they are the authority and have more information. Here’s a page you may want to look at.
VSA helps and corners auto dealer sales industry and not consumers or public, better to not complain to VSA, but to go to small claims court. VSA accuse claimant rather.
Question…My son signed a purchase agreement for a new 2021 vehicle with the words DOWN PAYMENT REQUIRED which was agreed $5000. He was unaware when he made that agreement that its money locked in & he can’t get access to it anytime soon. So what happens now? Is the agreement void? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. There is no law that gives consumers the right to easily void a vehicle purchase agreement so generally speaking, your son will likely have to keep it. You and your son could try contacting the dealer or find out if there are any cancellation provisions in his agreement. You could also contact the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) as they license motor dealerships and salespeople in BC. Here is their website.
I am a resident of British Columbia, Canada.
I am writing to inform of the unfair system that I recently experienced when purchasing a new car and to ask for your serious consideration for the improvement in related to this matter.
I visited one of BMW and Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Vancouver to buy a new car for my family.
While talking with dealers about the contract after examining the models and even test-driving, I found that dealers suggested a same option, which was hard to understand.
I was told that many Chinese people take profits by buying expensive cars and reselling them to China right away. So, dealers are receiving a certain amount of deposit from customers no matter what the reason may be.
For instance, you should pay additional 25,000CAD for a deposit to purchase a car value of 140,000CAD for the reselling preventive purpose. And you can get this deposit back by the time you prove yourself at the dealership with your car after 6 months or with a total vehicles mileage of 5,000km and over.
I am very concerned by this system.
1. If you do not agree to this option, you will not be able to purchase a car. In other words, this is a compulsory option.
2. The system is based on the attitude treating a good citizen as a potential criminal.
3. They pass the responsibility of the Chinese purchasers and the control for the sold car to the good citizens who have nothing to do with the issue.
4. The dealer takes unfair financial profit from these deposits while purchasers lose out as much as a deposit amount as a result, without any reason.
5. Finally, treating good citizens as potential criminals is a gross violation of human rights.
For this reason, I would like to ask British Columbia government authorities to recognize the importance of this matter and take corrective measures.
I sincerely thank you for all the work you have done in this hard time due to Covid-19.
Hello and thank you for submitting your comment here. Since your concerns are related to vehicle sales and involve car dealerships, you may want to bring this issue to the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC. They license and regulate car dealerships and salespeople in BC. Here is their website and I hope they will be able to listen to your concerns.
Good day everyone.
What is the minimum warranty a British Columbia car dealer has to give?
Hi Gilbert, thank you for contacting us. Warranties are not regulated in BC so I’m not sure if there is a standard for the vehicle industry. You may want to contact Vehicle Sales Authority of BC and check with them. They license and regulate car dealerships and salespeople in BC. Here is their website – https://www.mvsabc.com/. I hope they will be able to provide you with further information.
In November 2021 I financed a 2022 Corolla Cross. It’s almost the end of Jan 2022 and the car hasn’t arrived. What was to be a mid month arrival, now i’m being told will be be an end of Feb-early March. I signed the initial paperwork for approval on the car selected and was asked to put a $1000 down for the car. But now i don’t know if i want to continue with this and i am not sure what my options are. Will i be held to this contract even with no car? Will i lose out on the money I’ve put down? I am unsure. any feedback would be appreciated.
Hi Smara, thank you for reaching out to us. We do not oversee vehicle sales in BC but as far as we know, there is no cooling-off period. I’m not sure if this is the same if the car has not arrived yet but you may want to check with the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) and see if they have any further information. Here’s VSA’s website – I hope they will be able to point you in the right direction!
Hello , I have a question for you,
I ordered my new car in November 2021
And dealership gave me estimate 4 to 5 months , after 4 and half months I don’t have any updates.
I asked to sales manager on the phone what is my spot in Queue he told me 48 and after 2 weeks later I asked same question and he told me 60 .
There is something not right and Consumers are helpless.
Just wondering if someone offered them more money 5000$ maybe , they can change my spot and give to someone. Can they ?
Dealership name is Toyota destination Burnaby BC Canada
Hi John, thank you for contacting Consumer Protection BC. Car dealerships in BC are regulated by Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) and they would be better suited to answer your questions. You can find more information and their contacts on their website here. I hope you will be able to get your car soon!
Dealership needs me to place non refundable deposit to get the new vehicle.
However the car’s color changed and the delivery date changed as well, can I get my deposit back?
Hey Louis, thanks for reaching out. The Vehicle Sales Authority regulates dealerships in BC. They might have an answer for you. You can submit your question and learn about your options on their website here: https://www.mvsabc.com/ . I hope this helps!