Automobile Protection Association (APA) - 2009-10

292 St-Joseph Blvd, West
Montreal, Quebec
H2V 2N7
Tel.: 514-867-1662
Fax: 514-273-0797

1. APA Investigation of Existing and New Regulations Covering Used Vehicle Retailing in Three Canadian Markets

$93,400

Used cars account for approximately 4 million vehicle sales a year. Of that number just over half are sold by dealers. No two used vehicles are exactly the same, so consumers rely on advertising and the seller's representations for information even more than they do when shopping for a new vehicle. Consumers depend on advertising for their information regarding vehicle price, terms of financing, mileage, and condition. The APA has confirmed that on-site representations by dealers are frequently incomplete and/or deceptive. The APA will study used vehicle retailing by compiling automobile ads, and making on-site visits to verify compliance with regulations already in place and promised new regulations on advertising and disclosure of vehicle information. A previous APA investigation has shown that approximately 20% of classified advertising is placed by dealers wanting to pass themselves off as private parties. In many cases, these sellers, called "curbsiders", sell from residential addresses and pose as private parties. APA will include curbsiders in its sample.

Expected Outcome

APA's work will alert consumers to the hazards of buying a vehicle from an unregistered used car dealer.

APA's work will assist regulators in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario with their enforcement priorities. In Quebec, the findings will determine if dealers are following the new advertising guidelines introduced in January 2007. In Ontario, APA will verify to the level of compliance with pending rules applicable to the advertising and sale of used vehicles coming into force in the spring of 2009. APA will supplement OMVIC, the Ontario regulator, for its work on curbsiders. Interestingly, these objectives dovetail with the priorities of the used car dealer associations in both provinces. In Vancouver, the APA will determine if new procedures introduced by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia have reduced the presence of severely damaged vehicles offered for sale.