February 01, 2016

New Rules Keep Consumers Informed

Starting February 1, consumers will have stronger protections when it comes to buying a vehicle in Saskatchewan.  New vehicle dealer regulations are being incorporated in The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act,which is administered by the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA).

These new rules work to ensure two outcomes: protecting consumers and ensuring fair trading in the marketplace.  Licensed dealers have new advertising requirements and vehicle history disclosure rules, as well as new minimum warranty requirements on the sale of used vehicles.  The regulations now cover leasing activities on the part of the dealer.  Additionally, unlicensed dealers now face stiffer penalties and fines for selling without a licence.

The Drive Away Price

Consumer complaints about extra fees and charges above and beyond the advertised price have led to these new rules.  Licensed dealers must include accurate pricing in their advertising.  If a dealer advertises a vehicle for a specific price in an ad, that price must include any fees and levies up front (not including taxes), this is called “The Drive Away Price.”

The Vehicle’s History
Licensed dealers are required to tell consumers important information that might affect their decision to buy.  Some of these disclosure requirements include, but are not limited to: providing a SGI VIN search, disclosing if a vehicle had its odometer rolled back, if it was a rental, and if the vehicle is new and was damaged in transit totalling more than 20 per cent of its value.

Buy From a Licensed Dealer, Not a Curber
The FCAA encourages all consumers to purchase vehicles from licensed dealers.  These new protections do not apply to private sales. Unlicensed persons who are in the business of selling vehicles for profit represent a serious risk to consumers.  Known for parking vehicles on the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign in the window, these unlicensed sellers are referred to as “curbers” or “curbsiders.”  Consumer complaints related to curber activity often relate to hidden damage, unexpected repair costs, odometers being rolled back or the sale of vehicles that aren’t road worthy.

FCAA411
Consumers can ask a dealer for their licence number and confirm the validity on www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/fcaa411/.

More infomation can be found at www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/CPD-VD.

Contact FCAA

If consumers have questions about used vehicle purchases or have a dispute with a licensed dealer, they can contact FCAA toll free at 1-877-880-5550 or by email at consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca.