Sticker price of 'lemon' just the beginning
(NC) Getting stuck with a 'lemon' is the No. 1 fear Ontario car buyers have when purchasing a used vehicle privately. Yet astonishingly, probably in a bid to save money, many are willing to take the risk and forgo all consumer protections.
A recent survey commissioned by OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council), Ontario's motor vehicle sales regulator, revealed that 59 per cent of used car purchasers said their biggest fear when buying privately would be to get a mechanically unsound vehicle that is expensive to repair.
Ironically, 43 per cent said that knowing consumer protection is only available at an Ontario-registered dealership would have no impact on where they buy the next time.
“It seems there's a disconnect between car buyers' emotions and decision-making,” observes OMVIC Manager of Communications Terry O'Keefe. “Ontarians fear buying a 'lemon,' and yet many will buy where they have no protection and little recourse in the event of a problem. When you consider the large amounts of money often involved in car purchases, it's puzzling that so many consumers seemingly give so little thought to their legal rights and protections.”
Under Ontario law, car buyers are only protected by consumer protection legislation when they buy from a registered dealer:
• All-in price advertising with no hidden fees;
• Mandatory full disclosure of a vehicle's past use, history and condition;
• Cancellation or rescission rights if specified information is not disclosed; and
• Access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.
“When you buy a car privately, you don't have access to any of this consumer protection,” O'Keefe continues. “If something goes wrong in a private transaction, or when dealing with a curbsider, you're unfortunately on your own.”
Curbsiders are unlicensed dealers who commonly pose as private sellers. Often the vehicles they sell are accident-damaged, misrepresented or odometer-tampered.
OMVIC's survey also revealed that:
• 13 per cent of private purchasers worried about overpaying for a vehicle that is misrepresented as better than it actually is;
• 9 per cent were concerned about not receiving maintenance records or being allowed to have the vehicle inspected (common curbsider tactics); and
• 73 per cent didn't know Ontario car dealers must be certified in automotive law and ethics and registered with OMVIC.
“Consumers really need to learn their rights and when they apply,” O'Keefe explains. “At least if you buy from a registered dealer, there are protections available. If you choose to buy privately, educate yourself. Make sure you're entering a safe transaction because if something goes wrong, you're on your own.”
Information to help you make better car buying decisions is available at BuyWithConfidence.ca.
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