Think you’re a pretty savvy car buyer? Understand dealer advertising? Let’s check; and find out if your consumer smarts are stuck in first gear or set on cruise control.
If a dealer’s advertisement includes a price for a car, which of the following is true?
A) There are likely to be additional fees or charges that aren’t included in the advertised price.
B) The advertised price must be “all-in,” the only extra charges will be for HST and licensing
C) There are no rules around dealer advertising; it’s buyer beware!
And for you visual learners, how about the ad to the right — is it legal?
The answers are B, and NO; and there’s a 73 per cent chance you got the answers wrong. That’s because only 27 per cent of Ontarians know that when a dealer advertises a price for a vehicle, the price MUST be “all-in.”
What exactly is all-in pricing?
If a dealer advertises a price for a vehicle (new or used), the price MUST include ALL fees and charges the dealer intends to collect – IT’S the LAW. These fees or charges include:
• PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
• Administration (Admin) fee(s)
• Government levies (air tax, etc.)
• OMVIC fee ($10)
• Safety and e-test (unless the vehicle is being offered unfit and the ad contains the mandatory “Unfit Vehicle” statement)
• The cost of any products or services the dealer has pre-installed on the vehicle (e.g. nitrogen in tires, etching, etc.)
The only additional fees an Ontario dealer can charge are HST and licensing (i.e. the cost of vehicle registration/plates). It is important to note however that vehicle manufacturers are not regulated by OMVIC, the province’s vehicle sales regulator, and therefore ads placed by manufacturers do not have to comply with the all-in price advertising law. That said, some manufacturers voluntarily comply with the all-in pricing provisions and commendably provide transparency to consumers.
Enforcing the law
“Consumer groups and the vast majority of dealers support all-in pricing, however OMVIC still finds unacceptable levels of non-compliance by a minority of dealers,” explains Terry O’Keefe, OMVIC Director of Communications and Education. “When a dealer adds hidden fees that aren’t included in the advertised price, it’s unfair to the customer and it’s unfair to those dealers who do advertise all-in prices.” That’s why the provincial regulator rigorously enforces the advertising regulations – and all enforcement decisions are available to the public at omvic.ca.
And in those rare instances where a consumer encounters a dealer trying to add fees that exceed the advertised price: “Let your feet do the talking.”
That may seem an unusual message from a regulator, but it’s actually the same message you’ll hear from the majority of dealers who comply with the regulations; transparency and a level playing field benefits consumers and dealers alike. For more information visit omvic.ca