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I want to buy a car from a used car dealer. What do I need to know?

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I want to buy a car from a used car dealer. What do I need to know?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

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I want to buy a car from a used car dealer. What do I need to know?
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Reviewed: 
December 31, 2016
Answer

Used car dealers must be registered with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC). When you buy from a registered dealer, you are protected by rules about how a car can be sold in Ontario.

Some examples of how the rules can protect you are:

  • all-in price advertising, which means they can’t charge you any extra fees for the car, except taxes
  • cancellation rights for up to 90 days if the dealer does not give you all the required information about the car
  • access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund, which can give you some of your money back if something goes wrong with your purchase
  • the dealer has to tell you everything about the vehicle’s history, including accidents and maintenance

You do not have this protection when you buy a car from a private seller.

Registered dealers must give you basic information about the car they want to sell, including:

  • the make, model, style, colour, and year of the car
  • the total kilometres the car has been driven
  • if the car was a rental car, police cruiser, taxi, or emergency services vehicle
  • if the car is different now from its original design and features
  • any other fact about the quality of the car that could affect your decision to buy it

The dealer must give you a written contract when you buy the car. This contract is usually called a purchase agreement. The contract must include:

  • your name and address
  • the dealer’s registered name, registration number, and the business address
  • the sales person’s registered name and registration number
  • the date of the sale and the date the car is delivered
  • the VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number)
  • information about the total price, including all charges and taxes, and
  • any deposit or down payment you made, and the balance due

Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act says that a dealer cannot make false or misleading statements about the car. Making false, misleading or deceptive statements in order to sell a car is known as an unfair practice.

If the dealer used an unfair practice to get you to buy the car, and you are within 1 year of when you signed the agreement, you can cancel it.

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