In light of recent increased attention on deposits and contracts, AMVIC has issued a bulletin to consumers reminding them to read and understand everything carefully before signing any documents.
AMVIC provides resources available on our website for both industry and consumers. For example, our deposit form reminds consumers what questions to ask the next time they go shopping for a vehicle.
Although deposit and contract disputes will often be civil, AMVIC can get involved if an unfair practice has occurred.
Section 6(2)(a) of the Consumer Protection Act (formerly known as the Fair Trading Act) states it is an unfair practice “to exert undue pressure or influence on the consumer to enter into the consumer transaction.” For example, telling the consumer that they must sign a bill of sale and purchase or finance the vehicle outright before ever seeing the vehicle could be considered a breach of the legislation.
Additionally, section 6(3)(c) states that it is an unfair practice “to include in a consumer transaction terms or conditions that are harsh, oppressive or excessively one-sided.” AMVIC may investigate if the deposit or contract’s terms and conditions are too one-sided and restrictive.
It is good practice that all salespeople work with their customers to ensure the customer fully understands all agreements and has read every detail including footnotes and fine print, before they sign. Taking time to help customers understand what they are signing can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts from arising, and ensure the business or salesperson is not accused of engaging in an unfair practice or breaching the Code of Conduct.
Check out AMVIC’s newsroom section on our website to find more bulletins for both consumers and industry. Industry members are welcome to sign up for our consumer bulletins to stay informed of consumer issues.