You should identify and disclose any information about a vehicle that might influence a consumer’s decision to buy.

AMVIC recommends you choose the appropriate vehicle history search that results in the most comprehensive results for the consumer.

Protect yourself and your customers

When a registered automotive salesperson buys a vehicle, or accepts one on trade, the salesperson should exercise due diligence – which means taking reasonable steps to determine the vehicle’s prior history.

You should ask the previous owner about the vehicle’s history and also conduct your own research.  

The following will help you determine a vehicle’s history:

  • Purchasing a vehicle history report.
  • Requesting a Vehicle Information Report through an Alberta Registry Agent.
  • Determining if the vehicle was ever given a salvage status.
  • Confirming if there are any liens on the vehicle.
  • Confirming the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Validating the odometer reading and length of ownership.
  • Determining if the vehicle was ever registered out of province or outside of Canada.
  • Conducting a mechanical fitness assessment. Ascertain the vehicle’s accident and repair history, and
  • Determining if the vehicle was used as, for example, a taxi, emergency services vehicle, or a rental.

There are different types of vehicle history reports that provide varying information. Depending on the vehicle history report provider and the available vehicle history, you may be able to determine the number of previous owners, accident history, service records, vehicle use, odometer reading and various other vehicle histories.

These reports are very useful, both when purchasing and selling vehicles.

Three of the most common types of reports accessed for historical information are CARFAX, Carproof and Vehicle Information Report.


Search accident history and liens for vehicles that have been registered in Canada or the United States. Be sure you are accessing the Canadian version when requesting a report.  


A Canadian company that provides accident history and liens for vehicles that have been registered in Canada or the United States.

Vehicle Information Report or VIR

Available for purchase from an Alberta registry agent. Provides information about a vehicle’s registration history in Alberta.  

The information contained in the VIR includes:

  • The date and time of the report
  • Vehicle description – year, make, model, style, colour, fuel type, odometer reading if available
  • Vehicle status – active, salvage, non-repairable, unsafe, rebuilt, etc. See the Vehicle Inspection Regulation for status definitions.
  • Vehicle registration – date vehicle first entered on system, licence plate classification, registration history date and location (no personal information for any current or previous owner is shown, including licence plate numbers)
  • Lien information – provides the number of liens and other related instruments which are registered in the province of Alberta and associated with the serial number (detailed information, such as the secured party and the party to whom the money is owed, can be determined by purchasing a separate Personal Property lien search)

The VIR ONLY shows information from the Alberta Motor Vehicle System. It does not include any information from other provinces or countries where the vehicle may have been registered.

 Out of province vehicles

Do your research to determine if the vehicle is from out of province.

The Vehicle Inspection Regulation states that a person shall not sell an out of province motor vehicle unless, before the sale, the person provides the buyer with:

  • A subsisting out of province motor vehicle inspection certificate for the motor vehicle, or
  • A written statement advising that the motor vehicle is an out of province motor vehicle for which there is no subsisting out of province motor vehicle inspection certificate.

The subsisting out of province motor vehicle inspection certificate is a basic safety inspection that must be performed by a certified journeyman technician who is licensed by Alberta Transportation’s Vehicle Inspection Program.

Note: This does not apply to a salvage motor vehicle.

Remember, under Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act (formerly the Fair Trading Act), it is an unfair practice to do or say anything that might reasonably deceive or mislead a consumer and it is an unfair practice to represent that goods have a particular prior history or usage if that is different from the fact. (Consumer Protection Act, formerly known as the Fair Trading Act, section 6(4)(a)(h)