Protection for consumers in the auto marketplace

DATE: | News releases

Buy or lease? New or used? Qualified technician or backyard mechanic?

The maze of car, truck and recreational vehicle dealerships can be overwhelming. Add to that the choices in automotive repair shops. How do you know which business to choose? Where do you find accurate, unbiased information? The Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council’s (AMVIC) website is great place to start.

AMVIC is the regulator of the automotive industry in Alberta. Over a decade ago the government delegated AMVIC the responsibility to oversee Alberta’s automotive industry. The Council is led by an 11-member board of directors who represent the interests of consumers and many types of automotive businesses.

In Alberta, if you want to sell, lease, consign or repair motor vehicles you must get an AMVIC license. It’s the law. Through pre-screening of business operators, training salespeople and active enforcement, this organization works hard to drive a fair automotive marketplace for Albertans.

“AMVIC’s top priority is to maintain a level playing field for businesses and consumers” says Bob Hamilton, Executive Director at AMVIC. “Businesses should be able to compete fairly. Consumers should be protected against unethical and illegal business practices. When the marketplace fails to meet these expectations, AMVIC is there to help.” 

An important job for AMVIC is to monitor the activities of automotive businesses throughout the province. Peace Officers at AMVIC check out businesses to make sure they are properly licensed. They also investigate complaints.

Hamilton says used vehicle purchases and issues with vehicle repairs top the list of complaints from consumers. “We take complaints seriously. We want businesses to be fair and to meet their responsibilities under the law. We want consumers to be informed about their rights and responsibilities..” 

AMVIC investigates upwards of 1,500 complaints every year. Sometimes an investigation will result in restitution for the consumer – but not always. When there is evidence that a business is operating outside the rules of the Fair Trading Act or the Criminal Code, Peace Officers have the authority to lay charges. A business can lose its AMVIC license and the court can assess a monetary fine or jail term. Hamilton says that last year AMVIC laid 300 charges against Alberta businesses. “Enforcement is an important part of our mandate but we also strongly believe in the value of education and information.” 

The Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council publishes valuable pre-purchase tips on our website. A simple search tool allows consumers to check the name of a dealership or salesperson to make sure they are properly licensed.

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Bob Hamilton
Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council