Consumer services is the first point of contact for anyone who has a concern or complaint about an automotive business or salesperson in Alberta. A person can contact consumer services to ask questions, discuss concerns and to get information about the complaint process.
AMVIC has authority to look into automotive businesses and salespeople for breaches of the legislation that AMVIC enforces. If there is evidence of a breach of the legislation, the complaint will be passed along to the investigations team to investigate, who may recommend progressive enforcement action to the Director of Fair Trading.
AMVIC may not have jurisdiction to deal with every concern. Every individual concern is unique and will be reviewed and considered according to the facts and circumstances presented. AMVIC does not have authority to change or cancel contracts, or to make a business or salesperson take any particular action, including, but not limited to vehicle repairs, replacement vehicles and payments of money. AMVIC also does not have authority to pay a consumer for expenses (past or future) or damages (physical, emotional or otherwise). If a consumer is looking for a business to take a particular action, such as expense or damage payments, it would be a civil matter to be resolved between the consumer and the business, or in the courts. Any costs associated with civil matters are the responsibility of the consumer.
AMVIC can look into:
- New and used vehicle sales (including consignment)
- Vehicle repairs
- Unlicensed businesses (curbers and backyard mechanics)
- Legislated codes of conduct
- Refundable deposits
Common issues with the above may involve vehicle history information, bill of sale, liens and repair estimates.
AMVIC does not have authority to look into:
- Private sales (except curbing)
- Non-refundable deposits
- Manufacturer complaints
- Changes to vehicle status (salvage, write-off)
- Insurance matters
- Complaints about finance companies
- Complaints about vehicle parts or parts stores
- Poor workmanship
- Warranty issues
In cases where AMVIC has no jurisdiction to look into a concern, a consumer may want to consider obtaining legal advice or filing a claim through the courts. If a concern is outside AMVIC’s jurisdiction, consumer services will provide the consumer with an explanation and suggestions for other sources of assistance where appropriate. In some cases, a consumer may be able to make a claim to the Compensation Fund.
How to file a complaint
Complaints can be filed via AMVIC Online. Once a complaint is filed online and acknowledged, the consumer will be contacted by AMVIC’s consumer services team. After an online complaint is filed, a consumer services officer gathers information from the consumer and the automotive business, and if applicable, from the salesperson concerned. Each complaint will be evaluated according to its specific facts and then processed to determine the best course of action. Please note that a new account must be created for first time online complaints.
A consumer services officer may ask consumers for the following types of information:
- Details about the event that led to their complaint.
- The name and location of the automotive business involved.
- Actions the consumer has already taken to resolve the complaint.
- Supporting documentation related to the complaint.
AMVIC will encourage the consumer and the business to work together to resolve their concern. This may involve alternate dispute resolution (ADR). In attempting ADR, AMVIC must act in an impartial manner, as required by the principle of administrative fairness.
Should a situation arise where someone feels more comfortable remaining anonymous in submitting a complaint, AMVIC is partnered with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. AMVIC’s senior manager of investigations is the Crime Stoppers contact for anonymous tips. If the tip is within AMVIC’s jurisdiction to investigate, a file will be generated and an investigation will begin.
Two common types of anonymous complaints revolve around curbers and backyard mechanics, who operate without an AMVIC licence and municipal approvals. Curbers are illegal, unlicensed sellers who often mislead buyers about vehicle history and condition; backyard mechanics operate illegally, often without certified technicians. AMVIC would like to acknowledge our partnership with Crime Stoppers in the collective efforts of reducing crime.
If you have a concern or question
All tips and concerns about an automotive business or salesperson in Alberta go through AMVIC’s consumer services team at 1-877-979-8100 ext. 2002.