Do you know about vicarious liability?

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As a business owner, you train your staff to act responsibly while providing great customer service. The actions and words of your salespeople can adversely affect your business through vicarious liability.

Vicarious liability

Vicarious liability refers to a situation where a person is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. In a workplace scenario, an employer can be held responsible for the wrongful or negligent actions or omissions of their employees while they are acting in the course of their employment. If your salesperson breaches the Consumer Protection Act or the regulations or engages in some other wrongful or negligent actions or omissions, the business is deemed to have committed those actions or omissions and may be held responsible if those actions or omissions occurred while the salesperson worked at the business.  

Manage your salespeople

Make sure your employees know what they can and cannot do under the Consumer Protection Act and Automotive Business Regulation. For example, you don’t want your salesperson hounding a potential customer with excessive emails, text messages and phone calls to close a sale. This would count as exertion of undue pressure, which is an Unfair Practice under the Consumer Protection Act.

Not just salespeople

Do you provide service and repair at your business as well? Your technician who helped the customer at the front desk who has refused to provide a written estimate after the customer asked several times will be violating Section 31.6 of the Automotive Business Regulation.

Social media counts, too

The salesperson posting about how they can help customers get financing for a new car can be breaking advertising laws, if the social media post does not have enough legally required information.

Provide adequate training

AMVIC has an advertising toolkit that can help staff know what must be included in an ad, as well as an FAQ on social media advertising.

AMVIC has useful guides on the additional laws introduced on Oct. 31, 2018 to help businesses comply and develop their own material to use.

Those in the service and repair industry can take a voluntary online course to understand the laws that apply to service and repair.

Visit amvic.org to learn about your licence roles and responsibilities, and to use as a training and resource tool for your staff.

Disclaimer: the information provided is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should seek the advice of independent legal counsel.