Even on Boxing Day, a deposit is a commitment to buy

| Consumer bulletins

Boxing Day vehicle ads might have you rushing to put down a deposit to snag a deal, but do you know there is “no cooling off” period in Alberta? This means if you make a deposit for a vehicle, unless it is specified as a refundable deposit, you have just committed to buy that vehicle. The only way you can cancel the contract is if the seller has a policy that says you can. Even if the seller agrees to cancel the contract, they could keep your deposit.

AMVIC can only investigate deposit-related complaints if there is evidence that the consumer was misled, which is an unfair practice (Consumer Protection Act). Deposit-related complaints where a consumer has signed a contract and there is no evidence of an unfair practice are out of AMVIC’s jurisdiction, and become a civil matter.

Keep note of these handy holiday shopping tips:

Before you go:

  • What is your budget? Focus on the total cost of the vehicle, not the monthly payment when setting a budget.
  • Understand all-in pricing.
  • Ask for help from a trusted friend or relative.
  • Understand that if you put down a deposit, you have decided to buy the vehicle.

While you’re there:

  • If you have to put down a deposit to secure the vehicle, is the deposit refundable? Ask questions and ensure you get a deposit agreement and receipt in writing.
  • Read every word in a document. If it requires a signature…it is important!
  • Get a bill of sale and review it to be sure all information is accurate and complete. Use a vehicle purchase guide to ensure the bill of sale contains all the relevant information.

Many consumers may have buyer’s remorse or regret spending too much on gifts over the holidays. Remember, once you sign that purchase contract, you are legally obligated to buy the vehicle.

Keep these tips in mind after you buy and into the new year:

  • Stop shopping after you sign a purchase contract, even if you find a better deal.
  • Ensure you have copies of all documents and keep them in a safe place.
  • If you feel you were treated unfairly, you can file a complaint with AMVIC.

Use AMVIC’s consumer purchase guides to help you understand your rights. If you have questions or concerns before, during or after a vehicle purchase, contact AMVIC’s consumer services team at 1-877-979-8100 ext. 2002.