Research the vehicle before you’re surprised by undisclosed damage

| Consumer bulletins

Extreme weather events across Alberta this year, including flooding and hail storms, have caused significant damage to property and vehicles. There is a chance that the used-vehicle market could include some weather-damaged or improperly repaired vehicles.

If you’re shopping for a vehicle at an automotive business or planning to buy privately, make sure you do some research on the vehicle you’re interested in. No one wants to have to deal with any hidden surprises.

Purchasing from an automotive business:

Section 31.1(1) of the Automotive Business Regulation requires automotive business operators to disclose vehicle history in writing to the consumer before the purchase. Here are some of the disclosure requirements:

  • Was the vehicle ever damaged by fire or flooding?
  • Was the vehicle ever declared a salvage vehicle in Alberta, or the equivalent under another jurisdiction?
  • Was the vehicle ever declared a non-repairable vehicle in Alberta, or the equivalent under another jurisdiction?
  • Was the vehicle ever in need of repairs that cost more than $3,000 including parts and labour due to an incident or collision? If yes, the total cost to complete the repairs must be disclosed.

For the full list of requirements and AMVIC’s used vehicle purchase guide, visit

If the vehicle history was not disclosed properly, contact AMVIC’s consumer services team by filing a complaint or calling toll free at 1-877-979-8100 ext. 2002.

Purchasing privately:

AMVIC recommends private buyers purchase one or more vehicle history reports. You can find a lot of information from vehicle history reports including the number of previous owners, recorded accident history, reported service records, vehicle use, odometer reading as well as other useful vehicle information.

Get another opinion:

Whether buying privately or from an automotive business, consumers should consider hiring an automotive technician who can perform an independent inspection on the vehicle you are interested in purchasing so you can be aware of:

  • any hidden damage,
  • repairs the vehicle may have had, and
  • if the components of the vehicle will need replacing or repairs in the near future.

The more information you have on the vehicle, the better informed your decision to purchase will be. This will mitigate the risk of purchasing a damaged vehicle, possibly saving time, money and stress.