Ontario’s vehicle-sales regulator has developed an online course designed to level the playing field and keep dealerships out of legal trouble.
The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council on Wednesday launched the Key Elements Course.
The five videos hosted on OMVIC’s website cover the following topics:
- All-in price advertising;
- Contract cancellation;
- Disclosing collision repairs;
- Disclosing vehicle condition and needed repairs, and;
- Disclosing negative equity on bills of sale.
OMVIC spokesman Terry O’Keefe said the organization surveyed new- and used-vehicle sales staff in Ontario and asked what it is they wanted covered.
“We heard from a lot of dealers. The videos were the top five topics our registrants said they wanted more information about,” O’Keefe said in an interview.
The videos and course are not mandatory for dealers and sales staff, and not taking the course doesn’t jeopardize a salesperson’s licence, he said.
However, there are approximately 13,000 registrants with the regulator who have not taken the OMVIC Certification Course, which became mandatory in 1999, or have taken a version of that course that didn’t include current regulations, which went into effect in 2010.
One of the new regulations is all-in pricing, which requires that the advertised price include all fees and charges, such as freight and administration fees.
“All-in price compliance is something that is very difficult to spot unless you actually do the mystery shopping,” O’Keefe said.
So that’s what OMVIC did in 2017.
The regulator visited 69 new-vehicle dealerships and found 47 of them — 68 per cent — didn’t comply with the all-in pricing law. That was the starting point for the new course.
“If dealers are aware of the regulations, they are far more likely to be compliant with them, and that’s going to mean they won’t have to deal with administrative or enforcement action from the regulator,” O’Keefe said.
It also means one dealer can’t hide fees in their advertising while another includes them all, which would be confusing for the consumer and create an uneven playing field, O’Keefe said.
A downloadable toolkit includes:
- Fact sheets;
- Advertised price calculators;
- Advertising compliance templates;
- A negative equity calculator to help dealers educate consumers, and;
- Posters to educate and inform the dealer’s customers.
“By improving the knowledge of our registrants, OMVIC hopes to build more trust in the industry,” OMVIC CEO John Carmichael said in a statement. “That will be a win-win for dealers and consumers alike.”