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Buying or leasing a used vehicle

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What if I have a problem with a dealer?

If you are having a problem with the dealer, the law says you must first try to resolve the problem directly with them.

It is a good idea to send the dealer a letter explaining your problem or concerns. Keep a copy for yourself. If you can, send the letter by registered mail or courier. That way you will have proof that the dealer got it.

You might want to have a different mechanic inspect the vehicle to confirm your concerns. You should also get a Used Vehicle Information Package from a Service Ontario office. Call Service Ontario at 416-326-1234 or toll-free at 1-800-267-8097. You can also order a package online at www.ontario.ca/serviceontario. Also, try to get information from the vehicle's previous owner, if possible. All of this will help you in your discussions with the dealer.

If you cannot reach an agreement with the dealer, you can file a complaint with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC). OMVIC cannot force the dealer to do anything, but it will work with you and the dealer to try to find a solution. To get more information about this process, visit OMVIC's website at www.omvic.on.ca or call 416-226-4500.

OMVIC also runs the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. This Fund can give you some or all of your money back in certain situations. For example, if:

  • the dealer is bankrupt and owes you money
  • the dealer fails to pay a court judgment, refund a deposit for a vehicle that it didn't deliver, or honour a warranty claim
  • the dealer is convicted of certain offences or had its license revoked
  • the dealer seriously misrepresented the vehicle to you
  • the vehicle was seized by a law enforcement agency, or
  • the vehicle was seized because of a debt owed by someone other than you

If OMVIC does not solve your problem, you can also sue the dealer in Small Claims Court. If the amount you are asking for is $25,000 or less, you can file a claim in Small Claims Court. You must do this within 2 years of when you first knew about the problem.

For more information about Small Claims Court, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General's website at www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral or call them at:

Toll-free: 1-800-518-7901

Toronto area: 416-326-2220

TTY Toll-free: 1-877-425-0575

TTY Toronto area: 416-326-4012