Dealers who fail to tell buyers a car was damaged or was previously a rental vehicle will face fines or jail time, Manitoba's NDP government said Wednesday.
Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh said new regulations to protect buyers of new and used vehicles will come into effect Dec. 31. "We know the majority of car dealers are honest and don't withhold information from their customers. Unfortunately, we also know that sometimes, consumers are misled when buying vehicles. We want to avoid situations where consumers discover important facts about their car after they have purchased it," Mackintosh said.
After Dec. 31 dealers must provide more complete information about the history of a vehicle, including if:
- it was previously used as a taxicab, police car or rental car,
- it had significant repairs,
- it was declared an insurance write-off,
- it was damaged in a flood,
- it was declared a lemon in another jurisdiction.
"Apart from a home, a new or used vehicle can be the most expensive item we ever buy," said Mackintosh. "Consumers need clear information about the vehicle in order to make an appropriate decision to purchase."
Penalties for failure to comply with the new regulations range from fines to imprisonment and/or court-ordered consumer compensation, he said. Manitoba Public Insurance may also impose sanctions against the dealer's permit for violations under the Business Practices Act.