Calgary

Alberta government tightens rules for selling, repairing vehicles

Starting next week, there will be new rules in Alberta for selling autos or getting them fixed.

'We've put in this legislation so that there is a trusted marketplace for your everyday Alberta consumer'

The Alberta government is introducing new rules that could mean fewer surprises when buying used cars. (CBC)

Starting next week, there will be new rules in Alberta for selling autos or getting them fixed.

Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson says the changes go into effect on Wednesday and will increase transparency and better protect consumers.

Sellers will have to give buyers the complete history of a vehicle, including major damage from accidents and whether the vehicle was used for a commercial purpose.

Auto shops will have to provide written estimates when asked, and get a customer's consent before starting repair work.

All outstanding liens on a vehicle will have to be removed no later than a week after it's sold, and there will be standardized agreements on deposits.

Also next week, the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council, which is the industry regulator, becomes a public agency to augment its oversight and enforcement powers.

Motor Dealers' Association calls rules burdensome

If customers ask, repair shops must give them a rundown of costs before doing the work. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

The Motor Dealers' Association of Alberta has said the new rules create a burdensome and uneven playing field.

Members of the association are contributing to a third-party advertiser that supports Opposition United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney and hope to have the changes reviewed if Kenney's party wins the spring election.

Malkinson says the changes are fair and prudent.

'Codifying best practice'

"A vast majority of dealerships and auto repair shops are already doing this. What we're doing is codifying best practice," Malkinson said Thursday.

"We've put in this legislation so that there is a trusted marketplace for your everyday Alberta consumer, and that shops and dealers are competing on an even playing field."

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