Manitoba

Winnipeg used car dealer fined $5,000 under Manitoba Consumer Protection Act

Auto Gallery of Winnipeg has been fined $5,000 for running the finance price before the cash price in online advertisements for vehicles, Gord Pedersen, one of the company's owners, told CBC.

Penalty handed out after dealership printed finance price before cash price in online advertisements

Auto Gallery of Winnipeg received a penalty of $5,000 after including special deductions or circumstances in advertisements for their vehicles, the Manitoba Consumer Protection Office says. (Google street view)

Auto Gallery of Winnipeg has been fined $5,000 for running the finance price before the cash price in online advertisements for vehicles, Gord Pedersen, one of the company's owners, told CBC.

For example, if the vehicle was selling for $20,000, Auto Gallery would also list it as $19,000 because the customer got $1,000 off for financing it through them. In the online ads, the lower price appeared first.

"Consumer protection … in June started asking dealers when they run their ads to run the cash price first," he said.

"We clearly had both stated [but] we had the finance price first instead of the cash price first."

On Friday, the Manitoba Consumer Protection Office issued a press release that said Auto Gallery of Winnipeg received the fine for including special deductions or circumstances in advertisements for their vehicles.

"Provisions in Manitoba's Consumer Protection Act protect consumers in a variety of ways, including protection from false advertising and misleading pricing practices when purchasing a motor vehicle," a news release issued by the province on Friday states.

The law states that vehicle sales ads must indicate the total cash price of a vehicle, including all additional charges except for the retail sales tax and the federal goods and services tax.

A penalty of $5,000 is issued for a company's first contravention of the act, the news release states.

On Friday afternoon Pedersen said the business is in the process of appealing the penalty.

"We were working with consumer protection to change the advertising to what they wanted but there hadn't been a definitive timeline placed on it," he said. 

"It looks like we hit the end of the timeline prior to finishing the advertising changes."

Pedersen reiterated that Auto Gallery of Winnipeg has received "zero complaints" in the past, and that the company's advertising is "very straight up."

"The Consumer Protection [office] is definitely there for the consumer, but we had been there, too," he said.

The Consumer Protection Office encourages Manitobans to learn about their rights under the law, which they can do by calling the office at 204-945-3800 in Winnipeg, toll free in Manitoba at 1-800-782-0067 or by visiting its website here.

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