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Would you like added financial security when buying or leasing a vehicle in Ontario? Then buy from an OMVIC-registered dealer. All consumers have rights under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) and Consumer Protection Act (CPA) in Ontario, when purchasing a new or used vehicle from an OMVIC-registered dealer. This includes access to a compensation fund if something goes wrong with a vehicle purchase or lease.

To identify an OMVIC-registered dealer, keep an eye out for the blue and yellow decal on dealership doors and windows, ask to see their registration, or use the find a dealer/salesperson search on OMVIC.ca.

How can OMVIC help, and what is the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund?

OMVIC administers and enforces the MVDA, its regulations, and code of ethics, as well as relevant sections of the CPA, on behalf of Ontario's Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery. OMVIC’s mandate is to maintain a fair and informed marketplace by protecting the rights of consumers, enhancing industry professionalism, and ensuring fair, honest, and open competition for registered motor vehicle dealers.

The compensation fund is a consumer protection program. It reimburses eligible consumers who have suffered a proven financial or out-of-pocket loss related to a vehicle purchase, lease, or consignment transaction. Consumers can only make a claim if they have dealt with an OMVIC-registered dealer at the time of the transaction. It’s important to note that consumers who buy a vehicle privately do not have access to the compensation fund.

How the Compensation Fund works

The fund helps maintain a safe marketplace for consumers by offering added financial security when buying a car from a registered dealer. New dealers pay a one-time $300+HST fee into the fund to keep it solvent. Consumers must give a dealer written notice of their complaint as part of the compensation fund application. If no resolution can be reached with the dealer directly, consumers should contact OMVIC’s consumer support team.

An independent board of trustees consisting of members of the public and industry representatives, review eligible claims and make decisions about compensation based on the MVDA and associated regulations. The fund can compensate eligible consumers up to $45,000 if they suffer a financial loss from a motor vehicle purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer.

Compensation Fund eligibility

To file a claim, a consumer must meet one of the compensation fund eligibility criteria and must have suffered a loss as a result of a transaction involving the purchase or lease of a motor vehicle from an OMVIC-registered dealer. Additionally, the claim must be submitted within two years and the transaction must have occurred in Ontario. A full list of eligibility criteria can be found on OMVIC.ca, under consumers and Compensation Fund.

No cooling-off period

Remember it is also important to read and understand any contract prior to signing it to avoid complications after a vehicle purchase. In Ontario there is no cooling-off period for motor vehicle agreements, so be sure of your decision before you sign. You will not be eligible for the compensation fund if you signed an agreement to purchase or lease a vehicle and then change your mind. Once you’ve signed a contract, it is legally binding.

Check out OMVIC’s online resources and guides as part of your buyer’s journey.

Buying a new or used vehicle? Visit omvic.ca to access free car-buying resources to get you started, and sign up for the quarterly newsletter, Consumer Line.

You can also contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at consumers@omvic.on.ca or 1-800-943-6002 for expert advice and answers to all your car-buying questions, or if you have a complaint about a dealer or salesperson in Ontario.

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