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Buying a car can be an exciting venture, but the process can become overwhelming when hidden fees and unexpected costs start piling up. In Ontario, all-in price advertising is a key part of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) and helps ensure transparency during your car-buying experience. One of the most common MVDA violations in 2023, as found by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry (OMVIC) was dealerships failing to follow the laws with respect to all-in price advertising. This article aims to shed light on all-in pricing for vehicles in Ontario and what car buyers need to know about the rules as outlined in the MVDA.

What is all-in price advertising?

All-in price advertising is a car-buyer-friendly approach that strives to provide clarity by including all fees and charges associated with purchasing a vehicle at the advertised price. This means that when you see a price tag on a car, it should include not only the base price but also additional costs such as freight, pre-delivery inspection, and administration fees. The goal is to eliminate surprises and ensure that the advertised price is the total amount consumers will pay to drive away with their new vehicle.

The MVDA and its role

The MVDA plays a crucial part in shaping the automotive landscape in Ontario. The MVDA sets out rules and regulations to protect car buyers and maintain fair practices within the automotive industry.

Under the MVDA, dealers are required to follow specific guidelines when advertising vehicle prices. The act stipulates that the advertised price must include all fees and charges, except for HST and licensing. This ensures that car buyers are presented with a clear and comprehensive cost breakdown upfront.

What must be included in the advertised price?

1. Freight charges: The cost of transporting the vehicle from the manufacturer to the dealership must be included in the advertised price.

2. Pre-delivery inspection (PDI) fees: These fees cover the cost of inspecting and preparing the vehicle for delivery to the customer.

3. Administration fees: Charges associated with paperwork and administrative tasks related to the sale.

4. Other fees: Any other fees that may be applicable, such as environmental fees, must also be included in the advertised price.

Transparency protects car buyers

The implementation of all-in price advertising has several advantages for consumers:

· No hidden costs: With all-in pricing, car buyers can make informed decisions without worrying about hidden fees cropping up during the purchase process.

· Easy comparison: When all dealers adhere to all-in price advertising, it becomes easier for car buyers to compare prices between different dealerships, facilitating a more transparent and competitive market.

· Building trust: Transparency in pricing builds trust between dealerships and car buyers, fostering a more positive buying experience.

Consequences for non-compliance

Dealerships that fail to comply with the MVDA rules on all-in price advertising may face consequences such as fines, license suspension, or other penalties imposed by OMVIC. The regulatory framework is designed to protect car buyers from deceptive practices and ensure fair business conduct within the automotive industry.

By understanding the rules and benefits associated with all-in price advertising, car buyers can confidently navigate the market, secure in the knowledge that the advertised price is the final price they will pay for their new vehicle.

Always remember to ask questions and verify that the dealership is in compliance with the MVDA, as it is your right as a car buyer to be fully informed before making a purchase. If the sale of the car does not match the advertised price, we encourage you to walk away and report the dealership to OMVIC.