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Protecting consumers purchasing or repairing cars

The proposed A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act would better protect Albertans buying or repairing a vehicle by increasing the accountability and transparency of the automotive industry. 

Protecting consumers purchasing or repairing cars

Minister McLean speaks with Sandy Lane Auto shop owner Brett Morgan (right) and mechanic Alex Kormendy about new protections for consumers buying or repairing a vehicle.

If passed, the bill would help build a trusted marketplace where consumers are confident they are getting their money’s worth and where businesses can grow and compete fairly.

“When Albertans buy a car or have theirs repaired, they deserve to have a straightforward experience. These changes would help Albertans make more informed decisions, protect their pocketbook and value the work of Alberta’s many trustworthy automotive businesses.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister, Service Alberta

Proposed changes include:

  • Requiring automotive businesses to disclose important vehicle information to consumers, such as vehicle history.
  • Requiring a standard bill of sale for automotive sales.
  • Establishing minimum warranty protections for repairs.
  • Requiring repair shops to provide written estimates upon request to consumers prior to beginning work.

“I was happy to hear about the government’s new legislation that helps protect consumers against unfair practices in the auto industry. Changes to the way estimates are presented, proper bills of sale and documented history on used vehicles will now be standard practice to protect customers. This will level the playing field for our industry. It will force shops to be more transparent with vehicle information, which is good for the industry and good for the consumer.”

Brett Morgan, owner, Sandy Lane Auto

“AMA has a long tradition of exceptional standards and commitment to consumer protection with our Approved Auto Repair Service program, which includes 380 repair facilities across Alberta. AMA supports this legislation because, although most repair shops in the province are committed to quality service, we believe all Albertans should have confidence in the service they’re receiving.”

Jeff Kasbrick, vice president of Government & Stakeholder Relations, Alberta Motor Association

The bill would also strengthen public oversight of Alberta’s auto regulator, the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC), by transitioning AMVIC into a public agency. This would make AMVIC more responsive to consumers by ensuring it follows the same rules of transparency and accountability as the rest of Alberta’s agencies, boards and commissions.

“I am very excited about the announcement of Bill 31, A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act. It is a very important step to support AMVIC’s mandate of consumer protection in Alberta. Thank you to the Government of Alberta for their leadership and commitment to consumer protection in Alberta.”

Bill Burnett, chair, AMVIC Board of Directors

Background

AMVIC is responsible for providing consumer protection in the motor vehicle industry. In addition to licensing businesses and salespeople and ensuring there’s a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses, AMVIC is responsible for investigating violations of consumer protection laws.

Turning AMVIC into a public agency, subject to the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act, would make it consistent with other provincial bodies with similar mandates and organization. This would also enable the minister responsible to:

  • Delegate functions under the Consumer Protection Act to AMVIC.
  • Approve the bylaws of AMVIC.
  • Amend or terminate a delegation to AMVIC, and address any transitional issues arising in the event a delegation is terminated, including dealing with the compensation fund and records.
  • Set the composition of AMVIC and regulate appointments.
  • Establish governance rules (e.g., conduct of board meetings, decision-making by the board).

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