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New auto industry rules better protect consumers

New rules for vehicle sales and repairs introduce industry-wide standards to protect Albertans and improve business accountability.

New auto industry rules better protect consumers

Minister Malkinson, centre, with AMVIC board chair Bill Burnett, right, and business owner Ted Zylstra discussing new consumer protection rules.

Improvements to the Automotive Business Regulation will create consistent standards to help consumers make more informed decisions and ensure businesses can compete fairly in a trusted automotive marketplace. The new, industry-wide standards come into effect on Oct. 31, 2018.

“Buying or repairing a car shouldn’t be intimidating. These new rules can give Albertans confidence that they won’t be hit with unexpected costs because they will know exactly what they’re paying for. More transparency is good for consumers and it’s good for Alberta’s many trustworthy auto businesses, too.”

Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta

During the 2017 consultation on consumer protection laws, Albertans identified the need for better protections when buying a car and more transparency when it comes to auto repairs as top priorities.

These changes respond directly to Albertans’ feedback to help consumers avoid unexpected and unauthorized costs. The new rules will ensure auto businesses:

  • Inform buyers of the history and condition of a vehicle such as the vehicle’s previous use, ownership or details of any damages.
  • Provide a comprehensive bill of sale document at the time of the car sale.
  • Provide written estimates upon request and get consumer’s consent before starting any work.
  • Remove any outstanding liens on a vehicle within seven days of the sale.
  • Remove any advertising about a sold vehicle within 14 days of the sale to ensure consumers are not enticed by low prices that won’t be honoured.

“A vehicle is a lifeline for so many Albertans, and they deserve to feel confident when repairing or selling one. We welcome today’s announcement, as it prioritizes consumer protection – a mandate that’s been shared by AMA’s Approved Auto Repair Service since 1977.”

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

“Increased transparency in automotive transactions means consumers can feel even more confident in their decisions on how to spend their hard-earned money. AMVIC’s mandate is consumer protection through education and industry regulation, and AMVIC has been working closely with industry to ensure they are ready to comply with the new legislation. These new laws benefit all Albertans by creating a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses alike.”

Bill Burnett, board chair, Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council

“I think the government’s new legislation is great. It will help protect the consumer while also compelling automotive businesses to be more transparent. At Braeside Automotive, we already provide written quotes and can take pictures of components that we can attach to the quote for our customer. I think these rules will help encourage other businesses to be more innovative, which at the end of the day is good for consumers.”

Ted Zylstra, owner, Braeside Automotive

The new rules also support the government’s work to build stronger public oversight of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC), by transitioning AMVIC to a public agency. This will ensure Alberta has a strong and trusted regulator that is well-positioned to protect consumers and build integrity in the industry.

Background

  • In December 2017, the government passed A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act. Among the many changes introduced through this act was an increased authority to strengthen oversight of the automotive industry to better protect the interests of consumers and ensure integrity in the industry.
  • 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.
  • AMVIC will transition to a public agency on Oct. 31. Once in place, AMVIC will be subject to the requirements under the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act to ensure consumers and industry can have confidence there is strong public oversight of the organization.

Media inquiries

Government of Alberta