MPP Tim Hudaks writes to Minister Orazietti re: fairness in automobile sales pricing
Asks Minister of Government and Consumer Services to update consumer protections for auto sales
Dear Minister Orazietti;
As Minister of Consumer and Business Services, I had the honour of introducing the Consumer Protection Statute Law Amendment Act, 2002, that, among other things, updated the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA).
As you may recall, the Bill passed with unanimous support in the Assembly for which I remain very grateful. Unfortunately, the regulation process did take approximately eight years to finalize - long after the Government had changed - and a series of Consumer Ministers guided this process. I believe that, because of those multiple transitions to new Ministers, a significant oversight occurred in the MVDA regulations.
To give you a little more background on the legislation: as you know, auto dealers must have all-inclusive pricing whenever they advertise a specific vehicle for sale. Dealers must include freight charge, dealer preparation charge and other miscellaneous add-on fees in their advertising, so the only additional fees the consumers should expect to pay are taxes. This sensible and long overdue consumer protection measure was supported by all three political parties in debate. Although there have been changes in the auto sales market since 2002, none of us anticipated there would be a significant loophole created in the regulations.
Specifically, Ontario Regulation 333/08, Section 2, Subsection 21 exempts manufacturers from the consumer protection principle of "all-in" pricing. I trust it is a simple oversight. The regulatory exemption for manufacturers' sales has created an unlevel playing field. Dealers are mandated to advertise the “all-in” price, and manufacturers are not. This compromises consumer protection, creates confusion & works against Government’s own “all-in” pricing goal.
The purpose of the Act is to protect the consumer and the MVDA does a good job of that except when it comes to the manufacturer loophole. This was definitely not the original intent of the Legislature. I hope that this oversight in the legislation can be resolved with your help expeditiously.
Tim Hudak MPP
Niagara West Glanbrook