No one likes sticker shock when they go shopping, including when buying a car. But did you know that all dealerships in Ontario must advertise using all-in pricing? In this blog post, I’ll explain what all-in pricing is, what it includes, and what happens to dealers who don’t follow the law.
What Is All-in Pricing?
If a dealer in Ontario advertises that a car will cost $13,150, the only additional charges you should see are licensing and HST. This is the law in Ontario. A dealer cannot then add charges like administration fees, government fees, freight, inspection charges, or anything else to the price of the car. In addition, a dealer cannot claim that servicing or additional equipment is required before you drive the car off the lot.
This doesn’t mean you’re not paying for these costs. All-in pricing means these costs cannot be added to the advertised price.
Can a Dealer Post a Lower Price Sometimes?
No. All-in pricing must be used everywhere the dealer advertises the price of the vehicle being sold. This includes, but isn’t limited to, price shields on vehicles, online ads, print ads, radio ads, flyers, social media posts, etc.
But “+ Licensing Fees” Can Mean Anything
No, it can’t. Licensing fees are the charges the dealer incurs for registering your vehicle and plates with the province. In other words, the cost you see for this figure is the cost the dealership has paid. The dealer cannot inflate this price to make a few extra dollars off you.
Consequences for Dealers Who Do Not Follow the Law
OMVIC stands for Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. It administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, its regulations and code of ethics, and relevant sections of the Consumer Protection Act. OMVIC acts on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
If OMVIC reasonably believes a dealership is misleading the public with its advertising, it can ask the dealership to take down the advertising. Even if the dealership appeals the request, it must remove the advertising until the appeal is complete. Other disciplinary measures are also possible.
Something you may not know: Dealers who are found non-compliant are publicly named. If you’re purchasing your vehicle from a new dealer, search for any convictions and charges before you visit.
When Will You Not See All-in Pricing?
All-in pricing is not required in some situations.
- Manufacturers are not required to show all-in pricing, because they are not regulated by OMVIC. (However, some manufacturers voluntarily comply with Ontario law.)
- The vehicle is being sold “as is.” However, a specific statement is required on such advertising to inform the public of the state of the car and what costs the buyer may have to incur.
- The vehicle is being sold as “unfit.” This means the vehicle has not passed safety and is therefore unfit to drive. It, too, requires a specific statement on the advertisement.
- Joint advertisement placed by 2+ dealers. When several dealers place one ad, some costs may vary, e.g., administration costs. If a fee differs from dealer to dealer, it may be excluded from all-in pricing. However, the ad must explain in clear terms what the costs are. OMVIC gives the following example: “The above price does not include administration fees, which may vary from $199 to $399, depending on the dealer.”
Buying Your Car Should be Enjoyable
Honest pricing is not something you should have to worry about when you purchase a vehicle. Because the only vehicles sold at ontariocars.ca are from dealers, the listings must include all-in pricing. In the end, you should enjoy buying a vehicle.
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