Imagine this: You see the advertised price of a product. You go to the store, pay the cashier the amount advertised (plus taxes, of course!) and you leave to enjoy your new purchase.
Sounds reasonable right? When it comes to car advertisements, that’s not always the case.
I asked the TADA’s director of government relations, Frank Notte, to tell me why this happens. The following is his response:
“Ontario’s new Motor Vehicle Dealers Act came into effect on Jan. 1, 2010. This groundbreaking provincial legislation updated decade-old rules pertaining to contracts, disclosures, warranties and business practices. One major aspect of the new law is “all-in pricing” regulations.
All-in pricing means the advertised price is the final price consumers can expect to pay for the vehicle. The only amount of money that doesn’t have to be included is taxes and licensing fees.
Gone are the days of an advertised price, with other fees and charges like freight and Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) appearing in fine print. The Toronto Automobile Dealers Association fully supports all-in pricing. It makes the car-buying experience much easier and allows more transparency for consumers.
Believe it or not, the law only applies sometimes! Sadly, the Ontario government decided to exempt advertisements placed by auto manufacturers from all-in pricing regulations. That means that auto manufacturers don’t have to play by the same rules as automobile dealers and advertise the “all-in” price.
Often, consumers will see the ads placed by a manufacturer and visit their local dealership to inquire about a vehicle.
Too many times, the consumer is surprised to learn the price as advertised by the manufacturer is not the actual price they can expect to pay to drive the car off the lot. This upsets the consumer, frustrates the dealer, and nobody wins.
Consumers have enough to consider when buying a car – often the second most expensive purchase of their lifetime. They shouldn’t have to worry about which advertised price is the actual selling price, and they certainly shouldn’t have to read ads with a magnifying glass, an accountant and lawyer present to make sure they fully understand all the legal fine print.
You can affect change. Contact your MPP and tell them that all auto advertising should be subject to all-in pricing – consumer protection depends on it.