I have been looking at used cars for sale online at dealerships quite a bit lately. I have emailed a few dealerships asking questions and always get so turned off by dealing with used car dealers. Just by sending out a few emails it was pretty easy to find dealers that are not following the law. I would guess dealers do this because most people don’t know the law and don’t question them. In this post I will talk about two of the most important things (at least in my mind) to know.
All in pricing is the law
When a dealership advertises a vehicle for sale, the price of the vehicle must include all fees. The only fee that can be added on top of the sale price is GST. (or costs associated with financing)
Some examples of charges that are illegal to add on top of the purchase price:
- Documentation Fee
- Licensing Fee
- Admin Fee
- Tire or Air conditioning fees/levys
In this example I asked Lexus South Pointe what their “licensing” fees were on a 2009 Mercedes Benz ML63. Also to note, this vehicle was listed at $25,880 when I asked last week (see below, email screenshot). Since then they removed it and re-added it, going from $25,880 to $32,995.
As you can see, I was told it was $488 for a document fee. This is against the law, so I told her that. See the response below.
How sad is this? I just told them what their dealership is doing is against the law, and their response was that they will remove it if we can make a deal. Way to go. Earn that trust. Knowing this quickly saves you anywhere from $300-$900 from a dealership that tries to add this fee on.
Mechanical Fitness Assessment
All vehicles being sold by a dealer to a customer must have a signed and dated Mechanical Fitness Assessment before entering into the sales agreement. Again, this is the Law. The Mechanical Fitness Assessment is an assessment done by a journeyman mechanic (signed by them as well) checking if parts of the vehicle comply or do not comply to the vehicle equipment regulations. A dealer CAN sell you a vehicle that does not comply if it states that on the mechanical fitness assessment and you are made aware of it. Another thing to pay attention to here is that the inspection expires after 120 days and the mechanical fitness assessment form is supposed to say that as well. Going back to my case with the 2009 ML63, they sent me the mechanical fitness assessment below.
As you can see this inspection was done on April 10, 2018. Today is September 17, 2018. That inspection was done 160 days ago and is no longer valid. If I wanted to purchase this vehicle I would request a new mechanical fitness assessment. The mechanical fitness assessment sheet is also supposed to state “This assessment expires 120 days after the date it was issued”, which it did not in this case. This fancy Lexus dealership is not making itself look good. It doesn’t help that they jacked the price up from $25,880 to $32,995 over the weekend ($7,115).
Knowing these two things is not gonna save you from buying a lemon or get you an amazing deal, but it will definitely help keep you more aware and let you know if a dealership can’t be trusted. Make sure you demand the Mechanical Fitness Assessment and check that everything complied and never pay any additional fees!