Published on Friday, 05 August 2011
Q. Do automobile salespeople have to be certified? If so, why?
A. Yes. In 1999, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) introduced a compulsory certification course for all automobile salespeople and dealers in Ontario, the first of its kind in Canada. The course is a joint venture between OMVIC and the Canadian Automotive Institute (CAI) at Georgian College in Barrie. The Automotive Certification Course is an important first step in becoming a certified professional salesperson. The course focuses on various laws surrounding the buying and leasing of motor vehicles that relate to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA), the Business Practices Act and the Consumer Protection Act. The course is meant to ensure that salespeople unde rstand and comply with the laws, regulations, guidelines and business practices that govern our industry. Course requirements include submitting to a criminal background check and learning about MVDA rules and regulations, advertising guidelines, administration fees, disclosure, buyers’ rights, the role of the Licence Appeal Tribunal, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund, and more. When a new salesperson completes the CAI course and is granted a licence from OMVIC, he/she receives a card indicating that they are “certified in automotive law and ethics.”
Q. If I can save $50 on a new car by purchasing it from a dealer hundreds of miles away, shouldn’t I do it?
A. Everyone wants a great deal. But I think it’s important to support dealers and businesses in your local community. Each dealership supports 50 to 100 staff, plus a network of tint, dent and electronics professionals who earn their living from dealerships. While you might save a dollar or two by purchasing somewhere else, it’s a one-time savings. For the next four to seven years of ownership, you’ll need your vehicle serviced. A local dealer will invest in their staff, facilities and equipment, and will help customers with warranty issues that are in a grey area. A dealership will always try to please all customers, but a little more weight is given when a customer seeking a favour has purchased their car and had it serviced there.
Q. I see lots of ads for “Employee Pricing” this summer. Can I still negotiate a better price?
A. No. An advertised “Employee Price” is a non-negotiated price as determined by the manufacturer. As the phrase implies, a customer pays what a dealership employee would pay, which is a significant reduction in price from the MSRP. The savings on an Employee Priced vehicle ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Most manufacturers introduce powerful incentive programs during the summer, making it a great time to buy.
Q. After a recent accident, my insurance company steered me towards a collision centre of their choosing. Everything worked out fine, but whose choice is it: theirs or mind?
A. This is a popular misconception. Sometimes a tow truck driver on the scene will recommend a collision facility. Sometimes the insurance company will. But the ultimate decision belongs to you, the car owner. Nobody plans on being in an accident, but motorists should be prepared. This means knowing who will tow your vehicle, and who will repair it. I recommend the collision-repair facilities at your new car dealership or at a dealership that represents your brand. Planning ahead also means knowing if you are eligible for Roadside Assistance programs or knowing whether you belong to CAA, which offers towing services to its members. Many new and pre-owned vehicles sold by dealerships today offer Roadside Assistance and accessing this service can save you time and money.