Trillium Automobile Dealers Association

Serving the interest of Ontario New Car
and Truck Dealerships for over 100 years

Personal details strictly protected at dealerships

Created on Friday, 18 June 2010

Franchised new-car dealers are committed to protecting the personal information of their customers. In fact, all automobile manufacturers of the various brands sold in Canada and their new car dealers have privacy policies about the collection, storage and use of customer information.

To further ensure the protection and safeguarding of personal information (for all types of commercial activity), the federal government introduced legislation, in 2001, called the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

PIPEDA establishes firm rules that private sector companies and organizations must follow with regard to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, as they engage in commercial activities.

It also provides individuals with the legal right to access and request correction of personal information that these companies and organizations have retained in their databases.

The information that a customer provides to a retailer, is volunteered under two distinct categories: implied consent, and express consent.

Implied consent is granted when you apply for credit to purchase a vehicle. The finance company will always run a credit check on the individual to determine their creditworthiness. Of course your personal data is collected and verified for this purpose.

Additional implied consent occurs when consumers take ownership of a new vehicle. Some details, including name, address, VIN or serial number, etc., are kept in a central database that is managed by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

This information is not used for marketing purposes, nor is the information sold to third parties. Rather, it is accessed only when notifying owners about safety campaigns and/or product enhancements by the manufacturer.

Express consent is given when you provide personal information to any retailer about how, when or where you wish to be contacted. A dealership may use this information to provide regular reminders about maintenance or service specials, by mail, telephone, or email. You may wish to choose how you want to be contacted.

If a customer prefers to have their name removed from a contact list and not receive service reminders or other marketing information, it can easily be done. A written letter or email notification to the dealership should suffice. Your dealer's website should have a link for this.

One of the most important provisions in any privacy policy regards the selling of personal information to third parties, for financial gain. This practice is against the law.

That's why people should not receive unsolicited phone calls, emails or letters from places where they have never done business before.

Usually the only time a dealer may be permitted to transfer your personal information to another dealership would be if it planned to cease operations. The customer lists and vehicle information would then be transferred to another outlet representing the same manufacturer.

This allows smooth transfer of service and warranty data on the vehicle. This is important to ensure no interruption of your vehicle warranty.

Recent examples of this occurred last fall when some manufacturers closed certain outlets to consolidate the number of their retail outlets. In such cases, consumer data would have been retained and transferred to another continuing dealership.

If a consumer wants to do business with a different new-car dealer for any reason, that's fine. They can request that their personal information be transferred to a like branded dealer of their choice.

Franchised new-car dealerships (and manufacturers) review their privacy policies on a regular basis. They are constantly looking to improve their practices and systems, and to incorporate additional safeguards to further protect their clients' personal information.

Further information may be available by visiting the websites of your new-car dealer and, or the manufacturer that it represents.

Go back to Cohen Editorials 2010 »

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