Be in the driver’s seat

Be sure to buy your vehicle from a licensed dealer

With British Columbians buying or leasing an estimated 500,000 motor vehicles each year (representing some $10 billion in sales), the Ministry of Justice, Consumer Protection BC and the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (VSA) have come together to share important tips with those consumers who are in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle.

Consumer Awareness Week (March 15-22) was proclaimed with the goal of helping B.C. consumers know and understand their rights on a number of current marketplace issues under the theme “Take Five”, representing not only the number of tips released per day, but also the need for consumers to pause before making any purchasing decision.

Consumer Tips for Buying a Vehicle in B.C.:

1. Buy from a licensed dealer. Those looking to buy or lease a new vehicle should work with a licensed dealer. Consumers have few protections when buying through a private seller or a curber (an unlicensed dealer posing as a private seller). Search for a licensed dealer on the VSA website at:

2. Get everything in writing. Make sure you clearly understand the terms of the transaction and check that all details are documented in your deposit agreement, purchase agreement and warranty contract.

This can include deposit terms, additional fees, options, extras and promises, and warranty coverage and limits. Always read the fine print of any agreement.

3. Know how to spot a curber. Unlicensed dealers posing as private sellers can be a real risk as they do not follow government-mandated regulations, which are in place to protect the consumer. If you see the same telephone number repeated for different vehicles in newspaper ads or online, be aware that the seller may be a curber.

The VSA has compiled a list of known unlicensed dealers available

4. Get appropriate inspections and reports. If purchasing a used vehicle, ensure you receive recent mechanical inspection and vehicle history reports. These important documents will indicate the vehicle’s current condition, lien status, accident history and more.

5. Know where to get help. For more information about consumers’ rights and responsibilities when purchasing a car in British Columbia, visit the VSA online at – -or call toll-free 1 877 294-9889.


Learn More:


* To access the daily Consumer Awareness Week Take Five tips, go to:

  • Twitter @ConsumerProBC using the hashtag #TakeFive2013

* If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer in British Columbia, please contact Consumer Protection BC toll-free at 1 888 564-9963 or visit: