How all-in price advertising works
If a motor-vehicle dealer advertises a price for a vehicle (new or used), the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requires that the price include ALL fees and charges the dealer intends to collect with the exception of HST and licensing.
Examples of fees or charges that must be included in an advertised price include:
- PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
- Administration (Admin) fee(s)
- Government levies (air tax, etc.)
- OMVIC fee
- Safety and e-test (unless the ad contains an "unfit vehicle" or "as-is vehicle" disclosure statement)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Effective September 1, 2022, the Government of Canada will introduce a luxury tax on the sale or importation of motor vehicles with a retail sale price greater than $100,000. An overview of vehicles that will be subject to the new tax, how it is applied can be found on the Government of Canada website.
Products or services that have been pre-installed on a vehicle by a dealer MUST also be included in the advertised price. Examples include:
- Nitrogen/tire protection package
- Security or theft deterrent products/services (etching, etc.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: All fees and charges that are included in the advertised price will be listed separately on a bill of sale OR must be separately itemized on a bill of sale.
What is considered an advertisement?
An advertisement is an inducement to buy or lease a vehicle. This would include, but is not limited to ads:
- In print (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
- On the internet (dealer website, online marketplace, etc.)
- On social media
- On radio or TV
- On signs (including those in or on a vehicle)
What’s not included in an all-in advertised price?
HST and licensing do not have to be included in the price if the advertisement clearly and prominently indicates they are not included. Licensing refers to the actual cost of vehicle registration and plates – it cannot include extra fees added by the dealer.
What are the exceptions to all-in price advertising?
OMVIC does not regulate vehicle manufacturers; therefore advertisements placed by manufacturers do not have to comply with the MVDA and all-in pricing is not required in manufacturer ads. That said, some manufacturers voluntarily comply with the all-in pricing provision and commendably provide transparency to consumers.
Advertising an “unfit” vehicle
If an advertisement has been placed for a vehicle being sold “unfit” (i.e. not safetied), the advertised price will exclude the cost for safety certification. The ad must however include in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner the following “unfit” statement:
"This vehicle is not driveable, not certified and not e-tested."
Further, if a dealer intends to offer certification, that specific cost must be disclosed by stating: “Certification is available for $XXX.” This charge cannot be mandatory. Note: all other fees the dealer intends to collect (e.g. administration fee) MUST be included the advertised price.
Remember: It is not sufficient for the ad to simply state the vehicle is being sold “unfit”. If an ad doesn’t include the mandatory “unfit” disclosure statement, the advertisement is not compliant.
Advertising a vehicle being sold “as is”
If an advertisement includes a price for a vehicle being sold “as is”, the ad should include in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner the following statement:
“This vehicle is being sold “as is,” unfit, not e-tested and is not represented as being in road worthy condition, mechanically sound or maintained at any guaranteed level of quality. The vehicle may not be fit for use as a means of transportation and may require substantial repairs at the purchaser’s expense. It may not be possible to register the vehicle to be driven in its current condition.”
Like unfit vehicles, the advertised price for a vehicle sold “as is” does not include the cost of a safety certificate. Note: all other fees the dealer intends to charge (e.g. administration fee) MUST be included the advertised price.
Remember: It is not sufficient for the ad to simply state the vehicle is being sold “as is”. If an ad doesn’t include an “as is” disclosure statement, the advertisement is not compliant.
Joint advertisement placed by two or more dealers
If an advertisement has been placed by two or more dealers, and there is a fee that varies from one dealer to another (e.g. administration fee), that fee may be excluded from the all-in price; however, the amount of the fee MUST be disclosed in the ad, along with a description of what the fee is for, in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner.
For example, “The above price does not include administration fees, which vary from $199 to $399, depending on the dealer.”
What should a consumer do if a dealer tries to add fees/charges to an advertised price?
Walk away, shop elsewhere and report the offending dealer to OMVIC.
Report non-compliant dealer advertising
OMVIC, Ontario’s Vehicle Sales Regulator, enforces the MVDA and its Code of Ethics. Information about dealers or salespersons who have been charged or convicted or who have been found in breach of OMVIC's Code of Ethics is made public; this includes contraventions of the advertising regulations.
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