Protect yourself against risks when purchasing a car. Buy from an OMVIC-registered dealer

Published On
April 5, 2022

Buying from a registered dealer provides you with some consumer protection and is the safer way to purchase or lease a motor vehicle. Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)-registered dealers are licensed individuals who must abide by industry professionalism standards. By law, they must undergo background checks and successfully pass an automotive law and ethics certification in order to be registered. So, if you’re looking to buy or lease a vehicle, purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer to ensure you get what you paid for.

Buying from an OMVIC-registered dealer gives you the right to:

  1. All-in price advertising: the price of any new or used vehicle advertised by a dealer must include all fees and charges they will collect for a cash sale, excluding HST and licensing. This is the law. There should be no hidden or additional costs that you are not aware of.
  2. Full disclosure of vehicle history and condition: by law, the salesperson or dealer must disclose to purchasers certain information related to the past use, history and condition of the vehicle.
  3. Cancellation for specific non-disclosures: while there is no cooling-off period when buying a vehicle, there are certain situations that do provide consumers with the opportunity to request a refund or cancel a purchase such as: a contract was not signed; certain condition(s) were not met; failure to provide specific vehicle disclosures under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA); and unfair business practices under the Consumer Protection Act.
  4. Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund access: if something does go wrong with a vehicle purchase, you have access to the Compensation Fund which provides financial assistance to consumers who make a valid claim for a vehicle transaction against an OMVIC-registered dealer. To qualify, consumers must meet one or more of the eligibility criteria and the claim must be submitted within two years of purchasing the vehicle.

Remember that these rights do not apply to private sales. If you choose to purchase a car from a private seller, you are not protected by OMVIC, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund, or the MVDA.

How to identify an OMVIC-registered dealer

  • Look for a sign: a blue and yellow official OMVIC-registered dealer decal can be seen on dealership doors and windows.
  • Ask to see their license: dealers and salespeople must keep their registration certificate and are required to show it to anyone who asks to see it.
  • Use the find a dealer tool: visit to access the find a dealer tool, which provides you with the confirmation you need to determine if you are visiting a registered dealer.

During this busy car-buying season, why buy a potentially dangerous vehicle when you can put your mind at ease and purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer. Visit to access free car-buying resources to get you started and sign up for the quarterly newsletter, Consumer Line.

Contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at or 1-800-943-6002 for expert advice and answers to all your car buying questions.