Early this year, the Office de la protection du consommateur made clear its intention to review automotive advertisements in Québec in order to ensure compliance with the Consumer Protection Act and its Regulations. Despite the requirement under the Act to disclose the all-inclusive, total price of a vehicle, many retailers and advertisers neglect to include all required information in their advertisements.
The Act clearly states that retailers, manufacturers and advertisers must disclose in an advertisement the “total price of the goods or services” and must place greater emphasis on the total price than on any lesser amount. Thus, all fees, including surcharges, administration fees, freight and preparation costs and dealer fees, must be included in the total selling price of a motor vehicle. The only costs which can be excluded are the Québec Sales Tax, the GST and duty on new tires. Advertisers who sell a product at a price higher than the advertised price expose themselves to the risk of consumer class actions as well as hefty penal fines for non-compliance with the Act.
In light of the new amendments to the Act and the Office’s promise to ensure compliance with the Act and Regulations, car manufacturers and retailers should review all advertisements, including those published in newspapers or appearing on billboards, television, the internet and websites, in order to ensure compliance with the Act and its Regulation.