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Consumer Protection for Used Car Buyers in Canada

by dantemallet

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The old adage “Caveat emptor”, which means “Let the buyer beware”, perfectly applies to anyone who’s in the market for a second-hand car. Although many people would often brush off this piece of advice, this Latin saying holds a lot of truth. There’s always the chance that the used car you buy is a lemon, so you will need to take a few precautionary measures to prevent this.

Often, the case with used cars – especially if they are sold by private sellers – is that they are sold “as is”. This means that it is your responsibility to inspect it because once you’ve paid for it, you will also be the one responsible for the repair should any problem arise. If something goes wrong with the vehicle even after seconds of driving, you have no legal leverage to ask for a refund.

This is why it’s advisable to purchase your used car from a reputable Edmonton dealership. These dealers are bound by Canadian consumer laws for used vehicles. These laws offer consumers protection from purchasing defective vehicles through detailed maintenance history reports and arbitration.


Canada does not have specific laws against lemon used cars, but it does have the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), which covers most vehicles less than four years old and manufactured in Canada. Once a vehicle is covered by CAMVAP, the used car buyer is entitled to arbitration should he have a dispute with his Edmonton used cars dealer regarding the vehicle’s quality. The CAMVAP covers both leased and bought vehicles.


Canadian law allows private companies like CARFAX to investigate, record, and provide a detailed report on a vehicle’s history. You can protect yourself further by getting the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate and checking them with CARFAX. A full vehicle history report on a used car Edmonton dealers sell will cost you $39.99.

Local Consumer Protection Authorities

Buyers of Edmonton used cars can check with the territory’s consumer protection laws to see how they are protected. If you have purchased an unknowingly defective vehicle from an Edmonton used cars dealer, you should contact your local consumer protection authorities immediately.

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