HEARING FILE NUMBER: H-22-02-002
IN THE MATTER OF THE MOTOR DEALER ACT, RSBC 1996 C 316 AND THE BUSINESS PRACTICES AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, SBC 2004, C 2
DATE OF DECISION: January 23, 2023
DATE OF SUPPLEMENTARY DECISION: February 8, 2023
COMPLAINANT: The Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (the “VSA”)
LICENSEE: Traveland RV Supercentre Langley (Dealer License #9588), Adam Moore (Salesperson License #122264) (together, “the Respondents”)
This matter concerns the sale in July 2015 by the Respondents of a 2015 Open Range RV trailer (“the RV trailer”). In June 2021, the purchasers complained to the VSA that they had recently learned from various sources, including the CVSE, that the RV trailer exceeded the maximum length permitted for towing it on the roads of British Columbia, which information had not been given to them at the time of the sale.
The purchasers sought a direction from the Registrar that the sale be reversed and the purchase price be refunded. The Respondents resisted that direction.
The VSA filed a Notice of Hearing before the Registrar on February 9, 2022 and an amended Notice on March 9, 2022. The Respondents sought an Oral Hearing before the Registrar which was declined. Written submissions were provided by the VSA and the Respondents.
The VSA took the position before the Registrar that at the time of the sale of the RV trailer that it was too long to be driven legally in British Columbia, and that this information was not made known to the purchasers.
The VSA supported its position by, inter alia, reference to a variety of regulations and, importantly, the outcome of an inspection of the RV trailer by an Area Inspector of the CVSE who opined that the RV trailer “exceeds the maximum length allowed by the Motor Vehicle Act regulations.”
The Respondents denied the regulatory regime prevented the RV trailer from being legally towed in British Columbia and challenged the admissibility of the evidence of The CVSE Area Inspector.
In a written decision dated January 23, 2023 the Registrar held that the RV trailer could not be legally towed in British Columbia and directed the sale be reversed and the purchase price returned.
The Respondents were found to have engaged in a “deceptive act or practice” within the meaning of Section 4 of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
In a Supplementary Decision dated February 8, 2023 the Registrar advised that at the time of the January 23, 2023 decision he had not been aware of Supplementary Submissions of the VSA and the Respondents, which caused the Registrar to revisit his earlier decision. On doing so the Registrar decided that, although the Respondents had misled the purchasers at the time of the sale, the purchase ought not to be reversed.
This outcome was dictated by the Supplementary Submissions which referred to a Compliance Circular of the CVSE dated September 27, 2022 which increased the maximum allowable length of an RV trailer such that it could be legally towed in British Columbia from the date of the Circular.
A COMPLIANCE ORDER
The Registrar found that the purchasers had “suffered a modest loss of the use of the [RV trailer]” during the few months after they had been informed that the RV trailer was too long to be legally towed in British Columbia until the date of the Compliance Circular.
The Registrar made a Compliance Order directing Traveland RV Supercentre Langley to pay the Purchasers of the RV trailer the sum of $5,000.00.
The question of investigation and hearing costs has yet to be determined.
Motor Dealer Act Regulation, BC Reg. 447/78, s22
Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, SBC, 2004, ch 2
Motor Dealer Act, RSBC, 1996, ch 316
Judicial Review Procedure Act, RSBC, 1996, ch 241
Windmill Auto Sales and Detailing Ltd. v Registrar of Motor Dealers, 2014, BCSC 903
Alberta (Workers’ Compensation Board) v Appeals Commission, 2005 ABCA 276