File Number: 13-08-001
In the matter of MOTOR DEALER ACT R.S.B.C. 1996 C.316
and BUSINESS PRACTICES AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, S.B.C. 2004 C. 2
Complainant: Motor Vehicle Sales Authority
NORTHLAND CHRYSLER JEEP DODGE, FREDERICK BRENT MARSHALL
(i) That Northland and Marshall, while they are registered and/or licensed under the Motor Dealer Act, comply with the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the regulations made thereunder;
(ii) That Northland and Marshall, while they are registered and/or licensed under the Motor Dealer Act, comply with the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority Advertising Guidelines pursuant to Motor Vehicle Sales Authority Directive 4.
(iii) That Northland and Marshall, while they are registered and/or licensed under the Motor Dealer Act, ensure that:
(A) all advertisements clearly specify when the terms of sale so advertised are in effect (both start and end dates);
(B) advertisement copy is affixed to the vehicles advertised for sale therein throughout the effective date of the advertisement; and
(C) advertisement copy is displayed in the show room of the dealership throughout the effective date of the advertisement and the vehicles in the advertisement are clearly marked off as sold at the time of sale;
(iv) That Northland and Marshall pay the actual costs of the inspection/investigation and actual legal costs, in an amount to be settled between the parties in accordance with the decision of the Registrar dated August 13, 2015, or before the Registrar if the parties cannot reach agreement by October 30, 2015.
(v) That Northland, while it is registered under the Motor Dealer Act, ensure that complete records, as may be necessary to verify compliance in every respect with the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the regulations made thereunder, are kept for a period of two years at the dealer location and are available for inspection upon request in accordance with s. 20 of the Motor Dealer Act Regulation.
(vi) That all Northland managers and employees involved in the advertising of vehicles attend and complete an in person or online Advertising Workshop provided and administered by the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority at cost to the dealer within 90 days from the date of the compliance order.
The Registrar considered administrative penalties for the breaches of the BPCPA. Again, the Registrar considered the past history of Northland and Mr. Marshall, the seriousness of the breaches, and the factors set out in the BPCPA. The Registrar noted Mr. Marshall approved advertisements and their representations. The Registrar said Northland’s penalties may have been higher had it not taken the steps that it did after the May 23, 2014, decision. The Registrar’s assessment of the proper administrative penalties payable includes the following:
1. Failure to price a 2006 Honda Civic on the lot the same price as in an advertisement
Northland $6,000 : Marshall $600
2. Showing an image of the 2006 Honda Civic as a four door sedan when it was a two door coupe
Northland $2,500 : Marshall $250
3. Misrepresenting to a consumer that the 2006 Honda Civic had a price advantage, being a “really good deal” and a “family deal” when it did not have a price advantage
4. Failure to price a 2009 Chevy Impala on the lot the same price as in an advertisement
Northland $6,000 : Marshall $600
5. Charging a consumer a $589 administrative fee on top of the advertised price for a 2009 Caravan, without advising the consumer that such a fee would be levied
6. Advertising a 2012 Dodge Journey as a 2013 model
Northland $1,000 : Marshall $100
7. General conduct calculated to deceive and mislead consumers including:
(i) failing to ensure that all salespeople know the sale pricing advertised in the relevant effective periods of flyers;
(ii) failure to correct flyers to clearly identify which vehicles are no longer available at the commencement of the effective period of the flyers;
(iii) failure to clearly identify that any negotiations on the purchase of an advertised vehicle will result in the administrative fee being added to the purchase price; and
(iv) failure to properly review the purchase agreements with purchasers, and to remove from or not include in such agreements items which have been declined by purchasers.
Northland $20,000 : Marshall $2,000
Total of Administrative Penalties: Northland $44,000 : Brent Marshall $3,550