Before you begin: The VSA investigates consumer complaints based on the legislation and the policies available on the VSA website.
The VSA’s authority comes from the Motor Dealer Act and related regulations, and certain parts of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. The VSA can investigate complaints about violations of these laws. To find out more see the Consumer Protection Facts “The VSA’s Legislative Authority” available at this link.
If you would like to complain about a motor dealer or a broker agent – know your options:
What complaints about motor dealers and broker agents can the VSA investigate:
The VSA may act on your complaint only if all of the following requirements are met:
What to expect after you make a formal complaint:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why can the VSA not investigate my complaint if it does not have jurisdiction?
A: The Registrar may only use the Registrar’s statutory powers to investigate complaints within his or her jurisdiction. It is illegal to use those powers for purposes outside of the Registrar’s jurisdiction.
Q: Why is the dealer/broker agent allowed so much time to respond to my complaint?
A: A legal principal called “procedural fairness” requires that a person who is alleged to have done something wrong be allowed time to respond to those allegations. This includes time to gather documents to support the response.
Q: What other agencies may the VSA have to consult?
A: Each case is different. The VSA may speak with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, ICBC, and the Ministry of Finance. We may also request documents from financial institutions, warranty providers and others. It depends on the nature of the complaint.
Q: Why can’t the VSA try to help me settle my contract dispute with a dealer/broker agent?
A: The legislation the VSA administers is very specific legislation to regulate the motor dealer industry. The legislation is confined to transactions where there may have been deceptive or unconscionable conduct by the dealer/broker agent, or they failed to provide certain disclosures to a consumer. Other disputes are left to the alternative dispute resolution and court systems to deal with.
Q: I made a mistake in purchasing a vehicle. Why can’t the VSA help me return the vehicle?
A: In B.C., there is no general legal right to return a vehicle (or any other product) once you have taken possession of the vehicle. People are used to the generous store return policies of large store chains. However, that is a store policy and not the law.
Q: I was notified that my file is closed because my complaint application is incomplete. Can it be reopened?
A: Yes. If a complaint application is incomplete, we will send a letter specifying the required missing documents. You will then have 30 days to send us those documents. If we do not hear from you within 30 days, your file will be closed. However, if you do obtain the documents after the due date, you can contact the VSA and request to reopen your file. Please note that due to the limitation periods set by law, delays may affect the eligibility of your complaint. It is recommended that you act quickly and, if needed, speak to a lawyer about your rights. For more information, visit Consumer Protection Facts “Legal Resources”.
If you have any questions, please contact VSA Consumer Services.
NOTE: This is to provide general information and is not intended to be legal advice.