Use of Vehicle Defined

The VSA acts within the scope of its authority under the Motor Dealer Act and certain parts of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. The VSA can only investigate complaints that involve consumer transactions.

To be considered a consumer transaction, the law requires that a vehicle is purchased or leased by an individual primarily (at least 51%) for personal, family or household use.

A vehicle’s use is determined at the time of the transaction. If the vehicle is intended for business use or to generate income at the time of the transaction, a later change in use to personal, family or household purposes does not bring the vehicle into the VSA’s jurisdiction.

What does personal, family or household use mean?

The vehicle is owned by an individual (not a company) and is not used to try and generate income.

Note: Using the vehicle to go to and from work is considered personal use. Using a vehicle to go to and from clients as part of your job is considered business use.

What does business use mean?

The vehicle is owned by an individual or company and is used to try and generate income. For example, the vehicle is used:

  • to conduct sales calls
  • to meet with clients
  • to carry or store equipment or inventory
  • to conduct business
  • as a company vehicle

What does the VSA look at to determine the use of the vehicle?

  • Relevant portions of income tax forms showing the declared percentage use of a vehicle for business purposes
  • Declared use of the vehicle on insurance documents
  • Statements from the complainant
  • If the vehicle was purchased to replace a previous vehicle, the primary use of the vehicle being replaced
  • Declarations made at the time of the transaction
  • Evidence of how the vehicle was used after the purchase

You are not obligated to provide all of the above documents. However, it is up to you to prove that the transaction and the dispute falls under the VSA’s jurisdiction—the VSA can only make the determination based on the evidence provided. Please note that the VSA is a public body under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of B.C. (FOIPPA), and is legally obligated to keep all documents confidential as per FOIPPA and the Motor Dealer Act.

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