Planning to Buy a New or Used Car

Planning to Buy a New or Used CarPurchasing a vehicle is a “Buyer Beware” situation. The consumer is responsible for having a vehicle checked before they buy it to ensure there are no problems with it. Some car dealers will offer an inspection and transfer of a vehicle as a part of the purchase. Others will leave it up to the consumer for that to be done after the sale has been completed.

You should note that the type of inspection that is usually offered is a “Safety” inspection which is necessary as a part of the requirements of the Motor Registration Division when having a vehicle transferred. The inspection slip covers some major components, however other issues could exist which a buyer needs to be aware of. For this reason you should always have the vehicle checked by a mechanic of your choice prior to the sale as a precautionary measure. Most dealers will allow you to do that, and if you find one that doesn’t, it should send up a red flag as to possible problems with the vehicle.

In the event that your vehicle is inspected by the dealer prior to purchasing and you find a problem after the sale in relation to the vehicle inspection you should contact the Motor Registration Division. It would be advisable to file any complaint, if necessary, as soon as possible after the sale of the vehicle. Note that the inspection are only valid for 30 days.

Many consumers are not aware that once a vehicle is purchased there is no automatic recourse with returning it, whether you find a problem or you decide it is unsuitable. Unless clearly specified in writing by the seller/dealer, there is absolutely no refund. Some consumers assume there is a 30 day “cooling off” period but this does not exist and a seller is not required to provide a refund whether the vehicle is new or used.

If you are considering buying a vehicle and are concerned about what you should be checking for, refer to our brochure A Consumer Guide to Buying and Leasing New and Used Cars (243 KB).

When there is a dispute between the dealer and/or the manufacturer regarding the repairs of a new vehicle under a warranty plan, we can try voluntary mediation and we can also advise a consumer on how to proceed with a complaint under the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan .

For more information or advice you may contact Consumer Affairs, Service NL at (709) 729-2600 or toll free at 1-877-968-2600.

To register a complaint, complete a complaint record and submit by one of the following methods:

Download, Print Form and email –  Complaint Record (1 MB).

All information requested on the form has to be provided in order to have your complaint processed.

Hand deliver to a Government Service Centre near you, or write to:

Consumer Affairs Division
Service NL
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL
A1B 4J6
Fax: (709) 729-6998

Office Location: 149 Smallwood Drive, Mount Pearl

Adobe® Acrobat® Reader software can be used for viewing PDF documents. Download Acrobat® Reader for free.