Beware of new cars… amputees


PHOTO LUCAS SCARF, VOLKSWAGEN ARCHIVE

2022 Volkswagen Taos

Marie Eve Fournier

Marie Eve Fournier
The press

The feeling of sitting in your new car and stepping out of the dealership to start your first drive is pretty exciting. Until we realize that options we’ve spent thousands of dollars on are missing.

Posted at 5:00 p.m

This is exactly what a Volkswagen customer experienced. Since she wants to maintain good relations with her dealer, with whom she has a contract, I call her Isabelle.

After taking possession of her new Taos, while driving, Isabelle noticed that safety systems such as “electric front brakes with autonomous emergency braking” and “blind-spot detection with traffic alert” were missing. Still, she had paid over $5,000 to ride in the Comfortline version of that model, which includes these options, among other options.

Isabelle contacts her seller. “He told me the systems should be there but they were running out of parts. And I’m not the only one this happens to. If I had at least adjusted the price…”

Eventually, due to the claim for damages, the dealer informed him that he had already been given a discount of a few hundred dollars. But this adjustment is not written in the contract and Isabelle has no recollection of a verbal warning about the possibility of paying the butter for options, which she considers very important given the safety at stake.

What were they hoping for? that I never notice? That offends me the most.

Isabella

His efforts at Volkswagen Canada were hardly more fruitful.

The manufacturer confirmed that part shortages are forcing it to “temporarily change the structure of supply for certain models” and that its website contains a warning to that effect. “Disruptions in the supply chain can lead to changes in the availability of standard or optional equipment. the [prix de détail] will be adjusted if certain devices are not included,” it said.

“However, a simple warning on a website is not enough,” says Charles Tanguay, spokesman for the Office de la Protection du Consommateur (OPC). Attorney Jacques Castonguay, specialist in the automotive industry at ML Avocats, agrees. “There is no obligation to view the website when purchasing! »


PHOTO PROVIDED BY OPC

Charles Tanguay, spokesman for the Consumer Protection Agency (OPC)

If a dealer sells a vehicle that does not match the original description, for whatever reason, he is breaking the Civil Code Consumer Protection Act, recalls Charles Tanguay. Article 219 prohibits false declarations, while the obligation of conformity of the goods falls under Articles 40 and 41. Consequently, “the consumer could request a reduction in price or the cancellation of the sale” through a formal request.

Me Castonguay suggests taking legal action against both the dealer and the builder “so they don’t pass the buck on”.

Isabelle wants to fight for financial compensation because she needs her car. She can also ask the court to award her punitive damages, the OPC representative says.

Not mentioning the lack of certain options when handing over the vehicle or even refusing to reduce the sales price could have an aggravating effect in the eyes of a judge.

Jacques Castonguay, lawyer specializing in the automotive sector at ML Avocats

To calculate the value of the missing options, it is possible to call the Automobile Protection Association (APA) and the CAA.

The shortage of semiconductors and other parts also worries other automakers.

Audi has reduced the standard equipment on its cars, reports motor1.com. “You may not like it, but it’s the only way for an automaker to keep deliveries going right now,” the author said.

According to that publication, vehicles with options removed are identified by “a decal” and receive “a cash credit based on the number of features removed.” This can be the blind spot assistant, the rear collision detection system, the adaptive cruise control, the lane departure warning or the wireless charging pad.

“Your new BMW may not have a touchscreen,” the site edmunds.com said Late 2021. In early July, GM announced it had 95,000 built vehicles in stock with no specific components.

To avoid frustration and possible litigation for small claims, ask the dealer about any missing options and compensation offered, request written answers, and be aware of your rights.

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