Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan

FCAA is Saskatchewan’s financial and consumer marketplace regulator.

Purchase and repair tips

  • Purchase and repair tips

    FCAA's Consumer Protection Division offers free, car-buying seminars throughout the province. If you are interested in a seminar within your organization or community, contact the FCAA at consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca.

    For information about purchasing and repairing vehicles select from the options below.

     

     

    Buying privately

    "Buyer beware" applies to consumers who purchase vehicles in private deals. The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act does not apply to private sales. The seller and buyer can write terms into the contract, including warranties. The contract may be verbal or partly verbal. Verbal claims that the seller makes may give rise to legal rights if something goes wrong. If the vendor claims that the car has a new engine when it does not, for example, the buyer may have the right to rescind the contract or to claim damages.

    Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself in a private deal:

    1. Check to ensure you are obtaining clear title to the car. Contact Information Services Corporation toll free at 1-866-275-4721 or by email at ask@isc.ca for a lien (debt) search through the Saskatchewan Personal Property Registry (SPPR). There is a nominal fee for the service.
    2. A lien is a legal claim (debt) against property or goods. If there is a lien against the car, it may be seized to pay off the previous owner's debt. It is the buyer’s responsibility to use the Personal Property Registry to check for liens. If there is a lien registered against the title of the vehicle, go with the seller to the creditor to pay off the amount of the lien or make the cheque payable to the seller and the lien holder. Ask the lien holder to issue a letter indicating the lien has been lifted from the title of the vehicle.
    3. Have Saskatchewan Government Insurance, or another licence issuer, do a search to ensure that the vehicle has been previously registered in the province. There is a nominal fee for the service. If a vehicle has not been previously registered in Saskatchewan, you will be required to have a Vehicle Safety Inspection completed to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy and meets the minimum vehicle safety standards. The search will also tell you if the vehicle has been a previous total loss vehicle (TLV). In order for a TLV to be re-registered, it must pass the safety inspection. Questions can be directed to SGI Vehicle Standards and Inspection at 775-6188 or toll free at 1-800-667-8015, ext. 6188.
    4. Take the car for a test drive to see how it performs.
    5. Open all doors, windows, the hood, and the trunk to ensure they are in working order.
    6. Take the car to a mechanic to have it checked for mechanical and safety problems.

     

    New car disputes

    The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan is a program where disputes between consumers and vehicle manufacturers about alleged manufacturing defects or new vehicle warranty issues can be put before a neutral third party (arbitrator) for resolution.

     

    Repair services

    In Saskatchewan, consumers rely upon their motor vehicles. Unfortunately, all mechanical devices will require repair at some point. Automobile problems can be both frustrating and costly. The following tips may help avoid some of the pitfalls that consumers can experience.

     

     

    Finding the right repair shop

    It is recommended that you look for a mechanic before your actually need one. Ask for recommendations and request references. Question the mechanic’s reputation and qualifications. Certain repairs may require the expertise of a technician who has been trained to repair a specific brand of vehicle or who may have specialized diagnostic equipment.

     

    Repair estimates

    It is always recommended that you request services in writing. A repair shop should prepare a work order detailing the services you require. A written estimate is also recommended and should include details about the problem, required parts, and labour costs. Confirm the repair shop's hourly labour rate. Ask if the shop charges a flat rate for labour based upon a published rate or if labour charges are charged on the basis of actual time.

    Give the repair shop clear instructions concerning the repairs you require. Describe the symptoms simply and indicate any unusual sounds or performance issues. Do not simply ask the mechanic to "fix the vehicle."

    An expensive or complicated repair should be subjected to a second opinion. There may, however, be a charge for diagnostic services, as diagnosing certain problems requires more time and effort than actually correcting them. You may also ask the mechanic if there are alternatives to using new parts, as remanufactured and salvage parts may reduce repair costs. Request that the shop return replaced parts to you.

     

    When the repair is completed

    Review the repair invoice and confirm that it corresponds with your request and estimate. If a warranty is applicable to the repair parts or services, obtain a copy in writing. Road test the vehicle to establish if the defect has been resolved and promptly return to the shop if you identify a service problem.

    If you are dissatisfied with the repair, discuss your concerns with the manager or shop owner. If your concerns remain unresolved, contact the Consumer Protection Division for further information concerning your consumer rights.

    Consumer Protection Division

    Suite 500, 1919 Saskatchewan Drive

    Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4H2

    Tel: (306)787-5550

    Toll free: (877)880-5550

    Fax: (306)787-9779

    Email: consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca

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