Even though it’s illegal, some car dealers continue charging buyers hidden fees. Several dealers have been sanctioned by the Office de la protection du consommateur (consumer protection bureau) for this. For example, Hyundai Granby was fined this summer for charging such fees.
A steep fine
After pleading guilty, the dealer was fined $18,000.
According to a communiqué of the Office de la protection du consommateur, the dealer was accused of charging a higher price than the one advertised on its website. Fees of $399 or $400 were added, with no possibility for the consumer to refuse them. The offences were committed between April and June 2021.
An “all included” price
Such hidden fees are illegal in Quebec. Merchants cannot charge a price higher than the one mentioned in ads or on their website, for example.
The advertised price must include the total cost, apart from provincial and federal taxes and the special charge for new tires, which is $4.50 per tire in 2023.
Fees for transportation, preparation, delivery, administration, and the tax on air conditioners are examples of fees which can be charged, but which must be included in the advertised price. The total cost must always be clearly indicated.
It would be illegal for a dealer to tack on an extra charge – above and beyond the advertised “all included” price – even if you accepted this extra charge. This is forbidden under Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act and no one can deprive you of the protections of this law.