COVID-19: Tips for buying a vehicle

*Please note that this is only a guideline and not to be construed as legal or professional advice. This provides minimum considerations for consumers.  Public health measures to COVID-19 will continue to evolve as the crisis continues, so please refer to the BC Centre for Disease Control for updates.

We have entered Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan, and the economy is slowly resuming operations.  Although it will not be business as usual, dealerships are looking forward to welcoming consumers, while managing the vehicle buying process safely and effectively.

This means that the next time you visit a licensed dealership in-person or online, things may be a little different than you’re used to.  That is why we’ve compiled the handy guide below to help you through your next vehicle purchase during COVID-19.

At the dealership

Meeting the Salesperson

Conduct as many meetings with a licensed salesperson as possible via phone or video calls.  However, if you must meet in-person at the dealership, find out in advance what precautions they are taking to stop the spread of the virus. Has the dealership:

  • Committed to physical distancing and limiting the number of customers allowed inside their building by appointment-only
  • Trained employees regarding self-assessments for symptom screening prior to coming to work
  • Developed the procedures to collect contact information of everyone visiting the dealership in case contact tracing is required
  • Implemented disinfecting for all frequently used areas (showroom, waiting area, restrooms) regularly throughout the day
  • Ensured there are hand sanitizing stations located in multiple locations throughout the building

Test Drive the Vehicle

Ask a licensed salesperson to conduct a virtual tour of the vehicle prior to the test drive to learn more about its features and defects.  Inquire if the dealership follows recommended measures to prevent the spread of the virus when conducting test drives.  To ensure you don’t miss anything, click here for our test drive best practices checklist.

Agreement

If you’re signing sales documents at the dealership, be sure to maintain physical distancing.  Ask if the surfaces in the surrounding area have been disinfected, as well as the pen if you aren’t using your own.

A distance sales contract is one made between a seller and consumer that isn’t entered into in-person and the consumer doesn’t have the opportunity to inspect the vehicle being purchased.  Negotiations, offer, and acceptance of agreement and electronic signing of the contract can happen online.  A licensed salesperson can email all agreements to you to print, sign, scan and email back to the salesperson at the dealership, or you can use an electronic signature (via an e-signature program).  This applies to all agreements (i.e. finance and warranty, not just the purchase or lease agreement.

Delivery

Ensure that the delivery of the vehicle respects the Provincial Health Officer’s orders for physical distancing.  Inquire if the vehicle and keys have been thoroughly disinfected.  A full demonstration of the vehicle’s features should be done virtually.

Not only does buying from a licensed dealer protect you as a consumer, you can be confident that these dealerships are encouraged to comply with WorkSafeBC, BC Public Health, as well as industry association recommendations for safety measures to protect consumers and staff.

Buying Privately?

Without the consumer protection of buying from a licensed dealer, you’ll have to protect your interests.  Be sure you aren’t buying from a Curber! Click here for more information about buying vehicles privately and remember to practice physical distancing throughout the process.

Most importantly, please ensure that you’re following the recommendations of our public health officials.  Click here to find more information on COVID-19, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.