Monday, March 31, 2008
We have just been informed that the Volvo of Durham is charging $270 for the Safety Inspection, instead of the outrageous $1,950+ fees that other Canadian dealerships have been charging.
The completion of a Safety Inspection by a Volvo dealership is necessary - as of this moment - to obtain a Letter of Compliance from Volvo Canada.
Letter of Compliance Alternative
However, we have heard accounts where RIV accepted a letter from Volvo Cars of North America LLC (issued at no charge) that states that the vehicle in question was manufactured to comply with both US and Canadian standards. We believe that this letter satisfies the RIV requirement to receive a Letter of Compliance.
To contact Volvo Cars of North America, use (201) 768-7300 and ask to speak with a Customer Care Consultant. You will have to have a VIN for the vehicle to provide to the Volvo representative.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
RIV will only accept Recall Clearance Information from Fred Deeley Harley-Davidson. To obtain this letter follow the following steps;
1. Telephone the dealership at (905) 660-3500
2. Request an Application Form for Recall Clearance by fax, e-mail or mail.
3. Complete the Application Form and submit it with a copy of the Title and Bill of Sale for your new Harley Davidson purchase.
4. Ask for the Recall Clearance Letter to be sent to you by fax, e-mail or mail.
5. Submit the Recall Clearance Letter to RIV to release Form 2.
The Recall Clearance Letter will be sent to you in 5 to 7 business days, and the folks at Fred Deeley are terrific to work with!
March 24, 2008
Dear Canadian Vehicle Importer:
As a result of the strong Canadian dollar, Canadians imported a record 190,000 vehicles in 2007 from the United States. This trend is continuing in 2008 because the savings associated with purchasing a vehicle in the United States are considerable, usually in the range of 30%, but as high as 50% for some models.
Vehicle manufacturers stand to lose a considerable amount of money if this momentum continues, and are taking steps to stem the flow of vehicles entering from the United States. Already, Canadians are facing considerable and growing barriers when importing vehicles into Canada.
It is our position that the trade barriers erected by vehicle manufacturers are unlawful. The purpose of our lawsuit is to force vehicle manufacturers to comply with the law and to obtain compensation for Canadians who have suffered losses as a result of these exploitive policies.
If you are a resident of British Columbia or Alberta and have imported a vehicle from the United States, review the Statement of Claim to determine if you qualify as a plaintiff in this lawsuit. The Statement of Claim, as well as a Questionnaire and a Plaintiff Registration Form are currently available on the web site www.UCanImport.com. Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson is seeking court approval for this lawsuit to become a “class action” suit, which it anticipates having by June of 2008. All individuals who register will be contacted for further information on their particular case. It is also expected that other car manufacturers will be added as defendants, prior to certification approval. If you have been adversely affected by these exploitive practices, but purchased from a manufacturer not currently named as a defendant, you are still encouraged to register.
NOTE: This lawsuit creates the opportunity for individuals who have lost money to recover it. However, submission of documentation does not obligate you to participate in the lawsuit. In addition, once class certification is obtained, you are not at risk to pay any costs if the suit is unsuccessful. The costs will be borne by Westport Motors, the proposed representative plaintiff.
We welcome your interest and support.
About Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson
Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson has been providing a full range of legal services in Canada for over twenty-five years. The firm offers its expertise in areas such as complex litigation, aboriginal law, commercial and corporate law, immigration, insurance, personal injury, real estate, and estate law. Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson offers lawyers who are members of the bars of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
Wm. Rory Lambert
Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson
Tel: (250) 381-2151
Fax: (250) 386-2123
We are seeking Volvo importers who paid approximately $275 for their Volvo inspections last year to come forward with their receipts issued by the Volvo dealership that performed the inspections.
Since January 1, 2008 Volvo has introduced exhorbitant pricing for the same level of work. This is one of the allegations of the newly launched suit against a number of auto manufacturers.
If you have your receipts, please note that this serves as proof that the work that cost less than $300 last year is being charged out at $2,000 + this year.
If you, or anyone you know, imported a Volvo vehicle in the last 24 months, please submit copies of your receipts to Dinning Hunter Lambert Jackson using this link http://www.ucanimport.com/Lawsuit.aspx?t=downloads
UCanImport has learned that RIV will accept a Provincial Inspection in place of a Volvo Letter of Compliance. This was confirmed by a recent Volvo importer who received their Form 2 after first completing the inspection required for their Province of residence.
Here's what UCanImport advises:
1. Read comments from UCanImport subscriber: "Anyhow i contacted RIV and said if a shop on the RIV list performs the provincial & federal inspection, why do i need a Volvo safety compliance letter. they said u dont. they said the provincial inspection is good enough. that inspection specifically checks the car for faulty brakes, tires, etc as long u pass that you're good. I'm now licensed and enjoying my ride."
2. Locate a Provincial Inspection Centre for your province of residence by searching the UCanImport blog. You do not need a Form 2 for the Provincial Inspection.
3. Complete the Provincial Inspection for your Volvo import.
4. Send RIV a copy of the completed Provincial Inspection Report, and request Form 2 so that you can complete your Federal Inspection. Federal Inspection Centre listing is available in the UCanImport Resources Library.
Please let us know if this loophole is successful.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Updated: Tue Mar. 25 2008 18:19:46
A few Victoria car dealers have filed a class action suit against some of the biggest automakers in the business, saying they are gouging importers unfairly.
One dealer says he thinks new measures like charging for changing a speedometer to kilometres per hour, or making a temperature read Celsius, are nothing but cash grabs.
"Canadians are getting ripped off by these manufacturers," said Todd MacDonald, who imports expensive pre-owned vehicles from the U.S. and re-sells them in Canada.
The new measures add as much as $5,000 to the cost of a $100,000 BMW for a local dealer -- and it takes twice as long to import it, he said.
MacDonald says he thinks the manufacturers are trying to keep prices high, despite a higher loonie that should make American goods cost less.
MacDonald's Victoria lawyer, Rory Lambert, has filed a class action suit.
With almost 200,000 vehicles imported last year, a lot of consumers may sign on, said Lambert.
He said it's a matter of fairness.
"You can go to a local GM dealer, and ask them how many US cars they have on their lot," he said. "They can take advantage of the price difference but we can't. Is that fair?"
The New Car Dealers Association didn't return phone calls to tell their side of the story, and neither did BMW or other manufacturers.
MacDonald isn't spending much time in the showroom -- he's buried in paperwork, working on his lawsuit, and hoping the government steps in to stop manufacturers from adding more obstacles.
"I'm hoping to put these guys in their place," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Dag Sharman
If you plan to import a car from California, unless you transport (not drive!) the vehicle directly out of the state, you will be charged the state tax on your purchase.
Tax rates vary by City and County and can be obtained from the California Board of Equalization (BOE) at http://www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/pdf/tax_rates_april2008.pdf
According to the BOE, "California has many special taxing jurisdictions (districts), which are funded by a transactions (sales) and use tax rate that is added to the standard statewide rate of 7.25%, effective January 1, 2002. The tax rates for these districts range from 0.10% to 1.00% per district. In some areas, there is more than one district tax in effect. In others, there is no district tax in effect."
UCanImport advises you to discuss the tax implication with the DMV or the dealership - or avoid it altogether by shipping the vehicle up to the Canadian border.
If you plan to import a motorcycle from California and you are purchasing from a private seller, here is a Bill of Sale form that you can use to facilitate your transaction.
If you plan to import a Volvo from the US, you have to shop for modification quotes. Here are some recent quotes that importers have received for a 2-hour safety inspection. Note: modifications are generally not required on these vehicles. This is just a price that you must pay for the dealership to tell you that you vehicle complies with Canadian Safety Standards and for RIV to issue Form 2 (Federal Inspection Form).
Valentine Volvo in Calgary - $1,950
Volvo Saskatoon in Saskatoon $2,450
Volvo of North Vancouver in Vancouver - $1895 + taxes, in addition to $350 paid for a Letter of Admissibility.
Any higher bids? Has anyone else paid Volvo for the Letter of Admissibility?
Keep them coming and we'll keep posting this information for other Canadians who may want to import a Volvo from the US.
Despite these costs, the price difference is still enormous on Volvo vehicles that are imported from the US - so include these punitive fees in your UCanImport Vehicle Cost Worksheet to determine your bottom line savings on your Volvo purchase.
A lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and seeking certification for a class-action lawsuit was announced yesterday. The lawsuit alleges that a number of auto manufacturers are keeping vehicle prices artificially high in Canada - average of 30% - while imposing restrictions on Canadians who are trying to exercise their legal right to purchase a vehicle in the U.S.
Other tactics by manufacturers such as Acura, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, GM and Chrysler include the voiding of warranties.
Audi, BMW, Toyota, Lexus, GM, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and others are prohibiting new vehicles sales to Canadians by citing territorial issues in their franchise agreements.
Yet others such as BMW, Jaguar and Volvo are charging exorbitant document and modification fees.
All policies are alleged to fly in the face of the NAFTA agreement and keep vehicle prices unjustifiably high in Canada.
To get involved by presenting your claim to the law firm, read http://www.ucanimport.com/lawsuit.aspx
and download documents from
If you are seeking to import a motorhome from the US you will have to obtain recall clearance information for all vehicles newer than 15 years. In some cases, where the chassis and the body are manufactured by two separate companies, you will have to obtain recall clearance information from both manufacturers before you are allowed to import the motorhome from the US.
Where the manufacturers databases are not able to locate the VIN number of the motorhome you wish to import, you will have to provide details from the vehicle identification plate that is affixed to the motorhome at the time of manufacture. This plate is located usually on the driver's side of the motorhome.
You will have to provide the Identification Number as well as the Date of Manufacture to the manufacturer. These two items will then be input into the manufacturer's system to obtain the correct recall information for your motorhome import.
If any recalls are outstanding on the motorhome, you will not be allowed to import it from the US until you have completed the recalls and can provide a work order to this effect. Where the motorhome is more than 15 years old, you are able to import it from the US and will be exempt from the RIV program.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
On Monday, March 24, 2008, UCanImport has been invited to take part in a live interview at 1:00pm on the Christy Clark Show on CKNW AM 980.
The interview will be dedicated to the topic of how to import a car into Canada from the United States, with special attention to the recent policy changes implemented by the auto manufacturers. The show will also feature an important announcement on the legality of these importation policies.
If you want to import a car into Canada, you should tune into the show to understand some of the implications of your intended purchase.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
If you want to import a Mercedes-Benz from the US into Canada, you will have to request a Letter of Admissibility from Mercedes-Benz prior to proceeding with your importation.
Mercedes-Benz provides an online admissible vehicles list and give potential importers the ability to request a Letter of Admissibility through an online request form.
Note: that the Letter of Admissibility is only issued in hard copy and will be sent to you by mail.
UCanImport has been informed that if you import a Volvo vehicle from the US into Canada, you may be charged $1,950 for a 2-hour safety inspection. To-date 2 Volvo importers have confirmed these charges, which work out to an hourly labour cost of $975!
Bottom line: neither vehicle required any modifications, nor did the dealership issue a statement showing what, if anything, needed to be fixed.
One of the offending dealerships named is Valentine Volvo in Calgary. UCanImport would like all Volvo importers to recognize that these charges may accrue to your importation and ask that you shop around for quotes. Even if there are no modifications required to your vehicle, you may still have to pay these costs just to comply with Volvo's new importing policies.
UCanImport requests that if you have received quotes for your Volvo inspection, contact us with the dealership name and the charges. We will continue to update importers on these punitive practices by the manufacturer.
Despite these costs, both importers report that the price disparity is too great not to take advantage of the savings. But go in informed so you don't get blind sided by these charges.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Submitted by a UCanImport Subscriber:
In Calgary the dealership has taken an aggressive approach to imported vehicles. If you call to book a service appt for a CDN vehicle, it’s a week to get in.
For US vehicles they’re making you wait 90 days!!! Kelowna BMW charged me $1350 for the cluster and programming installed (still a cash grab), but the Calgary dealership charges $2200 for the cluster installed and $400 for the DRL programming. Edmonton was similar in price.
I drove out and got the work done in Kelowna. I’d be super happy if they hadn’t put the wrong cluster in!!!
The 335, because of the bi-turbos, has an oil temp gauge in the cluster, all lower models have a fuel economy gauge in that spot. Guess which one they put in mine? Then they argued that it was the right one. I walked them over to a Canadian 335 sitting on their showroom floor and showed them the oil temp gauge. Apparently that wasn’t enough as I’m still fighting with them about it.
Anyway, I got my clearance letter and I just finished my import work this week. It was a pain. I like the car, but am pissed off at BMW Canada, and all the brands that are doing the same thing.
How do they think this will create good long term relationships with these possible new customers? Surely long term either the dollar will drop back, or the prices will realign. This short sighted cash grab protectionism will only hurt their image, customer relations, and in the end, bottom line.
Everyone who has asked me for help, I’ve directed towards brands that are treating importers fairly.
Thank you for sharing your story. What we find interesting is that BMW Canada refuses to acknowledge any modification work completed in the US stating that they must verify it themselves through a Canadian dealership - as they cannot vouch for the quality of workmanship of their colleagues in the south.
We agree the pricing practices are unfair and illogical, especially since they were implemented unilaterally at the sole discretion of BMW Canada. The issue here is why Transport Canada would allow these practices to continue. If the modification work can be completed to meet Canadian Safety Standards, why should BMW dictate where and how they get done.
Here are some of BMW's justifications for their charges. I think if I got a CarFax report and an internal system printout (free) from the US dealership, I would be achieving the same thing as Mr. Caton describes below. The other point is that the word "service" is used incorrectly. It should only apply to something I have requested or something given to me at no charge; to dictate the charges within a monopoly seems unfair.
I am in receipt of your email and offer this reply.
In your letter you reference the recall clearance letter and our $500 charge for it. You also state one of our staff suggested it provides some protection, please let me explain.
The $500.00 really covers the cost of providing a service for you which results in you getting the letter you require. Once we get the Retailer’s request for your letter we check both the US data base (which is not part of our regular warranty system) and the Car Fax system to view the warranty status and see if there are any outstanding recalls, (we are presently developing a system where we can notify the new owners in Canada of any future recalls as at present those notices would only be sent to the original owner in the US). We then enter your information and the vehicle’s into our system so our data base is up to date. From there we prepare the letter which goes to two officers of our company for signing. Once done it goes back to the Retailer for distribution to you. Before the letter was even requested from us your dealership inspected the vin plates on your car, entered the information into their system and consulted with you.
As you can appreciate this all costs money and because of the large volume of BMWs coming into Canada we have had to hire additional staff to administer it and therefore there is a charge.
In terms of the protection this all provides. Not everyone thinks to get a Car Fax (you were smart) so we get it for you and we check our US warranty system. Once done we can tell you the status of your warranty, now you may have already bought the car, but you will at least know then if its been in a bad accident, sold for salvage, been a flood car and whether the warranty is in force or not. Also, as I mentioned above we are developing a system to notify you of future recalls which could help keep us all safe.
We are sorry you are disappointed with our process and charges however, I am sure you are also in business and understand there are costs associated with providing services and while those costs could always be debated, we feel the fees we charge are reasonable based on our experience.
We hope you enjoy your car,
National Manager, Pre-Owned
Monday, March 17, 2008
If you are importing a car from California, understand that you will have to pay the State Tax on your purchase, unless the vehicle is delivered to you out of the state. If you plan to drive your car off the lot in California, you will have to pay the tax.
According to the California Board of Equalization, if you are importing a car, the "purchaser is not required to pay California use tax if the only use of the property purchased in California is to remove it from the state and it will be used solely thereafter outside this state. No other use can be made of the property."
The California Board of Equalization must receive a completed Statement Of Delivery Outside California form http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/boe448.pdf
If importing a car from California verify this information with the seller and save yourself the State Tax.
Importing a car from the U.S. has many steps and there are a number of ways that you can avoid costly mistakes. One way is to confirm with the seller of the vehicle that the car you are importing from the U.S. can be collected without paying the State Tax. In States such as California and Florida if you are importing a car you will have to pay the State tax unless the car is delivered to you outside of the State.
For information on the Florida regulations and exemptions, see http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/taxes/vehicle_sut.html
Saturday, March 8, 2008
For a listing of office locations click: http://www.flhsmv.gov/offices/
California, and delivered in California by the manufacturer or remanufacturer to a purchaser who is not a resident of California.
Please confirm if your purchase qualifies for such an exemption by contacting the seller.
To view the application form for this exemption click: http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/boe837.pdf
Note, California Coach Company listed on http://www.ucanimport.com/USA_Car_Dealers.aspx?t=rvs
offers this service to its purchasers.
Monday, March 3, 2008
The Arizona Department of Revenue offers the following information to exempt Canadians from the State Tax when purchasing a motor vehicle:
Sales of Motor Vehicles to Nonresidents for Use Outside of Arizona
The Department’s Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax Ruling TPR 03-1 remains in effect and governs sales of motor vehicles to nonresidents when the motor vehicle dealer delivers the motor vehicle to the nonresident outside of Arizona. As required by this ruling, an Arizona Form 5010 must be completed by the nonresident purchaser and the motor vehicle dealer. Additionally, a 90-Day Nonresident Registration Permit must be obtained, including the completion of a nonresident purchaser affidavit.
More details on http://www.revenue.state.az.us/TpT/Motorvehiclesale/mvtaxrate.htm
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Jaguar and Land Rover Vehicles Imported from the US require Admissibility and Recall Completion Letters
If you are importing a 1992-2008 Jaguar or a 2008 Land Rover you must contact an authorized Jaguar Canada dealership to determine the exact nature and costs of all modifications.
All modifications MUST be performed by an authorized Jaguar Canada dealership. When required modifications and any outstanding recalls have been completed, your local Jaguar dealer will provide you with an official Jaguar Canada vehicle admissibility and recall completion letter.
RIV fails to state if this is also the case with 2007 and earlier models for Land Rover, but we believe that the same rules will apply the moment RIV notices this oversight.
To locate a dealer go to: http://www.jaguar.ca/ca/en/jaguar_ownership/locate_dealer/Locate_A_Dealer.htm