Friday, November 27, 2009

Update to Class Action Lawsuit Against BMW and Mercedes-Benz

If you have imported a BMW or Mercedes-Benz vehicle from the United States into Canada and have had to pay fees for letters of admissibility, recall clearance and/or BMW and Mercedes-Benz mandated modifications, this update may affect you:


The class action lawsuit is awaiting scheduling of the certification hearing in Ontario. There are a few important stages in a class action proceeding, the first of which is known as certification. In the certification stage, the court determines whether the lawsuit can proceed as a class proceeding.

People do not have an automatic right to pursue class action lawsuits. The court has to first give permission to proceed as a class action. Otherwise claimants have to sue on their own. The court determines whether to give permission or certify a lawsuit as a class proceeding at the certification stage.

The court will examine several factors in making this decision and will certify a class proceeding if the following conditions are met:

* the pleadings disclose a cause of action;

* there is an identifiable class of two or more persons that would be represented by the representative plaintiff;

* the claims of the class members raise common issues;

* a class proceeding would be the preferable procedure for the resolution of the common issues; and

* there is a representative plaintiff who,

(i) would fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class,

(ii) has produced a plan for the proceeding that sets out a workable method of advancing the proceeding on behalf of the class and of notifying class members of the proceeding, and

(iii) does not have, on the common issues for the class, an interest in conflict with the interests of other class members.

These issues are adjudicated at the certification hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

The claim is being put forward to represent all persons in all provinces and territories in Canada who have incurred losses as a result of the alleged conduct.


Questions and comments may be posted to this blog or e-mailed directly to Your questions and responses - if determined to be relevant to other importers - may be posted on this blog for others to review.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Strategies To Avoid BMW Fees On Vehicles Imported From The US

The following experience and advise was posted to the UCanImport blog and we have placed it here as a new post for those of you who are sitting on the fence about importing a BMW vehicle from the United States.

Please, review the information below and search this blog for other BMW posts.

If you are interested in sharing your story or joining the lawsuit against BMW, please visit this blog -

UCanImport reader post dated October 22, 2009

Guys, I want to let you know what I did to bypass BMW Canada intervention for owner who import. I can say now, that I would have taken my car for service at BMW, but now the car will NEVER.. EVER.. see a BMW dealership.

They hold you hostage. "Do these unnecessary modifications to your car that we require to make some money or you don't get your recall letter."

I just imported a BMW 5 series and here is what they told me needed to be done.

New Instrument Cluster - $1590 + $125 Programing
I said to them, why do I need a new cluster when it has KM/H on the cluster and that is OK with the RIV.

IHKA Heating Module - $1060 + $125 Programing
They told my the IHKA Module is for Canadian emissions standards... I said to them, the car already passed drive clean, it meets the standards.

Daytime Runners - $375
This is a requirement, but you'll note my costs to have this done below.

Car Inspection - $187
CASH GRAB.. This is to verify all of the VIN, which CDN Tire does with their FREE Government inspection.

Finally I am "allowed" to have the honor to pay for this letter, which is free with most car manufactures.

Grand Total with Tax: $4,477.06

Here's what I did...

Contacted Unity Auto - They supply you with the letter for $400
Went to TechMax Auto - To get my Daytime lights activated - $100

Grand Total with Tax: $500

That's almost $4,000 in savings.

The changes BMW requires are unlawful and not required by law to certify the car in Canada. Canadian Tire is the certified shop that determines the requirements + your provincial standard inspection. Which my car meets every single requirement.

I called BMW's head office and was told that there are several lawsuits pending right now due to these charges, and I'm not surprised. I've heard stories of the dealers telling people they cannot activate Daytime Runners unless the cluster is replaced which is falsifying the truth and highly illegal.

As a final note, my car is out of it's warranty period, so having BMW Canada support me is not required for myself, and now I have $4,000 to give to the indy mechanic TechMax for any repairs I need. If you do go this route and have a very new BMW with lots of warranty you're stuck the 5K way as far as I know, and I can understand the modifications and letter fees are for them to re-coupe costs they will incur fixing your car under warranty for years. But if you're importing a car that has no warranty this is the route to go IMO.

I hope that this really helps out a lot of people. I found out all of this information by doing hours of searching the net, so I wanted to add my contribution back. If you're looking for a local dealer to set up your daytime lights, just google your area and European Independent Mechanic.

UCanImport suggests the following:

1. Ask the seller to obtain the Warranty Vehicle Inquiry report from their BMW dealership in the US. This is a screen capture that also shows if any recalls are outstanding on the vehicle.

2. Submit this report to and have them review it and if okay, approve it.

3. Have the DRLs activated in the US! Folks, this is the one that gets most BMW importers. Most people are just happy to get the recall printout that they forget to ask for the DRL activation.

4. Take your vehicle to a Federal Inspection Center once you receive Form 2 from RIV and bypass BMW entirely.

This is a strategy that has been used by hundreds of UCanImport subscribers and they have successfully avoided the BMW money-grab.

And, finally, don't sit silent while these practices continue. Tell us your stories at and sign up for the lawsuit if you have been at the receiving end of these money-grabbing policies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Import a Harley Davidson Motorcycle from the US

Request Recall Clearance Using This Form from Deeley Harley Davidson

If you are importing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from the United States, please read and complete this form to request recall clearance information from Deeley Harley Davidson -

You may only request this information when you have a copy of the title in hand.

Before negotiating the purchase of any Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the US, please ensure that it is admissible to Canada by reviewing the Transport Canada admissibility listing.

The recall letter is required by RIV/Transport Canada before they are able to issue the Federal Inspection Form. You are able to submit this letter at any point in your importation project, i.e. before you bring the motorcycle into Canada or after.

September 2009 Vehicle Imports Almost Double January Figures

Currency parity has more Canadians looking south for vehicles

After importing 240,000 vehicles from the United States last year, Canadians are back at it after a brief respite over the last 9 months.

If you are thinking of purchasing a vehicle in the US consider the following:

1. Will the dealership in the US sell me a brand new vehicle, or will I only be able to purchase a used one?

2. Does the seller have a clear title to the vehicle or are there any encumbrances on the vehicle?

3. Am I really getting the best rate on my wire transfer payment to the seller, and how do I shop for a better exchange rate?

4. How significant are the required modifications on the vehicle and can I have them completed in the US?

Read the most recent article in the Vancouver Sun related to importing vehicles from the US. For answers to the above questions and for additional clarification on the vehicle importation process, download a copy of UCanImport's easy-to-follow vehicle importing guide.

For a list of vehicles that can be imported from the United States, please see Transport Canada's admissibility listing.

For a list of USA and Canada Border Crossing details please visit our listing information at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

US Trip Permits and Temporary Registration for Vehicle Imports

When you purchase a motor vehicle in the US with the intention of importing it immediately into Canada, you will want to have a trip permit for the vehicle.

What is a trip permit?

A trip permit, also known as temporary registration or in-transit permit, is a sticker or a piece of paper issued by a motor vehicles department (DMV or DOT) in the USA. This permit gives you permission to operate an unregistered vehicle until you arrive in Canada. If you are an average importer, you only want to pick up the car, truck, RV or motorcycle from the US and bring it to Canada without having to register it first in the US.

A list of trip permit information is provided on the UCanImport website for a number of US states.

With a trip permit purchased in one state, you may operate the vehicle through all states that fall between your origin and your destination. For example, if you purchase a trip permit in Texas, you can use that permit to operate your vehicle through all the states up to the Canadian border and to your residence. You are not required to purchase a trip permit for each state.

If purchasing your vehicle through a dealership, ask the dealer to obtain the trip permit for you.

Important: Once you have arrived home in Canada, the US-issued trip permit is no longer valid. You must obtain a Canadian-issue permit from you auto insurance agent in Canada.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Porsche Follows BMW and Mercedes-Benz By Imposing Compliance Letter Fees

Importers Face Payment of $1,250 For "Importation Inspection"

As of June 24, 2009, Porsche is insisting that it can no longer issue Recall Clearance Letters and that any such confirmation may only be obtained from a Canadian Porsche dealership once the vehicle has been imported.

The cost of the importation inspection is $1,250 and results in the issue of a Letter of Compliance from Porsche.

Here's what importers ought to know before completing their purchase:

1. RIV does not require a Letter of Compliance to issue Form 2; RIV only needs recall clearance confirmation, copy of Form 1 and payment of the RIV fee.

2. 1. If purchasing your Porsche vehicle from a US dealership, ask them to print off the Porsche warranty inquiry report off their internal systems. This is a screen capture that dealerships have access to and it will be accepted by RIV.

3. If purchasing from a private seller in the US, have them go to the dealership that does their service work for them and get this printout.

If the vehicle you desire to import into Canada is shown as admissible on the RIV website then Porsche has confirmed that the vehicle may be imported into Canada and can be modified to meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Please post your Porsche importing stories here for others to read and learn from.

We're disappointed that Porsche has followed BMW and MB down this path.

For all of you who have paid the $1,250 fee, please sign on to the Class Action Lawsuit

Friday, August 14, 2009

RIV Launches New Website

Vehicle Importers Can Track Cases Online

RIV has leaped into the 21st Century with a brand new, easy-to-navigate website.

If you are importing a vehicle from the US into Canada, RIV offers more comprehensive manufacturer information, a customizable Importer Checklist, and links to border crossing information.

Please note that not all manufacturers will issue recall clearance information to you when you contact them. These include BMW and Honda among others. UCanImport suggests using this blog for tips on how to obtain recall information. Additionally, RIV does not provide exact documentation requirements for the US border, so you may choose to use UCanImport's border crossing information for ready access to fax numbers and other document details.

Overall, we applaud RIV's efforts to make importing information more transparent and love the fact that importers can now use a handy Case Tracking tool to keep up with the documentation approval process needed to receive the Federal Inspection Form (Form 2).

Importing a vehicle from the United States into Canada just became friendlier...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BMW Recall Clearance Letters Available For Importers

UCanImport Reader Provides Advise To Importers

I just imported a 2007 BMW 328i convertible from the U.S and the BMW dealerships here in Toronto told me I had to pay $500 for a recall letter and then $2500 for the instrument cluster to change it to km/hr, and then another $300 for day light running lamps. Thats almost $3500+! BMW is getting ridiculous.

Luckily I found a shop here in Toronto that gets recall letters from an internal BMW employee for $400 flat fee, his email is

NOTE: UCanImport has not verified the validity of this process and asks importers to use caution when sending money to an unknown party. For information on the class action lawsuit please view

Friday, June 5, 2009

Import A Salvage Vehicle Into Alberta

Process To License a Salvage/Rebuilt Vehicle in Alberta

If you are importing a vehicle from the US and the title indicates that the vehicle a salvage or reconstructed vehicle, please note the following for licensing in Alberta.

1. Prior to commencing your importation, please verify that the vehicle is admissible to Canada by checking at RIV or using this list;

2. Contact a salvage inspection shop using this Alberta Transportation map - ***PLEASE SELECT "SALVAGE" FOR INSPECTION TYPE PRIOR TO COMMENCING YOUR SEARCH.

3. Get 2 to 3 quotes for a salvage inspection; As these shops are privates businesses, prices may vary.

4. Take the vehicle for the customary Federal Inspection following the guidelines in the UCanImport guide, and then go for a salvage inspection. When you pass, you will receive a Salvage Inspection Certificate.

5. The Salvage Inspection Certificate is VALID FOR 14 DAYS only, so you must take the vehicle to a registry agent to have it registered and licensed within those 14 days.

6. You will then get your plates and your vehicle will be registered as "Salvage" in Alberta.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recall Clearance Approval Process At RIV Has Changed

Importers No Longer Able to Obtain A General Inquiry Number Without Form 1

UCanImport has learned that there has been a slight change to the recall clearance approval process at RIV.

Until now, we had recommended that our readers submit recall clearance documentation to RIV prior to importing their vehicle into Canada. By so doing, importers could receive confirmation that the recall clearance documentation was approved by RIV. Importers would receive a General Inquiry Number (GIN) under which their recall documentation would be accessible until the vehicle was eventually imported into Canada.

As of now, importers will have to submit recall clearance documentation along with Form 1 to RIV only AFTER the vehicle is in Canada, all the border fees have been paid, and they have received Form 1 from the CBSA. Then, using the sample cover letter provided in the importing guide, the importer will submit the recall clearance documentation and Form 1 to RIV, await approval and the ultimate release of Form 2 (Federal Inspection Form).

If you have any questions or concerns about this change in process, please contact us at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Importing A Motor Vehicle From The US

Avoid Common Dealer/Seller Scams When Buying A Motor Vehicle In The U.S.

This article written by Matthew de Paula of MSN Autos provides information on the following scams and give you tips on how to protect yourself:

1. Selling Cars Without Proper or Clear Titles;
Selling Wrecked or Salvaged Vehicles;
Bogus Warranties;
Financing Falls Through;
Credit/Identity Theft; and
Misleading Advertising.

For importers, note that in order complete your export out of the US, you must submit export documentation to the US Customs & Border Patrol office a minimum of 72 hours in advance. To complete this submission, you will have to provide copies of the front and back of the title certificate, as well as a copy of the bill of sale.

One statistic we have encountered suggests that up to 12% of online advertising is misleading. Please review the first part of this article to understand how to safeguard yourself against unscrupulous vehicle sellers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Import a Mercedes-Benz from the US

How To Request A Recall Clearance Letter

If you are importing a Mercedes-Benz vehicle from the US, you will need to show RIV that there are no recalls outstanding on the vehicle.

To receive a Recall Clearance Letter from MB USA, you will need to fax a cover letter to (201) 476-6213 (Attention: CAC) along with proof of ownership in the form of a Title, Registration or Bill of Sale. You should also indicate that the recall information is required to complete an export out of the US and import into Canada.

Remember to provide your full contact information and your preferred method of delivery, i.e. fax or mail. Give yourself up to 10 days to receive this letter. To telephone MB USA use 1-800-367-6372.

At this time there is no charge for this letter.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Update on Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Auto Manufacturers

If you have imported a vehicle from the US into Canada, this update may affect you.


Dear Vehicle Importer:

Thank you for your continued interest in the progress of our claim against the auto manufacturers.

At the time we commenced our lawsuit, a similar suit was commenced in Ontario, and we have been asked to join forces with that Ontario firm.

In order to join forces we have agreed to discontinue the claim in British Columbia. We believe that by this partnership we have a better chance of wining this David & Goliath battle.

These lawsuits are usually strenuously defended and can take years to wind their way though the legal system, so we ask you for your patience and continued interest. We will endeavor to provide monthly updates so that you can follow the progress of this lawsuit as it works its way through the court system.

Kindest regards,

Wm. Rory Lambert

Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BMW Imports From The US

Warranty Transfer Process

If you are importing a BMW vehicle from the US, you may come across conflicting information on the process.

For example, RIV doesn't require a Letter of Compliance from BMW Canada in order to release the Federal Inspection Form (Form 2) to you. You can register your vehicle in Canada without a BMW Canada Letter of Compliance. However, BMW Canada insists that one of its registered Canadian dealerships must perform modifications to your newly-imported vehicle, often to the tune of $3,000. They also insist that once the modifications are done, they must issue a Letter of Compliance at a cost of $500.

While the Letter of Compliance is not required for RIV/Transport Canada, BMW insists it is required for Warranty Protection on the balance of your vehicle's warranty.

This is a verbatim response to a customer query:

"Dear [BMW X3 Importer];

Thank you very much for your reply email.

We are truly sorry for the experience that you did receive at Calgary BMW and we can certainly look into this further if you would like us to do so.

However our response does remain unchanged regarding reimbursement of the costs associated with importing your vehicle from the United States. You are correct in stating that there are ways to go about importing your vehicle into Canada without paying the $500.00, but these ways are not suggested by BMW Canada as your vehicle would not be properly registered with us and the remaining portion of your warranty would not be validated.

If there is anything else that we can help with please email back and we would be glad to assist.

Customer Interaction Specialist
BMW Canada Inc. "

When asked by the importer to verify that folks need to "register" their imported vehicle with BMW Canada in order to have the warranty recognised, this was Matthew's response.

"Dear [BMW X3 Importer]

Thank you very much for responding.

I have contacted Calgary BMW and spoken with Service Manager Kevin Mah regarding your concerns and we certainly aim to improve the quality of service that you receive during your next visits. Regarding the importation of your vehicle, there is a difference between vehicles that are visiting from the United States and vehicles that have permanently moved to Canada and not registered their vehicle properly with BMW Canada. We certainly do assist our counterparts in the United States by honoring the warranty with customers visiting, but with vehicles that have moved to Canada permanently we do ask that the importation procedures that you have followed are performed.

I hope that this provides clarification regarding your concerns and if you would like to discuss these issues further please do feel free to contact me directly at 1-800-567-2691 and ask for extension 5069.

Customer Interaction Specialist
BMW Canada Inc. "

BMW does not come out and state that they will refuse to honour the warranty if the $500 is not paid for a "registration" fee. So, what exactly is their policy? We have long decided that BMW is seeking these financial rewards to appease their Canadian dealerships who have lost sales to importers seeking better deals in the US.

We encourage other readers to share their experiences. Like you, we are frustrated by the rules that BMW imposes and the penalties they charge.

If you have paid these fees to BMW, you may wish to put your name on the list of potential plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit. If so, please e-mail and we will add your contact information to the growing list.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vehicle Imports in 2008 Break Previous Records

The North American Automobile Trade Association (NAATA) has summarized the importing stats from 2008 as follows:

A total of 239,929 vehicles were imported into Canada through the Registrar of Imported Vehicles program in 2008, breaking the old record set the year before of 189,738 vehicles.

This figure represents an average of 22, 600 vehicles per month from January to October allowing for the dramatic declines in November (
7,854 vehicles) and December (5,661vehicles).

With the drop in the Canadian dollar exports from Canada to the US and to other parts of the world are starting to pick up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Daytime Running Lights for Chrysler Vehicles

Canadian Dealers Can Activate DRLs

A few weeks ago a subscriber asked:

Do you know if Chrysler makes a module to turn on the DRL system in a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. I live in the States and have a Canadian made unit. All the dealers and Chrysler have given me is a run around. Anything will be helpful."

UCanImport offered this reader some advice on how to get the information, and asked them to provide any feedback for our subscribers and blog readers. Here's the answer for all Chrysler importers:

"I finally found the answer to the question. American Chrysler product dealers do not have the ability to turn the DRL system on with their Tech Box, but I have discovered that Canadian Chrysler product dealers do. All I have to do is drive over to Windsor and go to the dealer and they will take their box and flash the PCM and on they come."

UCanImport advises that in many instances Canadian Tire may be able to help depending on the year of the vehicle.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Import a Mercedes-Benz from the US

Transport Canada list shows 2009 models are now admissible to Canada

If you are seeking to import a Mercedes-Benz vehicle from the US, please review the newly-updated list at Transport Canada for admissibility requirements. To review admissibility listings directly at Mercedes-Benz, please see

We encourage you to review an earlier blog posting to understand how to obtain a Recall Clearance Letter for your Mercedes-Benz importation.