When a Bradford, Ont. woman recently bought an SUV she says she was surprised to see a $899 fee on her contract.
Laura Daly said she was led to believe by the dealership that it was a necessary cleaning charge because of COVID-19.
“As I was just about to sign the bill of sale I saw this very odd fee of $899, which was listed as a clay detail," Daly told CTV News Toronto.
Daly said that when she asked for more information about the charge she was told it was related to COVID-19.
“I asked specifically before I signed … ‘what is this? And the gentleman said thank COVID, that's your disinfecting fee.’ So to me it sounded like a mandatory disinfecting fee and it is COVID and it was a used car," Daly said.
Daly signed the contract, but over the next month wanted a better explanation as to what the fee was for.
“I just want to understand what it was and to this day I haven't gotten the right answer. $899 is a lot of money,” Daly said.
CTV News Toronto reached out to the car dealer about the issue.
"Our dealership has never charged clients for COVID safety protocols,” the dealership stated. “Mrs. Daly was quoted $899 to make her car look brand new as she requested.”
The dealership said her vehicle received a thorough cleaning inside and outside, including a clay bar and polish to help protect the vehicle’s paint.
Sometimes when a person buys a new or used car, the dealer may try to include add-ons like protection packages, warranties, or detailing fees.
These extras will cost people more and it's important to have a good understanding of the added cost before signing on the dotted line.
Daly complained to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC), which regulates dealers.
OMVIC told CTV news Toronto that “dealers can set fees as they see fit” but they must be “…clear and truthful in describing the features, benefits and prices connected with a sale.”
OMVIC said it spoke with the dealer and Daly to try and find an amicable solution but was unsuccessful.
Daly said she wants to warn other to be careful of added fees.
“I just really want other people to be aware, no matter what you're purchasing, but especially a large purchase like a car, to make sure you double check your papers,” Daly said.
It’s also important to know under Ontario law, there is no cooling-off period when buying a car because once a contract is signed in most cases it will considered a legally binding contract.