From time to time, Canadian consumers are led to believe that a U.S. dealer can deliver better value. But not all is what it may seem. If you are one of these consumers, please do yourself a favour before you commit; read the information outlined below. You may just save yourself a big headache and considerable money.
FACT #1: Buying from a Canadian dealer ensures that your RV is built to Canadian Codes and Standards.
provinces require that the RV's are built to C.S.A. (Canadian Standards
C.S.A. is not law, the RV's must meet E.S.A. (Electrical Safety Authority)
Technical Standards & Safety Authority (T.S.S.A.), an Ontario agency, provides safety services to the
government of Ontario.
set the standards and requirements for the propane systems found in all
RVs that are imported into Ontario
through a Canadian dealer.
Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires RV's to meet the Canadian Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards (CMVSS) and the importing dealer has to prove this to
with documented test results.
RISK #1: A Canadian consumer that buys a U.S. RV that is imported into Canada is responsible for any potential liability. The owner is to have performed the due diligence and is accountable for any costs or damages
FACT #2: Many Canadian campgrounds are starting to insist that Canadian RV owners entering their properties have the appropriate C.S.A. and / or E.S.A. approvals on their vehicles.
As concerns over liability issues increase Canadian campground owners are beginning to request that Canadian owned RV's have C.S.A. or E.S.A. certification.
RISK #2: The Canadian owner of a U.S. purchased RV risks vacation interruption by being turned away from their planned Canadian campgrounds.
FACT #3: Buying from a Canadian dealer guarantees service, support and warranty for your RV in Canada.
U.S. dealers' primary responsibility is to their local purchasers, then
their other U.S. purchasers and finally they get to their foreign
purchasers - Canadians.
The RV manufacturers rely on the selling dealer to contribute to the warranty expenses.For example, the time and cost to diagnose the warranty problems is not covered by the RV manufacturer but rather by the dealer.
The RV industry is unlike the car industry and the RV dealer does not profit from manufacturers' warranty.
who have purchased from a U.S. dealer are confused and irritated that
Canadian dealers are unwilling to perform the warranty service.
The Hitch House, we are quite happy to perform warranty service for our
own customers. In fact our Service Policy Statement is:
Our Service Policy
The Hitch House, we feel a very strong obligation to the people who put
their faith in us and purchased their motorhome from us. Many years ago
we developed, Our Service Policy, and it is simply that we put our
We Service ALL Customers Our Customer Priority is... 1. President Club Members (Hitch House coach owners) are our first priority 2. Transient and Stranded Owners 3. All others.
Please understand that our primary obligation is to our President Club members who are entitled to first in line service.
The vast majority of Canadian dealers have a very similar service policy.
RISK #3: A Canadian consumer that purchases from a U.S. dealer risks becoming an orphan for warranty and service. You will not be priority for your U.S. dealer nor will you be a priority for the Canadian dealer.
FACT #4: Buying from a Canadian dealer escalates the demand and value for your trade.
the Motor Vehicle Dealers' Act (MVDA, 2002) it must be disclosed to the
new owner (dealer or consumer) if that motorhome had been previously
titled in the U.S.
Every RV sold by a U.S. dealer, whether that RV is new or used is titled in the U.S.
There is no way for the Canadian dealer to obtain the vehicle history on a U.S. titled RV.
U.S. purchased RV's do not meet Canadian safety requirements.
RISK #4: All this decreases the trade value for that RV that was previously titled in the United States.
FACT #5: Buying from a Canadian dealer provides additional tax savings not available from U.S. dealers
Revenue Canada rewards Canadians who buy from Canadians.
a Canadian consumer trades a vehicle into a Canadian dealer the
consumer ONLY pays the taxes on the trade difference NOT the vehicle's
full purchase price.
A Canadian consumer that trades their vehicle into a U.S. dealer DOES NOT receive that tax benefit.
RISK #5: When the Canadian consumer imports their U.S. purchased RV into Canada they must pay the taxes immediately on the FULL PURCHASE PRICE of the vehicle at the border prior to entry.
FACT #6: Buying in Canada provides peace of mind that all tariffs, duty and taxes are paid.
Canadian dealers must be approved to import through Transport Canada and utilize the services of an authorized Customs Broker.
The customs broker ensures that the taxes are collected and paid to Revenue Canada.
Before an RV can be sold to a customer the dealer is required by law to ensure that the RV is lien-free.
United States' dealers are not held to this level of accountability.
RISK #6: Imagine this? You buy a motorhome or RV in the U.S. and import it into Canada. All seems great you think you got a great deal on your coach. Several months later you leave for the U.S. you meet the U.S. border guard and your vehicle is examined then impounded. The selling dealer in the U.S. left an outstanding lien on the vehicle and the financial institution has placed an alert on your RV.
FACT #7: Buying from a Canadian dealer supports your local economy and keeps Canadians working.
By buying from your Canadian dealer you keep your fellow Canadians working so they too can contribute to the Canadian economy.
In excess of 7,000 Canadians are employed at Canadian RV dealerships.
FACT #8: Legislation exists in Canada to protect Canadian consumers.
discussed previously there are a number of governmental agencies that
police the marketplace to ensure that you as a Canadian consumer are
agencies include but are not limited to: Transport Canada, Canadian
Standards Association, Electrical Safety Authority and the Technical
Safety & Standards Authority.
Additional protection for consumers...
Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
OMVIC is a governmental body that enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers' Act (MVDA, 2002).
All dealers that sell motor vehicles including motorhomes must be registered with OMVIC.
dealership employee that is involved in the selling or purchasing of
motor vehicles must take and pass the Automotive Certification Course
offered through Georgian College.
OMVIC completes a thorough background check on the employee including a criminal record check.
successful employee is issued a certificate of registration from OMVIC
allowing them to sell motor vehicles including motorhomes.
ensures that Ontario's registered motor vehicle dealers are held
accountable for their actions to the point that a dealer can lose their
license to sell in Ontario effectively putting them out of business.
Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund
This fund is a consumer protection program financed by Ontario's registered motor vehicle dealers.
fund was established to compensate consumers who suffer a financial
loss arising from a transaction with a registered dealer.
Ontario Consumer Protection Act
the purchases of those consumers that buy a non-motorized RV's (pop-up
trailer, travel trailer, 5th Wheel, etc) from one of Ontario RV Dealers.
RISK #8 a): An Ontario consumer that purchases a motorhome from a U.S. dealer does not have access to the disclosure, rights, remedies, and protection that are legislated by the Motor Vehicle Dealers' Act and enforced by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. A U.S. dealer does not have these obligations to the consumer that Ontario demands.
RISK #8 b): Any Ontario consumer that purchases a motorhome from a U.S. dealer is NOT eligible for compensation from the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.
There is a lot of protection for the Canadian consumer and in particular the Ontario consumer. However...it does not protect you if choose to buy from a U.S. dealer!
My advice, think twice and consider these items before you leap into that deal that the U.S. dealer promises to be oh so good. RVing can be a very pleasurable experience but dealership support is vitally important, please do not under estimate this.
Please also consider this... the U.S. is a relatively unregulated business environment. Read the papers and watch the news, there is a distinct culture in the U.S. that the free market economy is self-regulating. Now ask yourself where did Bernie Madoff thrive? Where did the world financial market collapse begin? Where did the subprime mortgages materialize? Perhaps the U.S. RV industry's Bernie Madoff is that dealer in California or maybe it's the one in Texas. Is the deal they are offering sound almost too good to be true, oh but its so tempting? Hmmm, I wonder if Bernie's clients thought the same thing. Is this where you want to buy and take your risks? Where is your protection?
I am quite sure that you can find your protection at home in Canada. Our governmental red tape does provide a certain level of comfort. There are over 500 RV dealerships in Canada. Don't you think that maybe The Hitch House or one of our Canadian dealer colleagues can help you find that motorhome or 5th Wheel or travel trailer that will suit your budget, needs, and warranty requirements? Just maybe your best option is close to home instead of hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
On behalf of The Hitch House I wish you all the best with your RV experience.