Trouble After a Vehicle Purchase

raised pickup truckThis inquiry arrived in the DriveSmartBC inbox last Thursday: "I bought a used newer truck from a dealership and was told prior to signing the final documents that the truck had gone through a full safety inspection. Less than two weeks later I was pulled over and issued a ticket for improperly equipped motor vehicle and issued a box 2 inspection order for my 2017 Dodge Ram 3500."

The person goes on to say that the notice order is vague. He was not sure what to do next, but made an appointment for an inspection at the dealership where he purchased the truck.

Actually, the notice is not vague, it simply says that you must take the vehicle to a designated inspection facility, undergo inspection and make the identified repairs with a pass required within 30 days. The officer will not list what needs to be repaired, the facility will determine that.

There could be a significant difference between what the dealership calls a "safety inspection" and what the inspection facility does. Simply checking that all the lights work, that the tires have sufficient tread and that the brakes are not worn out could be considered a safety inspection. The designated inspection facility is required to check all items in a comprehensive set of standards (that you may find in your local library) and make sure that those standards are met.

The only way to know is to ask the dealership what was checked when you are shopping for the vehicle.

That said, the dealership is not supposed to sell you a vehicle that is not roadworthy:

Sale of motor vehicle contrary to regulations

222   A person must not sell, offer for sale, expose or display for sale or deliver over to a purchaser for use a motor vehicle, trailer or equipment for them that is not in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

Probably the only way to escape this requirement is to specify that what is being sold is not meant for use on a highway on the bill of sale.

You may find this FAQ from the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC useful. It outlines your rights when you purchase a vehicle from a dealer and what to do if you have problems.

Of course, if you made the modifications that triggered the officer's interest after you purchased the vehicle, you are on the hook for that yourself.

If you did not, then you may have some recourse against the dealership for the cost of the inspection and the changes necessary to make the vehicle roadworthy. The VSABC may assist you with that or you may have to conduct a small claims court action if the dealership refuses.

If you knew at the time of purchase that the vehicle was not roadworthy in all respects you may find that willful blindness can limit your options as well.

Finally, you can take advantage of lawyer referral for properly informed advice.


Just a thought about 'inspections'

It's worth keeping in mind that anybody (including dealerships) importing a vehicle to BC from another jurisdiction is required to get it properly inspected by a Government Certified mechanic. This Provincial safety inspection is a pre-condition of registering and insuring the vehicle here. On successful completion, there will be a semi-permanent sticker on the windshield certifying it has been done.

A typical situation is the importation of lightly used US vehicles, which amongst other items must have the speedometer/odometer changed from miles to kilometers, and the Daytime Running Lights must be operative. But this quite thorough inspection will cover all safety related items including tires, brakes, lights, exhaust system, wipers, steering components, suspension, and so on. If the dealership were to take any 'shortcuts' they would put at risk the certification of the mechanic and the dealership to conduct this work.

I wonder where this Dodge pickup originated?

But I also wonder what it was that triggered the cop to pull the driver over, and issue a ticket?

Be nice if the owner got back

Be nice if the owner got back to you with what was wrong.

I would take it back to the dealership and tell them to put it through the inspection and return it after it has past the inspection.

I've Asked

He said that he would share the results of the inspection after it is conducted next week. He's having it done at the dealership that sold him the vehicle. Hopefully they do an honest job.


I am assuming the driver of the truck in question did not make any modifications to the truck's equipment after the purchase.

Having said that, I am curious what it was that triggered the stop by the police. Had to be something that caught the officer's eye/ear. Improper lighting? Excessive lift? Noisy exhaust?

Also, the use of the word "dealership" implies the truck was bought at a location that sells new vehicles as well as used ones.

If someone sells a vehicle with a 3" lift, which 6 months later is determined to be partially responsible for an accident, is that person culpable?

My Thoughts

Most people would accept the statement - had gone through a full safety inspection - being the required for use on public highways but again the final step would be at the licensing office where the official designated safety inspection paperwork would be provided before license plates transfer of ownership or whatever is all processed at the ICBC licensing outlet. If a dealer sold the vehicle it’s their responsibility to make this very clear. The licensing outlet would also make this clear for the buyer to get transfer papers for movement of the vehicle.

My Thoughts?

Been years since I bought a used vehicle but I thought all you had to do was provide the paper work and walk out with you plates and insurance. I have never been asked for a safety inspection report. Only time I had an ICBC agent come out was to inspect the serial number of a vehicle I had bought in Alberta.

What is the procedure for registering a used vehicle in B.C.?

What is the procedure for registering a used vehicle in B.C.?

James, you might find the answer to that by clicking on the hot link, here:

It's worth keeping in mind that anybody (including dealerships) importing a vehicle to BC from another jurisdiction is required to get it properly inspected by a Government Certified mechanic.

But obviously, the procedure for purchasing a used BC vehicle will be much simpler. Just a bunch of transfer papers, so far as I recall.

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