Ontario Dealer Association Gets OK to Pursue Legal Action
The Used Car Dealers Association of Canada says the Insurance Bureau of Canada has "terminated" its access to the accident insurance claim data that it uses in its AutoCheck vehicle history reports, so now the group has initiated legal action to get that data back and get these history reports rolling once again.
To shed some light on the viewpoints of each party, Auto Remarketing Canada talked with UCDA legal services director Warren Barnard and reached out to IBC for comment as well. IBC declined to comment "out of respect" for the ongoing legal process, a spokesperson said.
To get its litigation started, UCDA had to ask the Competition Tribunal for permission to leave, which would allow it to file an application against IBC.
The association asked to be greenlighted to file an application under two sections of the Competition Act (75 and 76), but was only granted leave under one. The Tribunal ruled on Sept. 9 said that UCDA could leave to pursue an application under section 75 – i.e. "Refusal to Deal" — of the Act, but not section 76, which deals with pricing.
"The basis (of the action), in its simplest form, is that for 13 years the UCDA had received and paid for accident insurance claim data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada which we use as the basis for our AutoCheck accident reporting system for our members," Barnard told Auto Remarketing Canada on Thursday.
"In June of this year, the IBC, for whatever reasons they have, terminated that access which essentially … suspended the AutoCheck service," he continued. "And our action based on the competition bureau here in Canada is essentially a Refusal to Deal application — or argument — that they are refusing to supply information to us, information that is available in the marketplace."
UCDA is requesting that it once again receives this information, Barnard went on to note.
The parties are awaiting a hearing, but in the meantime, their respective attorneys are attempting to hash out an agreement so that UCDA does not have to actually proceed with the application, Barnard said.
The Tribunal has directed the parties to work out an arrangement for UCDA to temporarily obtain the data that would allow the group to reinstate (at least on an interim basis) its AutoCheck program, Barnard said, and keep the association from proceeding any further with its action.
That action would be a request "for an interim order asking the Tribunal to order the IBC to provide that information to us on an interim basis," he added.
"The next step is, for the time being, we're trying to work on an arrangement with IBC, that's with our lawyers, to attempt to regain that access on an interim basis so the whole matter is concluded," Barnard explained.
"If that ultimately can't be arranged for whatever reason, if it's not going anywhere, then the next step would be to proceed with the application to the Tribunal with an interim order to obtain that data from IBC on an interim basis," he continued. "We're hoping, of course, not to have to go that route. We'd rather have that arrangement made on a consensual basis between the parties. Our members needed it and used it, and still need it and use it."
When asked what the association is advising its dealer members to do, Barnard had this to say: "As we always would, we advise them to use their own discretion and judgment as to what they would want to know about vehicles. There are other commercial sources that are out there that may be of help to them.
"We don't advise them to use any particular sources, but it's up to their discretion to do so. And, of course, inspect the vehicle, ask questions of who they're getting the vehicle from, determine as best that they can, physically, as to whether the vehicle has had any past damage or incidents so they can disclose that information," he concluded.