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Sask. auto dealer violated consumer protection and business practices, province says

Big Q Auto as seen in Wynyard, Sask. in May of 2023. (Courtesy: Google Maps) Big Q Auto as seen in Wynyard, Sask. in May of 2023. (Courtesy: Google Maps)
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Those who suffered a financial loss because of their dealings with Big Q Auto in Wynyard, Sask. may be able to reclaim some of their lost funds, according to the province.

Big Q Auto held a license as a vehicle dealer from July 23, 2019 until it was suspended in November of 2022 and outright cancelled a month later.

Saskatchewan’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) says Big Q Auto violated consumer protection and business practices on multiple occasions by selling vehicles with serious mechanical and safety concerns.

In an FCAA decision, the agency outlines three cases in which customers of Big Q Auto claimed financial losses in their dealings with the business.

The first customer bought their 2015 Chevy Trax in June of 2022 from Big Q Auto. According to the FCAA, an SGI vehicle identification number (VIN) search was not provided. The customer attempted to work with the dealer to fix issues related to 02 sensors, the catalytic converter as well as the vehicle’s suspension.

Unable to contact Big Q Auto, the customer took their vehicle to a local mechanic where it was discovered that parts that were supposed to be replaced and new – appeared used.

The customer spent over $2,000 on repairs. It was later discovered the vehicle was involved in an accident in 2021. Damages to the vehicle were appraised at more than $5,000 at the time.

The second complainant bought a 2008 Jeep Commander from the dealer in January of 2022. Soon after the purchase, the customer noticed serious issues such as a defective radiator, worn suspension components and broken seatbelt latches.

Big Q Auto claimed the vehicle was inspected by SGI and the issues were dealt with after several visits to the dealer.

The customer later took their vehicle to a mechanic’s service in Regina. What followed was the discovery of loose and damaged components throughout the suspension. The vehicle was deemed unsafe for the road and required over $6,600 in repairs.

The third complainant was sold a 2002 Jeep Wrangler with 257,942 kilometres in October of 2022 which began misfiring after only 100 kilometres.

After taking the vehicle to third party dealership, the customer paid more than $11,000 in repairs which included a new engine.

At the onset of the sale, the dealer also provided the wrong vehicle identification number (VIN), causing issues with licensing the vehicle for the customer. A month after purchase, the customer was ticketed for having an unregistered vehicle.

According to the decision, this was due to Big Q Auto not filing the proper paperwork with SGI and the vehicle “not meeting minimum safety requirements.”

The vehicle was taken to a mechanic’s service in Regina where a seat belt retractor, stabilizer and sway bar bushings and a U Joint were replaced.

All four tires (which were the wrong size) were replaced. Several lug nuts, which were also the wrong size, were replaced.

The customer ended up paying $3,756.26 for the repairs. Throughout the process, the customer tried to contact Big Q Auto to no avail.

SGI later found that the vehicle was not safe or in road worthy condition – at the time it was inspected by Big Q.

On top of this, the correct VIN for the vehicle revealed it had nearly 50,000 more kilometres on it than was displayed at the time of the sale.

All three customers filed financial loss reports with the FCAA.

The authority found that in all three cases, Big Q Auto engaged in unfair practices including “making false claims, representing goods as new or unused when they weren’t and using exaggeration, innuendo or ambiguity in representing a material fact.”

“In light of the contraventions of the act and regulations outlined above, I demand forfeiture of the security filed by Big Q Auto with respect to its dealings with the claimants,” the decision read.

Big Q Auto was forced to forfeit its $25,000 licensing bond due to the findings of the decision.

For residents to determine their eligibility for a claim – they will need to provide a signed claim form and supporting documents to substantiate their financial loss. All claims must be submitted by Feb. 17.

More information can be provided by emailing Saskatchewan’s Consumer Protection Division at branch.consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca or calling 306-787-5550.

More information on the decision can be found here.

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