Lawsuit Filed in British Columbia Against Auto Manufacturers for Practices in Contravention of Canada's Competition Act
IF YOU ARE A RESIDENT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA OR ALBERTA AND YOU HAVE IMPORTED A NEW OR USED VEHICLE FROM THE UNITED STATES, READ THE STATEMENT OF CLAIM AND SEE IF YOU QUALIFY AS A PLAINTIFF. AN APPLICATION IS IN PROCESS SEEKING CLASS ACTION STATUS FOR THIS SUIT. YOU MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR ANY EXPENSES DEEMED UNREASONABLE IF THIS SUIT IS SUCCESSFUL. SUBMITTION OF DOCUMENTATION DOES NOT OBLIGATE YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LAWSUIT. YOU ARE NOT AT RISK TO PAY ANY COSTS IF THE SUIT IS UNSUCCESSFUL.
Filed on February 26, 2008, at Victoria, British Columbia, this lawsuit alleges that BMW Canada Inc., Hyundai Auto Canada Corp., Hyundai Canada Inc., Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc., Subaru Canada Inc., Toyota Canada Inc., Volvo Cars of Canada and Volvo Group Canada Inc., have, contrary to the federally-regulated Competition Act, implemented unlawful policies designed to curtail imports from the United States into Canada. These policies include: preventing U.S. dealerships from selling new vehicles to Canadians, implementing new mandatory documentation requirements with exploitive fees for distribution, voiding OEM warranties, dictating unnecessary modifications and/or charging exploitive labour rates for modifications and/or inspections, as well as forcing Canadians to wait up to ninety (90) days for the service and/or inspections deemed mandatory prior to vehicle registration. In addition, some manufacturers have refused to provide the mandatory documentation to Canadians, effectively blocking their vehicle certification in Canada.
The aim of these unlawful polices, the lawsuit alleges, is to curb cross-border vehicle purchases, thereby protecting regional distribution territories, and preferential pricing practices in the United States. Depending on the make and model, the price differential between MSRPs in Canada and the United States can be as high as 50%. Under normal market conditions of free trade and the economics of supply and demand, and with the present currency parity, the price difference is alleged to be unsupportable. European regulators have already fined auto manufacturers for similar restraint-of-trade practices in Europe.
Nearly 190,000 vehicles were imported from the U.S. into Canada during 2007, and a record year appears to be underway for 2008. Lead counsel for the lawsuit, Mr. Wm. Rory Lambert of Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson, based out of Victoria, British Columbia, states, "It is our position that the trade barriers that have been erected by the named vehicle manufacturers are unlawful, and the purpose of our lawsuit is to force these manufacturers to comply with the law as well as obtain compensation for Canadian vehicle importers who have suffered losses as a result of these punitive policies."
How to Participate in the Lawsuit
If you are a resident of British Columbia or Alberta and have imported a vehicle from the United States, download and review the Statement of Claim to determine if you qualify as a plaintiff in this lawsuit. If you feel you qualify, complete the corresponding Questionnaire and Authorization Form (for plaintiff registration).
Note that this lawsuit creates the opportunity for individuals who have lost money to recover it. However, submission of documentation does not obligate you to participate in the lawsuit. In addition, once class certification is obtained, you are not at risk to pay any costs if the suit is unsuccessful. The costs will be borne by the proposed representative plaintiff. You will only be obligated to pay legal fees IF the lawsuit is successful, and these fees will only be a percentage of the amount recovered on your behalf.
It is expected that other auto manufacturers other than those named above will be added as defendants, prior to certification approval. If you have been adversely affected by these exploitive practices during a vehicle importation, but purchased from a manufacturer not currently named as a defendant, you are also encouraged to register.
Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson is seeking court approval for this lawsuit to become a "class action" suit, which it anticipates it will receive by June of 2008. If you register, you will be contacted for further details on your particular importation case.
For More Information
Wm. Rory Lambert
Dinning Hunter Lambert & Jackson
Tel: (250) 381-2151
Fax: (250) 386-2123
Tel: (250) 382-4332
Westport Motor Cars
1553 West 75th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6P6Z7
Telephone: (604) 267.1700
Fax: (604) 267.1777
Web Site: www.westportmotorcars.com