Does a dealer have to disclose car damage?

Car damage in transit or at the car dealership lot occurs fairly regularly. Here’s when a dealer is required to tell you about it

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From the February/March 2016 issue of the magazine.

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(Blend Images – Don Mason/ Getty Images)

“Does a dealer have to disclose damage to a new vehicle that was repaired before it was delivered to me? I learned that part of my car was repainted before I bought it.”
—G.S., Toronto

If damage is material (for example, if it would reduce the selling price) it should be disclosed. Truth is, damage in transit and at the lot occurs fairly regularly, but dealers don’t like to talk about it because it spooks customers. Some incidents of damage during transport result from weather events like hail and rolling seas, or during loading and unloading. In many cases, damage is repaired prior to delivery to the dealer, with no disclosure. If the dealer inquires, the manufacturer usually provides very basic information without a dollar value. Transit damage is often repaired quickly to keep vehicles moving in the system, which accounts for the sometimes poor finish of the repaired areas.

George Iny is the president of the Automobile Protection Association. Send him your automotive questions at

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