Trade Board Drops Used Car Dealer
Auto Channel Limited has become the first casualty of the revised Motor Vehicle Import Policy (MVIP), which took effect in April this year.
The Trade Board Limited has opted not to recertify the car dealership run by the chief spokesman for the traders of pre-owned vehicles and has warned other operators to either fall in line with the new import policy or suffer the same fate.
The Trade Board is the oversight agency for the policy and the issuer of import licences.
Auto Channel, whose principal is Lynvalle Hamilton, the current president of the Jamaica
Used Car Dealers’ Association, was denied recertification due to breaches of Section 9.1 of the import policy, Trade Board CEO Victor Cummings confirmed to Sunday Business.
He said, however, that Auto Channel would regain its licence once it becomes compliant.
“My job is to administer the policy and not to be selective, so no special treatment. Everybody has to comply,” said the Trade Board CEO.
Section 9.1 of the MVIP deals with
background checks to ensure that dealers pass fit and proper tests, and comply with consumer protection and trade laws.
Cummings did not specify the precise breach by Auto Channel.
Hamilton, whose dealership operates from Holborn Road in New Kingston, declined to comment, but said he would soon be releasing a press statement on his position.
Several other dealers have been given “special warnings” to shape up, said Cummings. These warnings were to dealers against whom complaints have been filed with the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC).
Details on the number of complaints before it were not forthcoming from the FTC up to press time.
For the dealers whose licences are close to being renewed but have complaints against them, “we submit to them a warning that since they are close, they need to ensure that they satisfy Section 9.1,” said the Trade Board head.
The dealers are contending that other companies have not been recertified, but Cummings refuted the claim.
“Only one has not been recertified,” he said, referring to Auto Channel. “We have sent warnings to the others.”
“There are some who have not complied, but they are now in the process of complying, and we are recertifying them,” he added.
“Everybody was warned, but some of them, where there are complaints, either to the FTC or CAC, were given a special warning,” said Cummings.
He declined to state the number of dealers on the special list.
Used car dealers must be certified by the Trade Board annually to import cars and must also obtain a license for each vehicle the import.
Each dealer’s import licence comes up for renewal based on their anniversary date.
“What we are doing right now is we are going through Section 9.1 as their recertification is due. Several of them that we know are in violation of Section 9.1. If their certification is not due, we have placed them on notice that they need to become compliant,” Cummings said.
Dealers denied recertification may appeal to the portfolio minister in charge of commerce for reinstatement of their licence after “a minimum waiting period”, which the MVIP does not define.
Excerpt of Section 9.1 of the Motor Vehicle Import Policy:
All duly registered companies desirous of participating in the motor vehicle trade as dealers or brokers will be required to undergo background checks so as to ensure that they are fit and proper to conduct business.
Applications for re-certification will be subject to checks to determine the entity’s level of compliance with the Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Competition Act and the Sale of Goods Act.
Applicants found to be in breach of the Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Competition Act or the Sale Of Goods Act via misrepresentation (whereby vehicles sold to consumers are valued for less than the current market value paid by the consumer because of model year discrepancy or any other variation between the actual vehicle and the description given, that impacts the price of the vehicle in the way stated above) will not be automatically re certified by the Trade Board Limited.
The Trade Board Limited will only consider re-certification of such entities after they have served a minimum waiting period to be decided by the Minister, along with payment of the certification fee for the stipulated waiting period.