View Full Version : BMW, Mercedes-Benz & 2 federal agencies accused of import curbs

02-29-2008, 10:02 AM
Here's some good news. I hope these guys succeed with their case.

Auto firms after class action

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and two federal agencies accused of import curbs
Feb 29, 2008 04:30 AM


BMW and Mercedes-Benz are conspiring with federal agencies to effectively restrict auto imports, two area companies that are seeking a class-action lawsuit say.

Specialty importer Fournier Leasing Co. and used car dealer Canadian Auto Associates allege the two luxury automakers, Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency worked together or arranged to prevent or lessen competition of services on vehicles imported from the United States.

Fournier, of Oakville, and Canadian Auto of Guelph say in a claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that Mercedes-Benz and the two agencies conspired to unreasonably jack up prices of the automaker's cars in Canada at least as early as 2005

Putting additional restrictions and unnecessary procedures on imported vehicles caused importers to pay additional fees and charges, according to the claim.

In the case of Mercedes, the claim says the fees prevented more competitively priced vehicles from entering Canada and therefore allowed Canadian dealers to charge higher prices for new models sold and leased here.

The two plaintiffs now need a court order to certify the claim as a class action to proceed further.

The two companies say in their statement that Transport Canada made them pay thousands of dollars to Mercedes and BMW for model recall information and unnecessary vehicle modifications and import approvals.

"Vehicle importers suffered damages as they were obliged to pay fees for unnecessary procedures, vehicle modifications and certifications as a result of the dissemination of inaccurate and false information by Transport Canada."

The government does not impose those costs on other auto importers and they are not required under Canadian law, the claims stated.

The claim, which has not been proved in court, stated Transport Canada was negligent in releasing false information about import requirements for Mercedes and BMW vehicles and imposing additional hurdles for importing them despite there being no requirements under the law.

The two firms said in a subsequent statement that the automakers compelled consumers to make the modifications at Mercedes and BMW dealerships instead of other repair shops at "exorbitant" prices.

Fournier and Canadian Auto are seeking $1 billion – general damages of $250 million and $250 million for restraint of trade; $250 million for negligence and another $250 million for breaches of the federal Competition Act.

Mercedes, BMW and Transport Canada said yesterday the plaintiffs had not served them yet.

"We have not yet been served with any legal documents and cannot comment before we have reviewed the allegations in detail," BMW Group Canada spokesperson Stacy Morris said.

The two plaintiffs now need a court order to certify the claim as a class action to proceed further.

The dispute arose in the past year as growing numbers of consumers shopped south of the border for less-expensive autos. Similar autos cost thousands of dollars less in the U.S. than in Canada despite a narrowing currency gap between the two countries.

To import an auto, a consumer must confirm its admissibility with Transport Canada; complete modifications to meet national safety standards; ensure it is not subject to recalls; fill out special forms and pay a $195 fee plus GST.


02-29-2008, 10:34 AM
Seeing this made me super happy! Lets hope it gets somewhere!

02-29-2008, 10:43 AM
Let's hope the lawsuit gets certified and the plaintiffs have their day in court. This will be interesting. Please update this thread with any developments.

03-01-2008, 09:23 PM
does this mean I can get my $850 back?

03-02-2008, 12:54 PM
does this mean I can get my $850 back?

You just might!


03-25-2008, 10:27 PM
another class action suit...

Car makers sued over import "obstacles"

Updated: Tue Mar. 25 2008 18:19:46


A few Victoria car dealers have filed a class action suit against some of the biggest automakers in the business, saying they are gouging importers unfairly.

One dealer says he thinks new measures like charging for changing a speedometer to kilometres per hour, or making a temperature read Celsius, are nothing but cash grabs.

"Canadians are getting ripped off by these manufacturers," said Todd MacDonald, who imports expensive pre-owned vehicles from the U.S. and re-sells them in Canada.

The new measures add as much as $5,000 to the cost of a $100,000 BMW for a local dealer -- and it takes twice as long to import it, he said.

MacDonald says he thinks the manufacturers are trying to keep prices high, despite a higher loonie that should make American goods cost less.

MacDonald's Victoria lawyer, Rory Lambert, has filed a class action suit.

With almost 200,000 vehicles imported last year, a lot of consumers may sign on, said Lambert.

He said it's a matter of fairness.

"You can go to a local GM dealer, and ask them how many US cars they have on their lot," he said. "They can take advantage of the price difference but we can't. Is that fair?"

The New Car Dealers Association didn't return phone calls to tell their side of the story, and neither did BMW or other manufacturers.

MacDonald isn't spending much time in the showroom -- he's buried in paperwork, working on his lawsuit, and hoping the government steps in to stop manufacturers from adding more obstacles.

"I'm hoping to put these guys in their place," he said.


03-26-2008, 07:31 PM
more detail...