Compensation available for impacted CarOne customers

CarOne customers who have been impacted by the recent closure of the business' two locations may be entitled to financial compensation.

The company abruptly declared bankruptcy in late January closing its Belleville and Kingston stores, and now the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) says customers could be entitled to up to $45,000 for losses.

The money comes from the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Compensation Fund (MVDCF), a pool of a collection of one time $300 fees paid by dealers when they register with OMVIC.

Maureen Harquail, CEO and Registrar with OMVIC, says that fortunately the fund is in a healthy state right now.

She says the fund is available to protect consumers in the wake of a very significant purchase.

"For most consumers buying a vehicle is either their first or their second largest purchase that they'll make," Harquail said.

"It's a big deal."

In order to be eligible to access the fund customers need to have suffered a financial loss from a motor vehicle purchase from an OMVIC registered dealer.

Claims can reach as high as $45,000, and are reviewed by an independent board of trustees consisting of members of the public and industry.

Harquail says right now the priority for OMVIC is to let as many customers as they can know that the fund is available to them.

It's unclear just how many people have been impacted, and they're trying to figure that out and get them access to the fund.

"It's our sense that there is a significant number of CarOne consumers that have been affected by the closure and the bankruptcy," Harquail said.

"It's also a little bit of a moving target... we're trying really hard to reach out to let people know that OMVIC is there and that they should call us if they have any questions, if they're not even sure they should just call us and give us their scenario and we can help them if they have a problem."

Harquail said the primary concern they've been hearing about is warranty issues.

CarOne offered warranties in house, which are effectively void with no place to get service.

The business' closure caught customers and employees alike by surprise in January, the latter of whom told YGK News they only had positive things to say about their experience working there.

Customers are encouraged to contact OMVIC 1-800-943-6002.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News