In 2019, Lisa Burnie's 17-year-old daughter bought her first car, a 2009 Hyundai Elantra.
The car was purchased at O'Regan's Direct Wholesale in Dartmouth.
But two weeks ago, when Burnie was shopping around for better insurance rates, she learned her daughter's car was deemed salvage in 2017, meaning it is not insurable.
"When the insurance guy got back to me, he said CAA had come back with this car as branded salvaged," said Burnie. "CAA now considers it a risk and liability to have on the road because it's not safe."
Burnie's daughter has driven the vehicle for two years.
"I was kind of shocked when I found this out and I was wondering why this was not disclosed," said Burnie.
"The thought that my daughter could have been driving down the road and had an accident, all these thoughts just started running through my head."
So Burnie reached out to the dealership where the car was purchased. The dealership did not know the vehicle had been declared salvage because the paperwork it had showed it was good to go.
Burnie was informed a check on the car's history revealed it was deemed salvage in Ontario four years ago and has since been driven in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick since then.
"Apparently the vehicle was clean everywhere but Ontario," said Duane Rudge, vice-president of used car operations at O'Regan's. "We run a wholesale, as-is lot and I can tell you Nova Scotia does not deem that vehicle as salvaged."
O'Regan's refunded the full price, $2,300 plus tax, that was paid for the vehicle in 2019.
But the way Burnie found out about the vehicle's status has left her with an uneasy feeling about the system.
"All I can say is buyer beware," said Burnie. "My daughter and I have been looking for a new car for the last two weeks and every vehicle we are looking at we are doing our homework."
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