Mechanics aren’t required to tell customers if their vehicle is unsafe, Calgarian learns

When you pick your car up from the mechanic, you would probably assume the mechanic would’ve told you if it was unsafe to drive. But as one Calgarian is finding out, that isn’t always the case. Jillian Code reports.

When someone picks up their car from the mechanic, they probably assume they’d be told if it was unsafe to drive — one Calgarian found out that isn’t always the case.

Kelvin Daly learned there is no requirement for a mechanic to tell someone if their vehicle is unsafe to drive, discovering the loophole after his car broke down on a Calgary road.

“My wife was driving the car, she was on Blackfoot, and it just came to a sudden stop,” he says. “Alarms, the whole works was going off, she was locked in the vehicle.”

“She was able to restart the vehicle and she drove it straight to the dealership, I met her there.”

The incident happened in February 2022 and Daly says it’s lucky no one was injured. The frustrating part, he says, is that they had been to the dealership’s mechanic a few weeks earlier and no concerns were raised.

“The lady said to me, ‘this is uncommon,’ and that I shouldn’t have let you guys drive out of here in January,” he says. “I was taken aback from that, I was going ‘what do you mean.’”

Daly says he spoke to the GM and learned that he wasn’t given all the information about his vehicle.

“‘Yeah we are aware of it, but we sort of make conscious decisions to withhold that information from our customers because we don’t want to freak them out,'” he says he was told.

The experience began his now years-long process of looking into how something like this could happen. The process included escalating his concerns to the province and the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC).

Daly says he recently hit a wall.

“’I can’t help you here, but follow this avenue,'” he’d be told. “I’d go down that avenue again and it’d be the same reply. So there are a lot of people who are willing to help, but they too recognize that, okay there is a gap here.”

The Ministry of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction tell CityNews they have been in contact with Daly and say in a statement, “if a dealership or repair facility licensed by AMVIC misled a consumer about the status of a vehicle, AMVIC could investigate and take action if appropriate.”

“Generally speaking, it’s in the best interests of the mechanic to inform a customer of a safety risk due to a vehicle’s mechanical problem,” the statement continued.

CityNews reached out to AMVIC to ask if a requirement exists for a mechanic to tell a customer if their vehicle is unsafe to drive.

“We do not have legislative authority over the technicians,” the agency responded.

Daly says he’s been told that his experience will be taken into consideration if the legislation is reviewed in the future.

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