Your First Car


  • Teaching students about consumer rights;
  • Presenting the areas of intervention governed by the Consumer Protection Act;
  • Explaining the roles of bodies, organizations and institutions that can inform consumers about their rights and obligations;
  • Presenting the recourse options available to consumers and merchants for them to assert their rights.


After watching a humorous video, students answer questions about buying a used car.



Before playing the video on buying a used vehicle, the teacher leads a discussion to introduce the subject.

Q- Who among you owns a car?

  • What were the steps involved in buying your car?
  • How did the buying process unfold?

Variable answers.

Q- In your opinion, what are the steps to consider when buying a used vehicle?

Possible answers: Determining one's needs; setting a budget; shopping around to be able to compare offers; taking a vehicle out for a test drive; having the vehicle undergo a mechanical inspection; checking the vehicle's history with the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec; learning about the warranties that apply to the vehicle; carefully reading the contract and making sure to understand it; finding out about cancellation possibilities; etc.

The teacher asks students to write down their answers in question 1 on the student worksheet. They will get back to it at the end of the activity.

The teacher then plays the Your First Car video (length: 3 min. 15 sec.).

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The following content is presented to the entire class with the help of the presentation titled Your First Car – Mandatory Permit and Label

Mandatory permit

A used automobile can be purchased from an individual or a merchant, that is, a used vehicle dealer (aka "used car dealer").

Merchants who sell automobiles are required to hold a permit from the Office de la protection du consommateur. This permit is mandatory for all road vehicle dealers.

To obtain this permit, merchants must provide security, that is, a sum of money that could be used to compensate consumers should a merchant fail to abide by its obligations. For example, the security could be used to reimburse a down payment if the company closes before the consumer takes possession of a vehicle. The security therefore serves as financial protection.

Merchants must display their permit in their place of business and indicate their permit number on every contract they give out to consumers when they purchase a vehicle.

To make sure a merchant really holds a permit, consumers can contact the Office de la protection du consommateur's call centre or refer to the Get Information About a Merchant tool.

The teacher goes to the tool's webpage and asks the students to name local or regional car dealerships to check the available information about them, including:

  • the validity of their permit;
  • the number and nature of any violation notices they may have received;
  • any convictions rendered against them, if applicable;
  • the number of formal notices they have received from consumers.

Mandatory label

Merchants must affix a label on each used vehicle they put up for sale or for lease. This label contains details that will help you make an informed decision. It is therefore very important to read it.

The instructor shows a sample label to the students, and points out the various information that must be listed.

Information listed on the label

The label must contain the following information:

  • the price of the vehicle;
  • a complete description of the vehicle (year of manufacture, vehicle identification number, make, model, cylinder capacity);
  • the number of kilometres indicated on the odometer and the actual of number of kilometres the vehicle has travelled, if different;
  • the vehicle category (A, B, C or D), for the warranty of fitness the merchant must provide, under the Consumer Protection Act;
  • details regarding the manufacturer's or merchant’s warranty, if it is still valid;
  • a description of any repairs made since the vehicle has been in the merchant’s possession;
  • information regarding prior use of the vehicle if it was used as an automobile to provide remunerated passenger transportation (a taxi or other authorized automobile), a driving school vehicle, a rental vehicle, a police vehicle, an ambulance or a courtesy or demo vehicle.

The name of the business or public body that owned or leased the vehicle must be indicated.

The merchant's obligations indicated on the label

The label must also indicate the merchant’s obligations:

  • to provide you with the previous owner’s name and phone number, upon request;
  • to provide you with a mechanical inspection certificate if it is required for vehicle registration, for example if it is from outside Québec or has been declared a total loss.

Delivery of the label

The merchant is also required to give you the label when you purchase or lease the vehicle. All the information contained therein is an integral part of the contract, with the exception of the sale price and warranty details, which may be modified.

If the car is purchased from an individual, there is obviously no label on the vehicle, nor is there a road vehicle dealer's permit.


In teams of two, students answer questions 2 to 5 on the student worksheet.


Once the students have filled out their worksheet, the teacher reconvenes a full-class session. The teacher asks one team at a time to present their answers to the questions. He or she also highlights the various points to consider when buying a used vehicle.

The teacher then asks the students to report on what they learned from this activity.

The groups compare their answers with those they wrote down at the beginning of the activity (question 1 on the student worksheet):

  • Did they forget any points?

The teacher completes the list.

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