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Edmonton man says $1 lien preventing him from selling paid-off SUV

Click to play video: '$1 lien imposed by dealership barring Edmonton man from selling his own SUV'
$1 lien imposed by dealership barring Edmonton man from selling his own SUV
It's a case of buyer beware: read the fine print. An Edmonton man tried to sell a new GMC Denali he had already paid off, but couldn't because there was a $1 lien on it placed by the dealership. – Feb 11, 2022

An Edmonton man is sharing his experience trying to sell a car, hoping it will help others.

This comes after he tried to sell a new SUV he paid for but couldn’t sell because there was a $1 lien on it.

Harvey Minhas bought a nearly $100,000 2021 Yukon Denali back in October but after accepting a new job offer in Toronto — where driving a large SUV could be a tight fit — he wanted to sell.

“When a potential buyer came, he checked out my vehicle and he informed me that there was lien on the vehicle,” Minhas said.

But this wasn’t a typical financing lien.

Minhas had paid off the SUV; this was a second lien from the dealer for $1, meaning he couldn’t sell.

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“We’re talking about $100,000 so it’s frustrating for sure,” Minhas said.

He checked the contract and in the fine print found a section saying that the customer agrees to not sell, transfer ownership, or export the vehicle from Canada for 12 months.

Minhas didn’t understand and went back to the dealer demanding an explanation.

“They said even if you do sell it, it might end up in the hands of an exporter and so we don’t want this vehicle crossing the border,” Minhas said.

“I have not heard of this happening before, so it’s a new methodology,” said Gerald Wood, with the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta.

Wood said he has seen similar clauses but they were typically with extremely high-end cars.

He said manufacturers likely influence any dealer who adds the lien, a move that is understandable given the current auto market.

Read more: New and used vehicle shortage hits Alberta, bringing long waits for buyers

“It’s really done to make sure that we can protect the pricing levels in Canada, so that Americans don’t come to Canada to purchase the vehicle,” Wood said.

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It’s a stipulation Minhas said has left him in the lurch, perhaps for the next eight months until he can legally sell.

Now he wants others to be aware.

“Everyone’s financial situation or situation in general can change at any time and mine did and I don’t want anyone else to go through the same thing I did,” Minhas said.

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