Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Five tips for selling a car!

I was recently involved in a car accident and consequently my VW Passat was written off. I now get the joy of shopping for a new vehicle for myself at Christmas. First world problem. Like a lot of people, I do not have access to unlimited funds and I also am not unrealistic about what I get for the money I have. For $7000.00, you will not be buying a brand new car (unless Lada is still kicking about). I have a few quick tips for people selling used cars for under $10,000. I know there could be an equal rant for people buying cars, but this particular rant is for the sellers!:

1 - Don't say your car is fantastic shape, when it has dents, scratches, stains and foul odors! I'm not blind and I will figure it out. Please save me the hassle of driving an hour to spend 5 minutes looking at your POS. The more honest you are the more likely I will appreciate it. If you've driven your car into the ground, the lesson is simple. Take care of your car, it will make it easier to sell in the long run.

2 - If you are trying to sell a vehicle, try to make it easy for a buyer to see the car. Don't arrange a meeting and forget to show up. It is a pain in the ass! We are both doing each other a favor. You probably need the money and I need the car. Let's work together. 50 / 50 rule. I'll drive half way, you drive half way.

3 - Know the history of your vehicle. I recently met a person who was selling an "excellent" condition vehicle. I spent less than 5 minutes before walking away. This vehicle had rust bubbles, lots of rust under the hood, poorly painted bumpers and a headlight that was loose. Perhaps I'm confused as to what "excellent" means?? When I pointed out the obvious flaws, the seller seemed surprised? Honest mistake or sketchy car sales shenanigans? You be the judge.

4 - Service history is super valuable. This shows you have actually taken care of your vehicle. Perhaps there could be some confusion as to what "taken care of" means. In my opinion it means that you not only put oil and gas in the vehicle, it also means addressing noises and sounds before they cause a cataclysmic malfunction. If you hear a humming, it may be a wheel bearing. Replace it before you have to replace a spindle. If you haven't heard of the broken window effect here is some good reading -

5 - Don't hide things. At some point during the transition from childhood to adulthood it became acceptable to lie to people? I know that some people don't understand vehicles and I can appreciate that. But when you go up and above to hide something from a potential buyer, you really have to wonder what kind of example are you setting.

People always say dealerships are slimy and deceitful, which in some cases is true, but keep in mind. They aren't the ones driving those used cars for 10 years and then trading them in. It starts with us.

<end rant>

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On October 1, 2014 the Winter Tire law went into effect in BC. Do you know which highways are affected?

Source -

When are Winter Tires or Chains Right for Me?
Winter tires and chains can make your vehicle safer.
You must use winter tires (passenger vehicles) or carry chains (commercial trucks) between October 1 and March 31 on most BC highways.
British Columbia's climates range from freezing cold to pleasantly mild in the winter; equipping your vehicle appropriately depends on what you are driving and where you are driving.

What is a Winter Tire?

British Columbia accepts “mountain snowflake” or “mud and snow” tires with at least 3.5 mm tread as winter tires.
Check your tires for these signs:
mountain snowflake 
The mountain/snowflake symbol on the side of the tire

These winter tires offer the best traction on snow and ice, and in cold weather.
mud and snow The mud and snow symbol on the side of the tire
These winter tires offer better traction than summer tires, however, they are less effective than mountain/snowflake tires on snow and ice, and in cold weather.
3.5 mm tread
Tires must have 3.5 mm of tread remaining to be considered winter tires.
Matching Winter Tires
You must have at least 2 matching winter tires on the same axle, but we recommend using 4
Studded Tires
May be used on BC highways from October 1 to April 30, but must have mountain/snowflake or M+S symbols to be considered winter tires.
Drivers in some parts of the southern coast, where regulations are more relaxed due to warmer weather, should use discretion when equipping their vehicles.

Designated Winter Tire and Chain-up Routes

Drivers must obey Winter Tire and Chain signs throughout the province. The designated routes require passenger vehicles to be equipped with M+S or mountain/snowflake tires, and commercial vehicles to carry chains from October 1 to March 31.
Click on the links below to see the regional highways requiring winter tires and chains.
As a guide, please follow the options below:

Car and Small Truck Drivers*

* Passenger vehicles and small commercial trucks less than 5,500 kg GVW

Commercial Truck Drivers*

* Trucks 5,500 kg GVW or greater

Thursday, July 31, 2014

For the first time since 1998 the average number of problems in vehicles has increased.

General Motors Company Receives Eight Segment Awards, While Toyota Motor Corporation Garners Seven and Honda Motor Company Earns Six
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.:  Owners of 3-year-old vehicles (2011 model year) report more problems than did owners of 3-year-old vehicles last year, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today.

The study, now in its 25th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The study finds that overall vehicle dependability averages 133 PP100, a 6 percent increase in problems from 126 PP100 in 2013. This marks the first time since the 1998 study that the average number of problems has increased.

"Until this year, we have seen a continual improvement in vehicle dependability," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "However, some of the changes that automakers implemented for the 2011 model year have led to a noticeable increase in problems reported."

Increases in Engine and Transmission Problems Reported
Engine and transmission problems increase by nearly 6 PP100 year over year, accounting for the majority of the overall 7 PP100 increase in reported problems. The decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with 4-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100. These smaller engines, as well as large diesel engines, tend to be more problematic than 5- and 6-cylinder engines, for which owners report fewer problems, on average.

"Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is the primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles," said Sargent. "However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge."

Dependability Leads to Loyalty; Poor Dependability Creates Avoidance
J.D. Power also finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combined data from previous years' VDS results and vehicle trade-in data from the Power Information Network├ć (PIN) from J.D. Power show that 56 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slipped to just 42 percent among owners who reported three or more problems.

Also, a comparison of data from the 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study with data from the subsequent J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Avoider StudySM shows that consumers are much more likely to avoid vehicles from brands that rank lower in dependability. On average, 23 percent of consumers avoided brands that ranked in the lowest quartile of the 2013 VDS because of concerns about reliability. In contrast, only 9 percent of consumers cited that same reason for avoiding brands that ranked in the top quartile.

"By combining our customer research with trade-in data, we see a very strong correlation between dependability and real-world brand loyalty," said Sargent. "Also, we see that brands with lower dependability are likely to be shut out of a significant piece of the market as many consumers will not even consider purchasing one of their vehicles because of concerns about its likely reliability."

Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models
Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates for a third consecutive year. The gap between Lexus and all other brands is substantial, with Lexus averaging 68 PP100 compared with second-ranked Mercedes-Benz at 104 PP100. Following Mercedes-Benz in the rankings are Cadillac (107), Acura (109) and Buick (112), respectively.

General Motors Company receives eight segment awards on more than any other automaker in 2014 for the Buick Lucerne; Cadillac DTS (tie); Cadillac Escalade; Chevrolet Camaro; Chevrolet Volt; GMC Sierra HD; GMC Sierra LD; and GMC Yukon. Toyota Motor Corporation garners seven awards for the Lexus ES; Lexus GS; Lexus LS (tie); Lexus RX; Scion xB; Toyota Camry; and Toyota Sienna. Honda Motor Company receives six model-level awards for the Acura RDX; Honda CR-V; Honda Crosstour; Honda Element; Honda Fit; and Honda Ridgeline. MINI receives one model-level award for the MINI Cooper.

The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles, which typically translates into higher resale values and customer loyalty. It also helps consumers make more-informed choices for both new- and used-vehicle purchases.

The 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 41,000 original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded between October and December 2013.

Find more detailed information on vehicle dependability, as well as model photos and specs, at

Media Relations Contacts
John Tews; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218;
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; 805-418-8103;

About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules
About McGraw-Hill Financial

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In my travels I recently stumbled upon this awesome website.  Automotive brochures going back a few years.  I often need to research the packages and options offered on older vehicles and I found this to be great when researching vehicles.  

A car brochure or catalog is part of a heritage of art, craftsmanship, design, layout and technology. Some car companies spend more resources on a series of photographs; scouting a location, setting up equipment and maximizing the natural and/or artificial light as another manufacturer spends on their whole range of brochures made on their preset template. This span in resources and commitment creates a very wide and interesting spectrum of car brochures.In today's world most car brochures are only available for one year. The automobile enthusiast often has a daunting task searching for older literature regarding most car models. are trying to save this vanishing information for present and future car enthusiasts.The brochures listed on this site are created for the US market, except for small scale productions; i.e. Aston Martin, Bentley etc. where the brochures mainly are made for the international

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week of March 17, 2014 Success Stories

This week we have two success stories!   

These client’s vehicles were written off in motor vehicle accidents.  They were unhappy with how much money insurance was offering them for their vehicles.  We were retained as third party appraisers and these are the outcomes!

Our client's 2013 Volkswagen Touareg was written off.  Due to our research and appraisal insurance increased their initial offer by approximately $13000.

The second client's vehicle was a 2005 Subaru WRX Sti with 100,000km.  Due to our research and appraisal our client received almost $4000 more than originally offered by insurance.

Our goal is to help you keep your money where you need it most, in your pocket.

If we can help please give us a call.

For more updates, please subscribe to our blog!

Our 100th Facebook like!

Thanks to Robert Zalaudek for being our 100th like on Facebook! For being our 100th like we have a prize for you! Please call us to redeem your free oil change up to a $100 value.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is accelerated depreciation insurance on the horizon for Canada?

It is March 2014 and still no accelerated depreciation / diminished value insurance in Canada.  In previous posts I had mentioned a launch of insurance by the end of 2013.  As you can see it did not happen.

Having said that, I am still working with an insurance company and insurance underwriter to offer this coverage.

I have asked realistic timelines and have been told the end of 2014.  I'll keep plugging away and updating you as news comes available.

Feel free to subscribe to our blog to keep updated!

If you have questions about accelerated depreciation please ask!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Challenging ICBC's appraisal of your vehicle after a total loss.

Did you know you can challenge ICBC's (or any other auto insurance companies) appraisal in the case of your vehicle being written off in an accident.

For the most part, ICBC uses Autosource when it comes to determining the fair market value of your vehicle in the case of a total loss.

Your VIN (vehicle identification number) is entered into a software which in turn searches the market for fair market value.  It has been my experience that the majority of these market evaluations are fair.  However there are situations where the valuation is inaccurate and you can challenge these claims.

I have seen several situations when the vehicles used in comparison are rebuilt status and not running.  (A rebuilt status is attached to vehicles that have been declared a total loss by insurance, purchased by a shop and then rebuilt) When doing a market analysis it is important to find similar vehicles to determine a value.

Another situation that Autosource cannot account for is when a vehicle has been heavily modified.  Being a Volkswage enthusiast I'll use VW as an example.

I had been retained by a client a few years ago, with a late 1990's VW Jetta.  This vehicle had been heavily modified, with a VR6 transplant (V6 engine), new suspension, interior and stereo.  When the VIN was entered in Autosource it was only able to locate similar unmodified VW Jetta's.  The value of these unmodified vehicles was a few thousand dollars less than this clients vehicle.

If you find yourself in the situation where your insurance companies assessment of your vehicles value seems low, please feel free to contact us.

We provide preliminary appraisals for $150 plus taxes.  This assessment determines if the value provided by insurance is fair.  In the case that it is, it cost $150 plus taxes for peace of mind.

In the situation where there is a noticeable difference in value we can provide a full appraisal for $350 plus taxes, plus CarProof (if necessary)

Safe Driving!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

What is the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia?

The Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia (VSA) is a regulatory agency authorized by the provincial government to administer and enforce the Motor Dealer Act, portions of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act as it relates to the sale of personal-use motor vehicles, and related regulations.

In other words, if you have purchased a vehicle through a dealership in the province of British Columbia and feel that you were mislead, this would be the organization that can help you.

Do you want to research the dealership or sales person you are dealing with to make sure they are in good standings with the MVSABC?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What impact does your car have on the environment?

Every day we hear about the environment and global warming.  We hear about the choices we make having negative effects on the planet.  The question I always ask myself is what can I do?

I've come to realize that the first step is understanding the impact of my choices.  

This is tough for me because I've always prided myself on being a car guy.  I love huge horsepower but also realize that something I am so passionate about impacts our planet on such a large scale.  Its hard to accept that something I love has such a considerable impact on the planet. 

I decided to research the impact my own vehicle has on our planet.

My research led me to a couple fantastic websites that help me understand my impact.

Car carbon footprint calculator - This is the first calculator that helps you understand your entire carbon foot print. If you click on the car tab shown below and fill in the pertinent information, you can find your carbon footprint for your vehicle.

By driving 20,000km a year in my 2002 Volkswagen Passat with a 1.8litre Turbocharged 4 cylinder with a 5 speed manual transmission I produce 5.10 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Greenhouse gas Equivalencies Calculator - The second calculator converts the 5.10 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year into real life usage.  Input your vehicles carbon dioxide emissions into the first empty box on the "if you have your emissions data" tab.

What you will see is the actual impact driving your vehicle for an entire year has on the planet.  What you do with this knowledge is your choice, but understanding the impact of your choices is the first step to better choices.  

Bonus assignment :) - Multiply the results above by 250,000 vehicles.  This is a small percentage of how many cars are on the road.  One car on its own doesn't make a big difference, but hundreds of thousands makes a massive difference.

If you've enjoyed this post, please do me a huge favor and share it.  The more people who know the better. 

If you have other subjects you'd like me to research, please let me know.

And remember to subscribe to my blog!

Have you ever wondered how safe your car is?

Through researching vehicles over the last few years I stumbled upon this website

The Insurance Institute for High Safety rates vehicles on a number of safety related issues.

This link will bring you to a page that will allow you to research your current or a potential new/used vehicle.

What is accelerated depreciation and why should you care?

Accelerated depreciation is what happens to the value of a vehicle after it has been involved in a car accident and then repaired.

Here is an example:

A client has a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan that was worth about $20,000 on the date of the accident.  The client was sitting at a stop light and was rear-ended by someone who was not paying attention.

The client and the offending driver go through the proper channels and report the accident to insurance.

Insurance in turn fixes the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan because its cheaper to fix the car as opposed to replacing it.  In this case the repairs cost $9,000.  The vehicle is fixed and returned to the client.

This 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is no longer worth the $20,000 because when going to sell the van the owner must disclose the $9,000 accident history.  This is accelerated depreciation.

In the province of British Columbia it is possible to recoup these losses.

The Fournier Auto Group provides the necessary assessments lawyers and clients need to recoup these losses.

If you have been in an accident and are concerned about your vehicles value, please call for a free consult.


Sign the petition to make Accelerated depreciation coverage part of car insurance

The purpose of this is to show insurance companies that people want to be covered for all of their losses in car accidents.  Sign the petition!

A reader asks the Globe and Mail about accelerated depreciation. Rob Fournier interviewed

Article published in Globe and Mail March 7, 2013 -

I own a 2009 Audi R8 V-8 that I purchased for $120,000 in January, 2012, with only 1,400 km on it. In July, 2012, I was involved in a low-speed accident where a motorcycle swerved into the side of my car, resulting in cosmetic damage to the passenger door and sideblade.
The police placed him 100 per cent “at fault” and charged him with a variety of offences. His insurance company covered all the repair costs and I ensured that my dealer and insurance company ordered all new parts from Germany rather than use putty and repair existing parts.


I am considering trading in the R8 for the more practical RS-5, but was told by two different dealerships that the trade-in value is now $85,000 as a direct result of the $14,000 Carfax that now shows against the car, rather than $100,000 they would normally offer for such a low-mileage 6MT R8. In the United States, there is a something called a “Diminished Value Claim;” however, I am being told by my insurer that in Canada there is no avenue to pursue such a claim against the other insurance company.
Should I push the insurance company? Consider small claims court? – James in Toronto
Simply put, through no fault of your own, you were sideswiped by another driver and insurance covered the cost to bring your car back to its former condition. But even though the damage is repaired, you’re left holding the bag: the resale or trade value of your vehicle is now reduced.
This diminished value is also known as “accelerated depreciation.” Depending on the make and model, and the quality of the repair, it can be in the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. The sting won’t be felt, of course, unless you sell or trade the vehicle.
As you know, in some U.S. states insurers consider diminished value when adjusting an auto claim, and compensate the claimant after the vehicle is repaired. In Georgia, for example, it doesn’t even matter if the accident was your fault.
Mention diminished value to an insurance company in Canada, on the other hand, and you’re likely to receive a blank stare, silence, or flat-out denial of its existence. So, is there anything you can do to recover this loss?
“Accelerated depreciation is known as one of the largest hidden secrets in the car insurance industry.
Most people don’t know, but there are ways to get back your money; you can hire a lawyer or take it to small claims court. For the most part, they settle out of court, because the insurance companies don’t want precedent cases,” says Rob Fournier, owner of The Car Whisperers Automotive appraisal service.
Due to the high margin of lost value to your vehicle, odds are good that you’ll be able to find a lawyer to take your case on a contingency basis. They’ll take a percentage of whatever you win, or you can handle the matter yourself in small claims court.
Either way, you’ll want to present a report from an unbiased source on what the car was worth just before the accident, and what it’s worth now, repaired.
“When you go to a dealer, there’s an agenda. They’re going to give you the wholesale price. Obviously, they want to buy the car for low and sell it high, so they’re not going to give you an accurate representation of what the actual retail market of that car is,” says Fournier.
“They’re always going to offer you less than what you could get if you sold it privately. My experience has been the courts want to see the loss, as in the difference in actual retail market price.
The dealer’s numbers are often manipulated, and in my experience the courts don’t go by those numbers, because they understand that.”
When it comes to the way diminished value is handled in Canada, Fournier and others are working to increase awareness, and say change may be on the horizon. “An insurance company I’m working with is looking at offering this coverage at the end of this year, for the first time in Canadian history.”
Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions

Monday, March 3, 2014

Do it yourself - Suing for accelerated vehicle depreciation in BC Small Claims court

BC Injury Law shares how to sue for accelerated vehicle depreciation

Written by personal injury lawyer Erik Magraken of  MacIsaac and Company.
800-663-6299 or 250-381-5353

As I’ve previously written, when a vehicle is involved in a crash and is then repaired it is generally worth less than it would be had it not been damaged.  The reason for this is quite simple, when a buyer is looking to purchase a used vehicle, those that have previously been damaged and repaired carry a stigma.  This stigma generally results in a lower resale value.   You can click here to watch CBC’s Marketplace investigation highlighting this reality.

Although Defendants often are reluctant to acknowledge such a loss, the law in BC recognizes this lost value.  If your vehicle was damaged due the the actions of others you can sue to recover your damages for “accelerated depreciation“.

Often times the cost of hiring a lawyer to advance an accelerated depreciation claim can outweigh the amount of the recovery making it an unrealistic option.  So what can you do?
In BC the Small Claims Court has a current limit of $25,000.   This ceiling is adequate to cover all but the most serious of accelerated depreciation claims.  If you did not suffer a personal injury in your crash and your only loss is accelerated vehicle depreciaton bringing a self represented action in Small Claims Court is a viable option.
The Provincial Court has a useful website explaining the basics of starting a lawsuit.  You can click here to access information about filing your claim.

In addition to this, here are some of the key points to be aware of before getting started:

1.  The claim needs to be against the at-fault party.  The insurance company of the at-fault driver (such as ICBC) is the wrong party to sue.  Typically the action is brought against the driver of the at-fault vehicle along with the registered owner who is ‘vicariously liable‘ for damage caused by people who operate their vehicle with their consent.

2.  The Notice of Claim must describe a ’cause of action’.  In other words you have to sue for a recognized wrong.  Typically car crash   cases deal with ‘negligence’ that is, the at fault motorist caused the crash by careless driving.

3.  The resulting harm needs to be caused by the negligent action.  The Pleadings should reflect that the accelerated depreciation was caused as a result of the at-fault driving of the Defendant.

4.  The loss needs to be proven with admissible evidence.  It is not good enough to baldly suggest that a vehicle sustained an accelerated depreciation.  Some vehicles do not sustain any loss in value following a collision.  It is a good idea to retain a qualified expert to examine the vehicle, the repairs done and to then comment on what the vehicle’s lost value is compared to its natural depreciation at the time of the collision.  The expert should be prepared to come to court to testify as to his opinion and the expert’s report needs to be served in compliance with the Rules of Court.   While it does cost money to retain an expert it is worth keeping in mind that the Small Claims Court does have the discretion to order reimbursement of reasonable disbursements if the claim is successful making such expenses a worthwhile investment.
5.  You must bring your lawsuit in time.  If you wait beyond the applicable limitation period before starting your lawsuit the claim will be dismissed.

6.  If you have personal injuries but fail to sue for these and only claim for accelerated depreciation you may be barred from bringing a personal injury action later.  It is important to claim damages for all losses resulting from the crash.

Accelerated depreciation/diminished value in Canada

It has been over 5 years since I started helping people recoup the accelerated depreciation they suffered after a motor vehicle accident that was not their fault.

If you have questions or concerns about how much money you may have lost due to an accident that was not your fault.  Please feel free to reach out to me directly at 778-908-2804 or email at

In 2011 CBC Marketplace produced a show focused on accelerated depreciation which I was interviewed for.  This show clearly explains what accelerated depreciation is.  Here is the link  -

CBC Marketplace Accelerated depreciation/diminished value

Discover Vancouver with Holly blogs about the Fournier Auto Group

Here is the link to the entire blog post enjoy :)

Discover Vancouver with Holly blogs about the Fournier Auto Group

I'd like to share my car buying expertise with you.

I've spent the last six years working as a buyer for consumers looking to purchase new and used vehicles.

There are so many important factors that unless you have worked in the auto industry, you would not be aware of.  My goal  is to share these tidbits of goodness with you, so you can be prepared when you buy your next vehicle.

Please use this website as a resource and if you questions please ask them!  I'd love to share my knowledge with you.