Update to Class Action Lawsuit Against BMW and Mercedes-Benz

If you have imported a BMW or Mercedes-Benz vehicle from the United States into Canada and have had to pay fees for letters of admissibility, recall clearance and/or BMW and Mercedes-Benz mandated modifications, then this update may affect you:


Our partners in Ontario continue to move forward with the lawsuit against BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In the weeks following the last blog update from May 25, 2009, our partners have requested a case management judge who will work with them to schedule hearings for the motion to add and also for the certification motion. These processes are generally scheduled with the court and take into account each step in the lawsuit. Once the dates are determined with the scheduling judge, our partners will be able to progress on the lawsuit.

All updates to the lawsuit will continue to be posted to this blog and we encourage you to review this information periodically.


Questions and comments may be posted to this blog or e-mailed directly to info@ucanimport.com Your questions and responses - if determined to be relevant to other importers - may be posted on this blog for others to review.


BMW Recall Clearance Letter Fees Stump Immigrating Professors

Importers Stunned By $500 Recall Letter Fee From BMW

Get this: We live simply, with one car. Our ancient Camry finally broke down a couple of months before we were moving to Canada for jobs as lowly-paid professors (The US public sector, you'll notice, has now pretty much collapsed). We had to find a car just to move up to Canada.

A public service lawyer down the street had a basic 9-year-old BMW 325 wagon he was selling, and he'd kept it in good shape, so we innocently bought it. So, we've never emigrated with a car before.

At the Canadian border, as we're immigrating, we find out about this car importation thing, with the vehicle inspection. OK. It's another moving cost, but I can understand this. After a couple of weeks of moving into our new house, we initiate the importation process and lo and behold we find out about this $500 BMW recall-clearance letter extortion racket!

The BMW representative we called was wholly unsympathetic and told us that "since you knew you were moving to Canada" we were responsible for imagining what crazy fees BMW/Canada would fine us for buying this particular used car.

How does charging a couple of immigrating public school teachers $500 for a letter for their one and only, 9-year-old used car--how does this fit the spirit of clamping down on border abuse? Scam!

Where's the class-action lawsuit?

Submitted to UCanImport.com


UCanImport's Comments:

BMW expressly prohibits its US dealerships from printing off the Vehicle Warranty Report which identifies any outstanding recalls on the vehicle being exported out of the US. This document was once available at no cost to importers and fully satisfies Transport Canada requirements.

The problem is that if a dealership in the US provides this document to an importer, that importer has no need to set foot inside a BMW dealership in Canada for any modifications or inspections. To compensate Canadian dealerships for the loss of sales, BMW North America initiated this practice. Now importers who are unsuccessful at obtaining the Vehicle Warranty Report from a US dealer face significant modification fees in addition to the $500 recall clearance letter.

We note that RIV receives Vehicle Warranty Reports from importers all the time as many importers are now savvy enough to negotiate this printout as part of their condition of purchase.

Mercedes Benz Importer Relates Experience With Modifications

Frustrated Importer Joins Class-Action Lawsuit Against
, Complains To Minister of Transport

I am currently caught in the MB modification process for my 1998 SLK 230 and have been quoted $2582 for the modifications, $500 of which is applied to the roving MB Inspector who arrives once a month in Kelowna. They have also indicated that a further $1500 charge can be expected in the event my airbags are faulty. Since I am stuck with these directives, I have given the local MB dealer the authority to proceed, adding that I will be joining the class action lawsuit thereafter.

When I had mentioned that the running lights had been addressed through my provincial inspection, they responded that CT’s system is “rinky-dink” and would need to be taken out for MB’s system.

This unexpected journey has been documented and sent to my local MP – Ron Cannan, who has forwarded the concerns to the Minister of Transport’s office.

I have also indicated to my MP and Transport Canada that I will be pursing this issue through the Fair Trade route as well as any groups dealing with anti-competition as well as letters to daily newspapers across Canada, to “assist the government” in moving the issue forward.

I’m not sure if this will result in any movement but an effort must be made!

Submitted to UCanImport.