Auto consumer protection laws lag, groups say
TORONTO — A U.S. order requiring Fiat Chrysler to buy back thousands of Dodge Ram pickups and Chrysler SUVs does not apply to Canada, a discrepancy that highlights a weakness in consumer protection here, national advocacy groups say. The US$105 million fine and buyback program for up to a third of 579,000 vehicles was imposed on Fiat Chrysler by the U.S. government on Monday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration punished the company after an investigation into nearly two dozen recalls found it botched its response by not doing enough to notify customers and get the affected vehicles off the road and repaired. Ken Whitehurst, the executive director for Consumers Council of Canada, said Canadians often assume consumer protections are stronger here than in the more business-friendly U.S. in many areas, including vehicle safety, but the opposite is true.