When Dwayton Tonge brought his car to Baffin Island a few years ago, he called his local dealership to see if his warranty would be affected.
He says they told him no. Turns out, they were wrong.
In March, Tonge’s 2013 Hyundai Elantra needed a new engine short block. The car was still under warranty, but since there isn’t a Hyundai dealership anywhere in Nunavut, Hyundai suggested he get a quote from a local garage.
The quote was more than $8,000.
Hyundai said it was too expensive, and told Tonge he had to get it to a dealership, as per the warranty policy.
But to get it there, Tonge would have to sail it by cargo ship, which can cost more than $1,000 one-way.
‘Unforseen consequences’ of living in the North
As a last-ditch effort to avoid the massive transport costs, Tonge filed a claim with the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP). It’s only the fourth time in CAMVAP’s 23-year history that it’s received a claim from Nunavut.
The arbitrator ruled against him, saying he wasn’t eligible for arbitration because Hyundai hadn’t had a chance to inspect the car yet.
“No one questions his personal decision to move to Iqaluit,” wrote arbitrator Eric Slone in his ruling, “but there are many consequences, including unforeseen ones, to being so far away from Mainland Canada.”
Tonge feels the entire process was handled with a southern mindset. He says people don’t seem to understand the implications of owning a vehicle in Nunavut.
“Because there isn’t a dealership up here, it’s on my pocket and my responsibility to get my car to the dealership,” Tonge said of the ruling.
“Even going through the arbitration process, the arbitrator and the people I was speaking with at Hyundai, they had no idea of the transportation issues we have up here.”