Learn about the risks associated with buying a vehicle privately and how to spot a curbsider.
Illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers are called curbsiders. They often pose as private sellers, though some may operate from small automotive businesses (for example, repair shops).
Curbsiders not only misrepresent themselves, they often misrepresent the vehicles they sell. Many are previous write-offs with undisclosed accident repairs and/or have an odometer that has been tampered with. Should problems arise after a vehicle purchase, curbsiders can be very difficult to track down.
Car buyers who purchase vehicles privately and have fallen victim to a curbsider are not protected by OMVIC, its compensation fund, or the MVDA as we don’t regulate private vehicle sales.
|• Bound by the regulations of the MVDA, Code of Ethics and other consumer protection legislation.
• Operate visibly in the community with a permanent lot.
• Possess and display OMVIC registration.
• Contribute to the compensation fund, a consumer protection fund.
|• Operate illegally, ignore consumer protection legislation.
• Often misrepresent themselves and the vehicles they sell.
• Pose as private sellers though some may operate from a small automotive-related business.
• Difficult/impossible to track down after sale.
• Purchase not protected by the compensation fund.
A history report from CARFAX provides useful information on:
By law, private vehicle sellers must provide the purchaser with a UVIP which often includes:
Carefully review the UVIP to ensure all pages are included. They are available from Service Ontario locations and online.
To obtain a UVIP or history report, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required.
Curbsiders often sell vehicles that are not registered in their name. It’s important to ensure you’re dealing with the registered owner so consider the following:
To sell vehicles as quickly and easily as possible, curbsiders may offer a price that is too good to be true. They can do this because the vehicles are often odometer-tampered or undisclosed rebuilt write-offs.
No one sells vehicles for less than they are worth. If a deal seems too good to be true, that’s a warning, not an opportunity. Online resources may help determine vehicle value and price:
Even if you get maintenance records from the seller, have the vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic – one you trust. A mechanic may find problems the seller did not disclose or know about. If the seller resists, walk away.