CONSUMERS – BEWARE! Avoid “Curbers”

Have you ever bought a used car privately only to learn that it had been stolen, or that the VIN number had been switched? Have you ever bought a car to discover that that there were liens against it, or that it had been in an undisclosed accident? It happens more often than you might think, and when it does the consumer’s primary recourse involves the courts, which can be a lengthy and time-consuming process.

While such issues are rare when dealing with licensed dealers, they can still happen. When a consumer purchases a used vehicle from a licensed dealer, in the rare circumstances in which this may happen, there is timely and cost-effective recourse readily available. If a consumer purchases a used vehicle from an unlicensed motor dealer, or “Curber,” there simply is no effective protection.

Curbers, or unlicensed used-car “traffickers,” too often acquire junk cars and then sell them from parking lots or curbsides. They frequently advertise through local newspaper ads or through a “For Sale” sign in the vehicles’ window.

Curbers do not have to follow government-mandated regulations, which are in place to protect the consumer. These vehicles may have their odometers spun back; they may have been in a previous undisclosed accident, rendering them unsafe for the road; or they may be from out-of-province or out-of-country.

If you purchase a vehicle from a Curber, you are putting yourself at risk. Your safety and the safety of others may be compromised, and if something goes wrong with the vehicle, your avenues for support are extremely limited.  For your own protection, the ARA recommends that you always purchase a used vehicle through a licensed motor dealer. Another advantage of dealing with a licensed dealer is you can always insist on receiving a copy of CarProof®, which provides important and relevant details on the vehicle history.

TIPS TO HELP YOU SPOT A CURBER:

  • Check the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority’s web site to ensure that the person you are dealing with is a valid registered and licensed motor dealer at www.mvsabc.com
  • Check under Consumer Info / Licensed Motor Dealers. If they’re not listed here, it’s likely they’re a curber.
  • If you are checking out your local newspaper ads and you phone about a car you’d like to see and the seller responds, “which one?” you may want to think twice about it. Chances are he’s a “curber”. When in doubt…
  • If you are in the process of purchasing the vehicle, check the registration to make sure it is in the seller’s name. Ask him how long he’s owned the car and any other pertinent questions about this vehicle. Never let the seller register the vehicle for you.
  • If the seller insists you meet at a restaurant or grocery store parking lot, be alert! Chances are that’s the last time and place you’ll ever see him. Curbers usually change their phone numbers and their locations.
  • Insist on having a reputable mechanic inspect the vehicle for safety. Inspections usually cost in the area of $100. If the seller has a problem with this, then so should you!
  • Do your research! Check out a vehicle’s history. Look to see if your vehicle’s ever been stolen or written-off! (Carefully examine the body, paint, doors, hood, trunk, and the bumpers and fenders to detect any prior accidents or body work.)

INQUIRIES:
If you have a question that one of our Licensed Motor Dealer members has been unable to answer, please call the office at 604-432-7987 and we will offer a course of action.

Also, please visit The Motor Vehicle Sales Authority website to see videos about the above.