Toronto, November 15, 2007 – Do you know what a curbsider is? Do you know how to check the history of a vehicle? Can you pick out a stolen car? Ontario high school students will soon be able to answer these questions thanks to a major educational initiative being launched by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC).
The program, titled “Know Your Ride,” was developed with input from the education sector and was designed to be an integral component of the grade 10 Civics curriculum. The objective of the program is to educate students when it comes to buying used vehicles privately. When you buy privately, you run the risk of becoming the victim of a curbsider – con-artists who pose as private sellers, but are in the business of selling vehicles that may be stolen, damaged, rebuilt, odometer-tampered or have liens against them. Vehicles sold by curbsiders put unsuspecting buyers and their passengers at risk.
The “Know Your Ride” program consists of a DVD and is accompanied by a teacher’s guide and student handout. The guide provides teachers with suggestions for integrating the subject matter during classes and student handouts provide safety tips to use when purchasing a vehicle privately.
“It’s our belief high school students are a particularly vulnerable group for fraud artists – which is essentially what curbsiders are,” said John Gibbons, Chair of OMVIC’s Board of Directors and President of John Gibbons Pontiac Buick in Chatham, Ontario. “We are targeting this demographic given that many students are in the market for their first car, and may be searching for a good deal from any source.”
Research has also proven there is a need to educate and provide awareness of the curbsiding issue. Although studies have suggested 1 in 4 vehicle classified ads is placed by a curbsider, over 80 per cent of Ontarians are unfamiliar with the term.
OMVIC will be distributing the “Know Your Ride” program to more than 1,000 high schools across the province of Ontario in late November. An English and French version can also be viewed online by visiting the Council’s web site: www.omvic.on.ca.
OMVIC administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act – a public protection statute – on behalf of the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services. OMVIC’s mandate is to maintain a safe and informed marketplace by ensuring registration of dealers and salespeople, regularly inspecting all of Ontario’s 8,600 dealerships, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations. OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of a Board of Trustees.