Trick-or-Treating—A Lot Like Buying A Car
Friday, October 23, 2015
Do you remember trick-or-treating? Can you recall the tangible excitement of running from house to house; trying not to trip, or worse, lose some of the candies stashed in your pillow case. And there was a secret communication shared by the young ghouls, witches and ghosts as they transited the neighborhood – where to find the best ”loot”…
Where were they giving out chips or cheezies or even better, those little chocolate bars? That’s the house you needed to find! Not the one giving out apples — the horror. And as soon as you got home, you’d dump the bag out on the floor—after devouring two or three of your favourites, you sorted all your loot, and invariably, all those Halloween Kisses, the molasses staple of our childhood Octobers, would be relegated to a pile that would likely never be eaten. As a kid, I wondered why anyone gave them out. It seemed they had a shelf life of – forever. They’d be perfect for a doomsday kit. On the off chance you actually ate one you prayed it wouldn’t suck the fillings straight out of your teeth. They were the “lemons” of the Halloween candy world.
Trick-or-Treating – A Lot Like Buying A Car
Fast forward 30 years. The exuberance of collecting candy treats has been replaced by the excitement, and perhaps anxiety, of adult acquisitions. There’s one particular purchase that comes with the same apprehensions, the same fear of getting stuck with a lemon, as those unwanted Kisses – buying a car. Ontarians’ greatest anxiety or fear when buying a vehicle privately is getting stuck with a lemon. This is a legitimate concern, especially when you consider there is NO consumer protection law that protects someone who buys a vehicle privately; if something goes wrong the purchaser will be on their own.
When buying privately, turn on your Creepometer
In some cases, consumers are willing to forego protections offered by Ontario law and OMVIC (Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator) to try and save a few bucks. While they understand they may be vulnerable, the possibility of saving a little money somehow trumps the protections of buying from a registered dealer. When you consider how many curbsiders are out there and the dangers they pose, some of these consumers will, unfortunately learn an expensive lesson. To identify some of the common tactics used by curbsiders, turn on your ‘Creepometer’.
What is a Curbsider?
Curbsiders are unlicensed dealers who commonly pose as private sellers to avoid detection. Often the vehicles they sell are misrepresented; many are repaired write-offs or have rolled back odometers.
While OMVIC can prosecute curbsiders, the consumers who buy from them are not protected. Curbsider victims have to turn to the civil courts for restitution, but suing someone who disappears as soon as the deal is done is nearly impossible—almost as impossible as choking down a stale Halloween Kiss.
Copyright OMVIC ©2015