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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Buying a Car This Holiday Season? Take This Quiz to Find Out if Your Private Seller is Naughty or Nice!

Dec 7

Friday, December 7, 2018  RssIcon

Naughty Nice Blog bdy

Thinking about decking the driveway with a newer set of wheels this holiday season? Considering buying that vehicle privately? Well, OMVIC suggests you check this list twice to help you spot the naughty sellers, so you only buy from the nice.



You see a car with a for sale sign in the window, you take a picture of it so you can call later to get more information about it. When you call, you say to the seller, "Hi I'm calling about the car for sale" and the person on the other end of the phone says "Which one?" – Naughty or Nice?

Naughty! Typically, genuine private sellers are only selling one car. Curbsiders (illegal unlicensed dealers who pose as private sellers) on the other hand, often have multiple vehicles listed for sale at the same time.


You meet a private seller to see a car and you ask the seller for their ID and compare it to their vehicle ownership. Both the ID and the vehicle ownership matches. – Naughty or Nice?

Nice! The vehicle being sold should be registered to the person selling it. Verifying this information is important on your mission to separate the legitimate private seller from the con artist. The reason? Curbsiders often acquire cars to sell but never transfer them into their names (so they can’t be found after the sale and don’t have to pay tax at transfer). In attempting to explain why their ID and vehicle ownership don't match, a curbsider is likely to claim they are selling it for family member or friend.


You ask for the Used Vehicle Information Package the (UVIP) and the seller explains "You can get it yourself when you go to Service Ontario to transfer the ownership" – Naughty or Nice?

Naughty! Private sellers are required by law to provide the UVIP. If a seller attempts to dissuade you and suggest that you don’t need it, you could be dealing with a curbsider.


You ask the seller if they have a CARFAX report and they say “You don’t need one – you only need a UVIP.” – Naughty or Nice?

Naughty! While the seller is legally only required to provide a UVIP, every private purchaser should obtain, either from the seller or by buying it themselves, a CARFAX Canada history report. These reports contain information such as previous collision repairs, that aren’t on a UVIP. You would like to know if that car’s been in an accident, or two…or three, right?


You ask to take the car to your mechanic and the private seller says “no problem!” – Naughty or Nice?

This is definitely nice! Having the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic is key when you're buying a used car. The mechanic may find issues the seller is trying to hide or was simply unaware of. This may prevent you from buying someone else’s problem or allow you to renegotiate the price.


You tell the seller that you'd like to take the car out for a test drive. The seller says, "Okay, just don't take it out on the highway." —Naughty or Nice?

Naughty! You need to go on a thorough test drive. Sometimes problems with a vehicle won't reveal themselves until you drive it at high speeds, which is definitely why you need to take it on the highway.

Buying a used car privately may offer you a cheaper price than buying from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer, but the risk of ending up with a lump of coal in your garage sure is increased. So, to borrow from a few more holiday classics, don’t be a cotton-headed ninny muggins. Don’t get run over by a reindeer. Get educated. Don’t touch a car you think is being sold by a Grinch (i.e. curbsider), not even with a 39 and a half foot pole. And think of OMVIC as your personal Rudolph this holiday season, guiding you on your some-times-murky, sometimes jolly, car-buying journey.

For more tips on how to protect yourself when buying privately, visit: Happy Holidays!

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