Windsor auto repair shop and owner fined $50,000 for illegal vehicle sales
Friday, August 9, 2019
As a result of charges laid by OMVIC, Ontario’s Vehicle Sales Regulator, a Windsor auto repair business and its owner, received significant fines for illegal vehicle sales.
2207113 Ontario Inc., operating as Downtown Auto Center, located at 663 Glengarry Ave., Windsor, and company owner, Mohsen Farahat, pleaded guilty to a total of 20 charges of curbsiding (acting as a dealer without registration) contrary to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA), and received fines totalling $50,000.
“Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed dealers who usually pose as private sellers; but in this case, it was a business curbsiding. As a result, some consumers may have mistakenly believed they were dealing with a legitimate registered dealer and were entitled to the protections that normally provides,” stated John Carmichael, OMVIC CEO and Interim Registrar. “And this was definitely not a case where the accused was unaware he was breaking the law.”
In 2012, Farahat, a licensed mechanic, applied for OMVIC Registration. His application was denied when it was determined he failed to provide accurate information in his application – specifically, a conviction under the Highway Traffic Act for issuing a Safety Standards Certificate to a vehicle found not to be in compliance with the vehicle standards. Farahat unsuccessfully appealed the decision
In its final notice on the matter, OMVIC cautioned Farahat against trading in motor vehicles. However, at the recent guilty plea, the court heard evidence Farahat and Downtown Auto Center had sold a large number of vehicles, most purchased from an auction that disposes of insurance company write-offs.
Downtown Auto Center pleaded guilty to 15 counts of curbsiding and Farahat pleaded guilty to five. They were fined $2,500 for each count plus the mandatory Victim Fine Surcharge (VFS).
The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act requires all vehicle dealers and salespeople to be registered with OMVIC. Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed dealers. Just as curbsiders commonly misrepresent themselves—often posing as private sellers—they frequently misrepresent the vehicles they sell; many are accident-damaged, rebuilt write-offs or are odometer-tampered.
While curbsiders commonly pose as private sellers, many sell from small automotive-related businesses like repair centres or body shops. If a consumer is unsure whether a business selling vehicles is actually registered, they should conduct a search on OMVIC’s website, or ask to see the seller’s OMVIC licence.
How to Spot a Curbsider
Curbsiders often use one or more of the following tactics:
Vehicle not registered to seller, or, only registered to seller for short period of time
Vehicle priced below market value
Doesn’t provide the mandatory Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP), or provides a UVIP that has been tampered with (e.g. lien or mileage info removed) or with missing pages
Refuses inspection by purchaser’s mechanic
Vehicle often not plated and/or uninsured; therefore, test-drive is not possible
Uses a yellow Service Licence Plate for test drives
Refuses to provide receipt or proof of purchase
To report a suspected curbsider, call 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or email email@example.com
Information can be reported anonymously. For more information on how to avoid curbsiders, click here
OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
OMVIC maintains a fair and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario's 8,000 dealerships and 30,000 salespeople, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations and prosecutions (or discipline proceedings) of industry misconduct and illegal sales (curbsiding). OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of its Board of Trustees.
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