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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Legitimate Private Sellers vs Curbsiders

Feb 24

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Monday, February 24, 2020  RssIcon

OMVICMailbag

From time to time, we feature a consumer question on the OMVIC blog, like this one, “If I sell a car by myself, or put it on Kijiji, does that make me a curbsider?”

The simple answer is no—selling a car does not automatically make someone a curbsider. Anyone is entitled to sell his or her personal vehicle—that is, a vehicle that was purchased and owned for personal, family or household use. Curbsiders are in the business of selling cars. While they usually pose as private sellers, they buy cars, not for personal use, but to resell.

Here are some more important distinctions:

Curbsider Legitimate Private Seller
  • Typically, sells cars that are owned for a very short time—often the ownership is not in the seller’s name!




  • Does not have a UVIP or history reports showing how long he or she has owned the car. May try to convince consumers they don’t need the documents or provide a report with pages missing.

  • Often sells a vehicle for a price below market value. (They can do this because the vehicles are often odometer-tampered or rebuilt wrecks.)


  • Will suggest meeting at a location that may make it difficult to find the seller after the sale or at a business related to vehicle repairs. Sells cars that are unplated or have yellow (repairer) or red/white plates (dealer plates).

  • May have multiple vehicles for sale.

  • Refuses a pre-purchase inspection. May provide excuses such as the vehicle is not insured or another buyer is on the way to see the car.

  • Sells a car that he or she has owned for a reasonable period of time. The vehicle is registered to the seller (see the ownership documents) and the seller will be able to produce maintenance records.

  • Provides a UVIP, showing how long he or she has owned the vehicle.


  • Sells a vehicle for market value.



  • Likely to meet consumers at their place of residence or a safe trading zone. Vehicles are likely plated.



  • Typically, has just one vehicle for sale.

  • Allows for an inspection by the buyer.

To learn more about curbsiders click here. To view the OMVIC Academy video on curbsiders click here. If you have a question related to buying a car, OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries team is here for you. You can get in touch through email consumers@omvic.on.ca or you can call 1-800-943-6002 ext. 3942.

About OMVIC

As the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, OMVIC’s mandate is to maintain a fair and informed marketplace by protecting the rights of consumers, enhancing industry professionalism and ensuring fair, honest and open competition for registered motor vehicle dealers. Visit omvic.ca to learn more about your car-buying rights as well as additional tips for buying a car in Ontario. For car buying tips, check out the OMVIC Academy. You can view other resources such as multilingual videos and download the OMVIC Car-buying Guide.


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