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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

What’s OMVIC doing to crack down curbsiders during COVID-19?

Apr 30

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Thursday, April 30, 2020  RssIcon

AboutOMVIC Early this year, an OMVIC investigation into unlicensed and illegal dealer activity (curbsiding) led the team to probe into what appeared to be suspicious dealings of a car repair and rental company in Brampton, Ont.

Turns out, even though the company and its two partners were not registered to sell motor vehicles, that did not stop them. The men purchased undisclosed rebuilt wrecks from salvage auctions, and then sold them to unsuspecting consumers through online marketplaces.

Following a thorough investigation into the company, and its owners, OMVIC laid several charges. Subsequently, the courts found the men guilty and ordered them to pay significant fines.

In 2019, OMVIC’s investigators laid 428 charges against 39 alleged curbsiders.


Curbsiders and the COVID-19 Crisis

Typically, curbsiders prey on individuals who may be unaware the vehicle they are buying has an unsavoury past, including the fact that in some instances, its odometer may have been altered.

 Although, auto dealerships in the province were closed and only reopened (by appointments only), May 4, curbsiders have been busy.

But they are not alone.

OMVIC’s investigators too have been busy cracking down on curbsiders while maintaining physical distancing rules and other provincial health guidelines.

“For OMVIC’s investigative unit, curber or unregistered activity continues to be a top priority,” noted Don Cousens, OMVIC’s Manager of Investigations. “Even though we are dealing with a pandemic, we are still pursuing and locating curbsiders, and responding to the issue both, in a reactive and proactive manner. Rest assured, OMVIC will take action and charge entities under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) if there’s evidence of curbing.”


Don’s 6 Tips on how to Protect yourself from a Curbsider:

Consumers who purchase a vehicle from a curbsider are not protected by OMVIC, its Compensation Fund, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Consumer protection is only available to those that purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer. So, how can you protect yourself from falling victim to a curbsider?

Meeting a private vehicle seller or test-driving a vehicle during the COVID-19 pandemic may pose serious health risks to you and the community. Health Canada advises all Canadians to stay home/ practice physical distancing. To learn more, visit Health Canada’s website.

  1. Research/ask for the vehicle’s history: Private sellers are required by law to provide a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP)
  2. Know your seller: Ask for identification. The name on the vehicle ownership must match with the ID
  3. Beware of vehicles priced below the market value
  4. Make sure the vehicle’s odometer has not been tampered with. Some tell-tale signs:
    1. Worn upholstery or steering wheel
    2. worn suspension components
    3. pitted/sand-blasted windshield
    4. worn rubber pad(s) on brake/gas/clutch pedal(s)
  5. Get a mechanic to inspect the vehicle
  6. Location, location, location: Make sure the location where the seller is directing you to go view the vehicle or sign over the paperwork is connected to the address on the driver’s license or other document.

There are several tell-tale signs to spot a curbsider. You can report curbsider activity anonymously by calling 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or emailing nocurbs@omvic.on.ca.


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LinkedIn   Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council


omvic www.omvic.ca


cpo  www.ontario.ca/page/consumer-protection-ontario






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