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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Buying a car privately? Get informed and stay protected

Nov 22

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Monday, November 22, 2021  RssIcon

Many Ontarians purchase cars from private owners, but “buyer beware”., avoiding Avoiding dealerships can sometimes lead to headaches, unexpected repair bills, unusable vehicles or worse. Private sales can present opportunities for sellers to take advantage of consumers, often by selling vehicles and misrepresenting their car’s history and condition. The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) can help you get the information you need before you buy privately to protect yourself.

As the province's motor vehicle sales regulator, OMVIC spends almost 60 per cent of its investigative resources fighting fraudulent, unlicensed car vendors known as curbsiders. Not all private sellers are curbsiders, but it’s important to stay vigilant when buying privately.

Curbsiders are illegal dealers pretending to be private sellers. They typically acquire rebuilt wrecks, vehicles with rolled-back odometers or registered liens and sell them at prices well below market value. Buying from curbsiders comes with significant risk. Once they sell their vehicles, they often disappear, leaving you with a potentially unsafe car, headaches and repair bills.

In 2017, an Ottawa curbsider purchased vehicles written off by insurance companies and sold them illegally to consumers. At least seven vehicles had already-deployed airbags. He did not replace them before selling the vehicles, opening consumers up to extreme risk if they crashed. In 2019, a curbsiding duo from Mississauga purchased vehicles with high mileage, rolled back their odometers by as much as 300,000 kilometres and sold them to unsuspecting buyers who did not know the vehicles’ poor state.

Depending on the severity, curbsiders can be fined up to $50,000 or spend two years less one day in jail. In 2020, OMVIC charged 353 curbsiders.

Car-buyers should beware of curbsiders. The law only protects consumers when they buy from an OMVIC-registered dealer. If something goes wrong when buying privately, consumers have no protections. The only option is to sue the curbsider in civil court if the consumer can find them after the sale.

With Fraud Prevention Month in March, learning to stay vigilant is timely. Informed purchases start with you. Stay educated: go online and read OMVIC’s free guides to car-buying. OMVIC also offers webinars to help consumers learn their rights when making a purchase – — privately or from a dealer. Sign up for a webinar today by contacting education@omvic.on.ca or by calling 1-800-943-6002.

OMVIC is here to protect consumers against fraud. If you think you may be dealing with a curbsider, walk away and report them to OMVIC at nocurbs@omvic.on.ca or call 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727). We are here to help.

 

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omvic www.omvic.ca


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




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