Stubborn Ottawa-area Curbsider Fined $40,000
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
A Stittsville man has been convicted of curbsiding (acting as a motor vehicle dealer without registration) under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA). OMVIC conducted an extensive investigation into the illegal vehicle sales of Soidan (Danny) Ismail (also “Ismal”). The investigation led to 29 MVDA curbsiding charges and an additional 30 charges under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) for making false, misleading and deceptive representations regarding the history and condition of vehicles sold. Ismail was convicted on 19 of the charges and fined $40,000.
Appeared to Be a Dealer
Ismail did not act alone. Collaborating with two other individuals – Mark Richards of Gloucester and Thomas Murray of Russell, Ismail advertised vehicles on Kijiji, indicating the vehicles were at St. Laurent Auto Repair and Collision Centre, which he owned.
In a number of cases, unsuspecting consumers were either told they were dealing with a licensed dealership or were under the impression that Ismail was a registered dealer, based on the fact that he issued bills of sale and handled the licensing and transfer of ownership.
Many victims indicated the bills of sale did not include the actual selling price of the vehicle. When questioned, purchasers stated that Richards told them the perpetrators “were just trying to save them some taxes.”
One of the charges related to the sale of a vehicle with undisclosed accident repairs of more than
$15,000. The consumer was told the vehicle had “a minor repair to the rear bumper”; only later was it discovered that the frame of the vehicle had been cut and welded and the suspension replaced and welded illegally.
Another purchaser stated he never would have purchased his vehicle had he known about multiple accident claims that totalled over $24,000.
An OMVIC Investigator met with Ismail early in the investigation to warn him of his illegal practices, at which time Ismail acknowledged he knew he was selling vehicles illegally. A Ministry of Transportation report later revealed Ismail sold 28 vehicles in the one-month period following OMVIC’s warning. Ismail even continued illegally selling vehicles after attending a judicial pretrial on his first set of charges.
“The individual’s conduct is bewildering,” stated Tom Girling, OMVIC Director of Investigations. “Mr. Ismail demonstrated little respect for the law and continued to illegally sell vehicles to the detriment of unsuspecting consumers even after being warned by the regulator.”
Thomas Murray and Mark Richards were each charged with one count of curbsiding. Both pled guilty; Murray was fined $5,000; Richards was fined $7,500.
The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act requires all vehicle dealers and salespeople be registered with OMVIC. Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers who commonly pose as private sellers, though some operate from automotive related businesses such as gas stations, repair shops or rental companies. Just as curbsiders commonly misrepresent themselves, they often misrepresent the vehicles they sell; many are previous write-offs with undisclosed accident repairs or are odometer-tampered.
Research conducted by OMVIC found 25% of online “for sale by owner” vehicle ads are placed by curbsiders. If a consumer is unsure whether or not a business selling vehicles is registered, they should conduct a search on OMVIC’s website, or ask to see the seller’s OMVIC licence. If they are unable to produce one, walk away!
How to Spot a Curbsider
Curbsiders often use one or more of the following tactics to dupe car-buyers:
- Vehicle is not registered to the seller or has only been registered to seller for short period
- Vehicle is 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. information has been removed, or pages missing)
- Doesn’t provide a vehicle history report (Carproof); or information/ pages missing
- Refuses inspection by the purchaser’s mechanic
- Vehicle is often not plated and/ or uninsured; therefore a test drive is not possible
- Doesn’t provide a receipt or proof of purchase
To report a suspected curbsider, call 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit OMVIC’s website to view a list of recent curbsider convictions.
OMVIC Protects Car Buyers in Ontario
As the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, OMVIC protects consumers and maintains a fair and informed marketplace by:
Maintaining strict registration requirements for Ontario’s dealerships and salespeople
- Regularly inspecting all Ontario dealers (new and used)
- Providing free conciliation services to consumers
- Developing/delivering consumer and dealer education/awareness programs
- Investigating and prosecuting industry non-compliance and illegal sales (curbsiding)
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