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Individuals who pose as private sellers, offering personal vehicles for sale, when in reality, they’re illegal dealers who buy and sell vehicles without the proper licenses or registrations are called curbsiders. This practice is illegal in Ontario and these individuals deceive buyers by misrepresenting the vehicles they sell and passing off used wrecks as unsuspecting customers' dream cars. They often conceal the vehicle's accident history, hide previous repairs, or tamper with the odometer to roll back the mileage.

Curbsiding is on the rise due to disruptions in the vehicle supply chain and low inventory levels. Shockingly, OMVIC estimates that at least 25 percent of vehicles listed as "for sale by owner" online are actually posted by curbsiders. Which presents a great risk to consumers.

What’s worse, if you decide to make a private purchase and something goes wrong, your options are limited. Consumer protection laws safeguard vehicle buyers only when they purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer. OMVIC's primary role is to protect and educate consumers who purchase vehicles from registered dealers. They play a crucial role in ensuring a fair and transparent transaction when buying or leasing a vehicle.

How to spot a curbsider and safeguard yourself

Prepare yourself with valuable knowledge about curbsiders including what to look for, early on in your buying journey, by visiting omvic.ca. Equipping yourself with this information will help you steer clear of unexpected surprises along the way.

Keep an eye out for several unmistakable warning signs.

· Always request identification and proof of ownership from the seller. If the vehicle is not registered in the seller's name or has only been registered for a short period, consider it a red flag.

· Exercise caution when dealing with a seller who refuses to allow you to conduct an inspection. Additionally, invest in a comprehensive vehicle history report to uncover any undisclosed accident history.

· Obtain a used vehicle information package (UVIP) from the Ministry of Transportation. This package will provide valuable insights into any existing liens, as well as the vehicle's previous owners and odometer history.

· Be vigilant in ensuring that the vehicle's odometer hasn't been tampered with. Pay close attention to excessive wear on both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.

· Research the seller. If the seller has multiple vehicles available for sale or operates within an automotive-related business, such as a repair shop, gas station, or car rental agency, it's highly likely that they are not selling their personal vehicle.

Should you suspect that you are dealing with a curbsider, promptly report them by contacting nocurbs@omvic.on.ca or dialing 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727).

OMVIC is Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator and oversees and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery, ensuring compliance among OMVIC-registered dealers. To identify a reputable dealer, be on the lookout for the blue and yellow decal displayed on dealership doors and windows. Alternatively, you can find a list of registered dealers on OMVIC’s website.

OMVIC is here to help!

Visit omvic.ca to learn about your consumer rights when you purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer and sign up for OMVIC’s monthly newsletter.

Contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at consumers@omvic.on.ca or 1-800-943-6002 for advice and answers to all your car buying questions.

OMVIC also offers free education services and webinars for consumers upon request, email education@omvic.on.ca for more information on our services and materials.

Follow OMVIC on social media to stay up to date on the latest news. IG: @omvic_official Twitter: @omvic_official Facebook: Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)