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How to Avoid Curbsiders

If you are thinking about buying a car, a used one might be a good solution for you if you find yourself without enough money, time and choice in buying. However, before purchasing a used vehicle – or a new one, for that matter – you need to do a lot of homework about both your prospective car and the dealer, so as not to make a very expensive mistake. You need to make sure to avoid curbsiders, here is how you do it.

Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers that often pose as private sellers, but some operate from small automotive businesses (repair shops, rental companies, etc.). Not only do they misrepresent themselves, but they also usually misrepresent the vehicles they sell – with many being previous write-offs with undisclosed accident repairs or are odometer-tampered.

Seeing as curbsiders are car dealers who are not licensed by OMVIC, their consumers are also not protected by OMVIC, since they are considered to have made a private transaction and are thus excluded by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and don’t have access to OMVIC’s Compensation Fund.

Moreover, in case you experience problems with your vehicle after the purchase, it’s very difficult to track curbsiders down and hold them responsible, which can end up costing you a lot in the end.

There are several significant differences between an OMVIC-certified dealer and a curbsider.

An OMVIC-regulated dealer:

On the other hand, a curbsider:

Furthermore, OMVIC has very clear objectives intended to make the car purchase process easier and protect the customer:

Here are the signs that you might be dealing with a curbsider:

As you can see, it’s very important to do everything in your power to avoid curbsiders and here are some tips on how to do exactly that.

1) Beware of the vehicles with below-market-value price

To be able to sell vehicles as quickly and easily as possible, curbsiders may offer a too-good-to-be-true price. They can do this because the vehicles are often accident-damaged, odometer-tampered or rebuilt write-offs, but be aware that no one sells vehicles for less than they are worth. If a deal seems too good to be true, that’s a warning, not an opportunity.

These online resources may help you determine vehicle values/prices:

2) Get information about the dealer

Curbsiders often sell vehicles that are not registered in their name, so it’s important to ensure you’re dealing with the registered owner:

3) Research the vehicle’s history – get UVIP and a history report from CarProof

A history report from CarProof provides useful information on:

By law, private vehicle sellers must provide the purchaser with a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) – available from Service Ontario locations and online.

UVIPs include:

4) Get a second opinion about the vehicle

Even if you get maintenance records from the seller, have the vehicle inspected by your trusted mechanic. A mechanic may find problems the seller did not disclose or know about. However, if the seller resists, walk away.
OMVIC regularly prosecutes curbsiders, which often results in significant fines or jail time if convicted. You can report one here: 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) or

CRS Automotive is an OMVIC-certified dealer whose salespersons are there to help customers find the right used luxury vehicle. We will provide assistance, but never be pushy because we value our customers. Come and see for yourself – we are waiting for you at our Cambridge, ON location!

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