Buying a Used Car, Avoid Curbsiders

When friends and relatives of mine tell me they want to buy a used vehicle in private sellers, I remind them to be careful of curbsiders .

Despite constant media attention, the number of those who don’t know the meaning of the word “curbsider”, and their activity, is notably high in Canada.

For those who are not familiar with the term, a curbsider is an individual who tries to make huge profits by lying about the car’s condition and by “improvising” a dramatic situation that  forces him to sell it.

Like everyone else he places an ad in the car section of a local classified online, or in newspaper and play the role of an average, honest person who is “harmlessly” trying to sell his used car.

According to recent surveys, nearly 25 % of all vehicle ads in GTA are placed by this shameless category of private sellers. The cases in which car buyers are obliged to relinquish their cars right after purchase are not uncommon anymore.

Furthermore, many others find out huge costly damages and rolled back odometers, unfortunately after they pay, and have the car under their name.

A question comes naturally in my mind. How can these unscrupulous individuals continue to foul honest citizens, and raise businesses under the name of private sellers? The OMVIC, which issue regulations on Ontario car industry, is strongly committed to tracing curbsiders and laying charges against those who freely practice this fraudulent activity.

Every year in Ontario, The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council lays charges against curbsiders, for example several years ago, a man was found guilty of selling 23 unregistered cars. He spent 4 months in jail and was fined nearly half a million Canadian dollars.

In spite of curbsiders  proliferation customers, with some simple efforts can avoid them at any time. The most important step is to get informed about what to ask for before you decide to purchase the car. It is customer’s right to obtain an official Used Car Information Package, because it contains car’s history, the services done on the car and the number of past owners.

Get a professional mechanic to check the vehicle so that you can get a more adequate information about the current condition of the car. A certified technician will also identify damages, dents, and other things that are “invisible” for the average buyers.

Don’t trust ads phrases such as,” Moving out of the country, must sell asap”, “It was my uncle’s car and he died two days ago”. These words are typically said by curbsiders who urge to sell  cars in no time, put the money in their pocket and  if you try to call them, all you find is a turned off phone because they never pick it up  to discuss any concerns you may have about the car.

Don’t forget to check  the car  registration and make sure it is under the seller’s name, because the car may be stolen or have a lease. So beware.

Indeed, the safest way to buy a used car is from registered dealers across the country. Only when you buy from them,  you have a place to go back and  ask for assistance if something goes wrong with your newly purchased vehicle.

If you want to report a curbsider, contact OMVIC at 1-888-NOCURBS or by email at

Comments (2)


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