The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

October 13, 2009 10:56 ET

OMVIC: Avoid Curbsiders and Vehicle-Buying Scams

Buy from an Ontario-Registered Dealer

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 13, 2009) -

Editor's Note: There are 2 photos associated with this press release

Few Ontarians know what a curbsider is, but many could fall victim to one. The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) has launched a consumer awareness program ( to encourage consumers to avoid curbsider scams by purchasing vehicles from Ontario-registered dealers. Curbsiders are unlicensed dealers in the business of selling cars, but who pose as private sellers. The vehicles they sell are often misrepresented, accident-damaged, odometer-tampered, stolen, or have liens against them. OMVIC regulates Ontario dealers and administers consumer protection legislation.

"Curbsiders account for approximately 25 per cent of used-vehicle classified ads and that means the Ontario public is vulnerable to curbsider scams," says Carey Smith, director of investigations for OMVIC. "People would be shocked to know some of the problems curbsiders pass on to consumers: stolen vehicles, previously damaged or flooded vehicles, vehicles with missing airbags, or worse. Unlike curbsiders, Ontario's registered motor vehicle dealers abide by a code of ethics and are required by legislation to operate with honesty, integrity and financial responsibility."

Tips to Avoid Curbsiders

Avoid purchasing vehicles from people who:

Conduct business entirely over the phone, email or the Internet

Offer to show the vehicle in a public place (instead of at their own house or business)

Will not provide a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP), as required by law

Are not listed on the vehicle's registration as the owner

Protect Yourself: Buy from a Registered Dealer

The best way to purchase a vehicle, says Smith, is to buy from an Ontario-registered dealer. Identified by a blue and yellow decal posted on dealership doors or windows, Ontario-registered dealers are required by Ontario regulations and OMVIC's Standards of Business Practice to represent a vehicle's history and condition accurately. Ontario dealers also pay into a consumer protection fund that may cover issues arising from a transaction with a registered dealer.

"With more than 8,000 registered dealers in Ontario offering every kind of vehicle there is, there's no reason to risk purchasing a dangerous vehicle from a curbsider," says Smith. "If you buy from a registered dealer, you have some protection. And, always remember that if any deal seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Consumers can identify Ontario-registered dealers by looking for the blue and yellow "Ontario-registered dealer" decal or by asking dealers to provide their OMVIC registration. To find a registered dealer or verify registration, contact OMVIC or use OMVIC's dealer locator.

"Buying a vehicle is one of the biggest purchases someone can make. We've implemented a number of initiatives to help steer people through the process," says Brenda McIntyre, communications coordinator for OMVIC. These initiatives include:

Know Your Ride - Grade 10 Civics program to help students buy their first vehicle

Know Before You Buy - Explaining vehicle advertisements

Consumer Line - Quarterly consumer protection newsletter


OMVIC ( licenses and regulates motor vehicle dealers in Ontario and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Consumer Services. OMVIC maintains a fair, safe and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario's 8,400 dealerships, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations. OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of a Board of Trustees.

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