Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council

August 05, 2009 15:16 ET

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council Warns Consumers About Online Vehicle Scam

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 5, 2009) - The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) advises consumers to be cautious of falling victim to an online vehicle purchasing scam. The Council has received numerous reports of this scam in Ontario.

Victims found well-priced used vehicles for sale on websites such as AutoTrader, Craigslist or Kijiji. Once they expressed interest in purchasing the vehicle, they were directed to a fake eBay Motors website and required to complete a "Commit to Buy" form. Following that they were told to attend a MoneyGram location to transfer funds for the vehicle. Victims received a message indicating the payment was received, but that additional funds were required for shipping charges.

When victims followed up to ensure the second payment was received, they were unable to contact or locate the seller. Consumers had not been provided with a phone number, only an email address that was listed in the body of the vehicle ad. By using a cash transfer service like MoneyGram, the payments were not protected.

In most cases the vehicles are offered at extremely low prices and the sellers are located overseas.

"When purchasing a used vehicle privately, it's important to remember a deal that looks too good to be true probably is," explains Brenda McIntyre of OMVIC. "Know who you are dealing with and ask for proof of ownership so you are sure the registered owner is in fact the one selling the vehicle."

OMVIC also reminds consumers to consider the advantages of purchasing vehicles through an Ontario-registered dealer, rather than privately:

- All Ontario dealers and salespeople must be registered. You may verify registration at www.omvic.on.ca or by calling 1-800-943-6002.

- OMVIC provides complaint handling should you run into problems with your transaction with a registered dealer.

- In Ontario, all vehicle purchasers are protected by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund when you buy from a registered dealer. This protection is lost when you purchase privately.

About OMVIC

OMVIC licences and regulates motor vehicle dealers in Ontario and administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act on behalf of the Minister of Consumer Services. OMVIC's mandate is to maintain a fair, safe and informed marketplace by ensuring registration of dealers and salespeople, inspecting dealerships, maintaining a complaint line for consumers, conducting investigations and enforcing the act and its associated rules and regulations. OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of a Board of Trustees.

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