Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council

March 26, 2009 08:41 ET

OMVIC: Illegal Vehicle Sales Lead to 6-Month Jail Term

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 26, 2009) - An Etobicoke man has received a jail term after being convicted of curbsiding (illegal vehicle sales).

Olaekan SHITTU, 48 years old, was found guilty on March 23, 2009 in the Ontario Court of Justice - Scarborough Provincial Offences Court, of 26 counts of selling cars without registration, contrary to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. He was sentenced by His Worship Justice of the Peace William Turtle to seven days in jail on each count (to be served consecutively) and two years probation.

The charges stemmed from an investigation by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) into cars being purchased from a salvage auction, repaired and sold to consumers. The cars were all "total loss" vehicles that had been written-off by insurance companies due to their damaged condition. The cars were repaired and resold by the accused to customers in Toronto, who were often acquaintances. These customers were referred to the accused by word-of-mouth from friends.

In Ontario, all motor vehicle dealers and salespeople must be registered under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) before buying, selling or leasing vehicles. In the industry, unregistered individuals selling vehicles are known as "curbsiders" and are subject to prosecution by OMVIC. OMVIC lays over 1,000 curbsiding charges annually.

"Recent research reveals 61 per cent of Ontario consumers are unaware of curbsiders," explains Brenda McIntyre of OMVIC. "When buying privately, consumers need to be wary of vehicles that may be stolen, odometer-tampered, or have liens against them. Before buying from a private seller ensure you're provided with a Used Vehicle Information Package, purchase a vehicle history report from CarProof or CARFAX, ask for ID and proof of ownership from the seller and get an inspection from a trusted mechanic."

Consumers are also encouraged to keep the benefits of buying through an Ontario-registered dealer in mind when considering their next vehicle purchase:

- All dealers and salespeople in Ontario must be registered with OMVIC. To verify registration, visit www.omvic.on.ca or call 1-800-943-6002.

- Transactions conducted through registered motor vehicle dealers are protected through the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. The fund is financed by registered dealers and is available (under specific criteria) to consumers who may have suffered a financial loss from their motor vehicle transaction. This protection is lost if buying privately or through a curbsider.

About OMVIC

OMVIC licences and regulates motor vehicle dealers in Ontario and administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act - a public protection statute - on behalf of the Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services. OMVIC's mandate is to maintain a safe and informed marketplace by ensuring registration of dealers and salespeople, regularly inspecting 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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