Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council

March 10, 2008 13:50 ET

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council: Program Highlights Unregistered Vehicle Sales

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 10, 2008) - On Saturday, March 8 CTV's W-Five aired "A Bad Road Trip", part of which highlighted the threat of illegal, unregistered sellers, known in the industry as "curbsiders."

Curbsiders put unsuspecting consumers at risk by selling vehicles that often have accident damage, rolled odometers or liens against them. And usually, there is very little recourse for buyers who fall victim.

In response to the curbsiding problem, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) lays over 2,000 curbsiding charges annually. Although collection of fines is currently the responsibility of the courts, new legislation -- expected to be in force later this year -- will increase the minimum curbsiding fine to $2,500, and will also provide OMVIC with tools to ensure payment of those fines.

Consumers in the market for a used vehicle should be wary of curbsiders. Below are some quick vehicle-buying tips:

1. Avoid curbsiders. Curbsiders pose as private sellers, but are really in the business of selling stolen, damaged, rebuilt or odometer-tampered vehicles. Since they are not registered dealers, you have no recourse if you become their victim. Suspected curbsiders can be reported at 1-888-NOCURBS.

2. You have the right to know the history of the vehicle. Ensure the seller provides a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) before purchasing a vehicle. Under Ontario law, it's the private seller's responsibility to provide a UVIP. The package will list the names of all the previous owners in Ontario, determine if there are any outstanding Ontario liens registered against the vehicle, and include the name of the current vehicle registrant. It is critical to ensure the vehicle is in the name of the seller. If it is a different name, you may be dealing with a curbsider. For greater certainty about the vehicle's history, consider purchasing a CARFAX or CarProof vehicle history report (www.carproof.com).

3. Only the current owner should be selling the vehicle. Since the name of the current owner will be printed on the UVIP, it is critical to confirm the identity of the individual selling the vehicle. Ask to see photo ID and proof of ownership. Take into consideration where you meet the seller. It is best to deal at a person's residence in order to verify the address. Avoid meeting the seller in a public place such as a mall or parking lot. If you do meet at the seller's premises, are there other cars for sale? If so, you may be dealing with a curbsider. If you do decide to purchase the vehicle, do not pay cash. Issue a cheque made out to the name of the current owner listed on the UVIP. A curbsider will prefer cash, so that the buyer will have no way of tracking him down after the sale.

4. Get an inspection by a mechanic you trust. You should know the true condition of the vehicle. Although you may ask the seller for maintenance and repair records, it is in your best interest to have the vehicle inspected by an unbiased mechanic you trust. A mechanic may find problems with the vehicle that the seller failed to disclose. If you are dealing with a curbsider, the vehicle may be accident-damaged or the odometer may have been rolled back. It may have also been previously used as a cab or police cruiser.

5. Shopping with a registered motor vehicle dealer means you're protected. A vehicle is a major purchase so no matter where you buy, you should always research the vehicle and know your rights. All Ontario dealers are registered by OMVIC. You may verify registration at www.omvic.on.ca or by calling 1-800-943-6002. OMVIC also provides complaint handling should you run into trouble with your transaction. 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 buy privately.

Questions about purchasing used or new vehicles in Ontario can be directed to OMVIC at 1-800-943-6002. Consumers are also encouraged to view OMVIC's student awareness video, Know Your Ride, which is available online at http://www.omvic.on.ca/media/know_your_ride.htm.

About OMVIC

OMVIC administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act - a public protection statute - on behalf of the Minister of Government and Consumer Services. OMVIC's mandate is to maintain a safe and informed marketplace by ensuring registration of dealers and salespeople, 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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