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Curbsiders: beware and buy from OMVIC registered dealers for protection and peace of mind

Buying a car can be an exciting experience, but it’s crucial to be cautious and informed, especially when dealing with private sellers. Among the many risks associated with private sales, one notable threat is the presence of curbsiders. Curbsiders are individuals who illegally pose as private sellers but are, in fact, unregistered dealers.

What is a curbsider?

A curbsider is an individual who intentionally misrepresents themselves as a private seller when in reality, they are selling vehicles for profit without being registered as dealers. These individuals often use various platforms such as classified ads, online listings, or social media to attract potential buyers. They exploit the trust of unsuspecting consumers, aiming to make quick sales without adhering to the laws and regulations that protect buyers.

Private sales vs. curbsiders

It’s important to distinguish between a legitimate private sale and dealing with a curbsider. In a private sale, an individual sells their own vehicle, usually for personal reasons. The transaction occurs outside the scope of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA). However, when encountering a curbsider, buyers must be cautious. These individuals often present themselves as private sellers while actually conducting frequent and repeated sales, operating as unregistered dealers. This deception puts buyers at risk as they are not entitled to the protections provided under the CPA and MVDA.

Consequences of curbsider convictions

When curbsiders are caught and convicted, serious consequences follow. The penalties for curbsiding include fines, possible imprisonment, and forfeiture of the vehicles involved. Convicted curbsiders face legal repercussions for their deceptive practices, which serve as a deterrent for engaging in fraudulent activities. These measures aim to safeguard consumers and maintain the integrity of the automotive marketplace.

Advantages of buying from an OMVIC Registered Dealer

To ensure a safe and protected car-buying experience, consumers are strongly advised to purchase from dealers registered with OMVIC. When buying from an OMVIC registered dealer, consumers gain access to a range of advantages and protections. Firstly, OMVIC enforces the MVDA, ensuring that all registered dealers and salespersons in Ontario comply with the law. This guarantees that consumers can trust the dealers they are engaging with.

Additionally, purchasing from an OMVIC registered dealer allows consumers to benefit from the compensation fund administered by OMVIC. This fund provides financial protection in case of dealer bankruptcy, fraud, or misrepresentation. Should any unfortunate circumstances arise, buyers can seek compensation from the fund, offering peace of mind and financial security.

While the allure of private sales may seem appealing, it’s essential for consumers to be aware of the risks involved when dealing with curbsiders. These unregistered dealers operate outside the legal framework, potentially leaving buyers vulnerable to fraud and devoid of the protections offered by the CPA and MVDA.

By choosing to purchase from an OMVIC registered dealer, consumers ensure they are dealing with reputable and law-abiding professionals who prioritize customer satisfaction and adhere to industry regulations. The decision to buy from an OMVIC registered dealer guarantees access to the MVDA’s protections and the added security of the compensation fund. Remember, when it comes to buying a car, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Contact OMVIC

Buying a new or used vehicle? Visit to access free car-buying resources to get you started, and sign up for the quarterly newsletter, Consumer Line.

You can also contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at [email protected] or 1-800-943-6002 for expert advice and answers to all your car-buying questions, or if you have a complaint about a dealer or salesperson in Ontario.

On Monday, July 17th at 7:00 p.m. OMVIC will be hosting a webinar on how to buy a car in Ontario. A representative from OMVIC will provide resources, tips, and advice to car buyers for buying new & used cars in Ontario. Click here to register (

Follow OMVIC on social media to stay up to date on the latest news.

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