Know The Risks – Buying from Curbers
July 28, 2016
Ross McLaughlin & Carly Yoshida, CTV Vancouver
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
‘They’re not protected’: The risks of buying from a ‘curber’
An undercover investigation and recent decision from the Registrar of Motor Vehicles has sparked a renewed warning to consumers about buying used cars from curbers.
Curbers usually pose as private sellers but are actually unlicensed dealers in the business of selling cars to make money. They also often operate outside of the rules that apply to licensed dealers.
Further, curbers often don’t reveal the full history of the vehicle, so a buyer could potentially be in the dark if a car is unsafe or stolen.
The B.C. Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) issued a warning about buying cars from a Richmond man after he admitted to rolling back odometers. Arthur Tong’s dealer’s license was stripped, and he has been banned for life from applying to be registered as a motor dealer or licensed in any capacity under the Motor Dealer Act.
The VSA says after Tong’s license was cancelled, he started curbing.
“Consumers in British Columbia need to know that if they buy from a curber, they’re not protected,” said Doug Longhurst with the B.C. Vehicle Sales Authority.
The VSA has even been running an ad campaign warning consumers about the practice of curbing.
Longhurst says one of the first red flags that you might encounter when dealing with a curber is if you call the seller and ask to see the car, and they ask you which one.
“If I’m selling my car…I’m not going to say ‘which car are you calling about?’” he said. “So that’s the first tip off that somebody is actually in the business. They’re not selling their own car.”
Buyers should also ask to see the vehicle’s registration and make sure the names match with the seller. Ensure the VIN, make, model, and colour match.
Buyers should also be wary if the seller insists on a cash transaction, or if they want to meet you at a parking lot instead of their home.
The VSA has the authority to discipline curbers through issuing tickets, getting compliance orders from the B.C. Supreme Court and seeking prosecution from Crown. The tickets are usually about $288. But changes are expected next year to allow the VSA to levy harsher penalties against curbers.
The VSA also investigates dealers who have been reported to be selling vehicles privately.
This doesn’t necessarily mean consumers shouldn’t buy vehicles from private sellers. However, there are precautions that should be taken.
“There’s just a lot more risk,” said Longhurst.
When buying from a private seller, consumers should get a Carfax report. For a fee, you can also get a verified CarProof report, which will tell you more information about accidents, liens, or if the vehicle was stolen.
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