September 18, 2018

Don’t Buy A Car From A Curber – Kick Them To The Curb

The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) is warning consumers of the risks of buying a vehicle from a curber, a person who sells vehicles for a profit without a licence.

“Curbers pose as private-sellers, often buying salvage or vehicles from various sources,” FCAA’s Consumer Protection Division Deputy Director Denny Huyghebaert said.  “They may clean the vehicles, make superficial repairs and quickly turn the cars around for resale.  Curbers operate illegally and often ignore consumer protection legislation which licensed dealers are bound by.  Unlike licensed dealers, curbers are not bonded and typically don’t have locatable addresses or approved forms of contract.”

Five Ways To Spot A Curber

  1. Ask for a driver’s licence - Compare their ID to the vehicle registration form (don’t accept a photocopy).  If the seller’s ID doesn’t match the registration, be careful, this is a red flag.
  2. Multiple listings - Do you see the same phone number and different names with multiple vehicle listings in ads?  You may be looking at a curber vehicle.
  3. Meet at a coffee shop or the mall - Curbers may not want you to know where they live or do business.  They often insist on meeting at coffee shops or mall parking lots to show you the vehicle and finalize the sale.
  4. Cash sales only – Some curbers love cash sales.  Cash is hard to track and leaves no paper trail.
  5. Sob story - Curbers may use sob stories to prey on a person’s general good nature and kindness.  They will use these stories to rush the sale, using guilt and sympathy to keep a person distracted from evaluating the vehicle properly.

Check vehicle history by searching the vehicle identification number (VIN) (https://www.sgi.sk.ca/vin).

The SGI VIN Search is a free service that looks up the following information:

  • the status of the vehicle (e.g. normal, rebuilt, stolen, total loss, unsafe or unrepairable);
  • its most recent Saskatchewan registration expiry date;
  • its damage claims history in Saskatchewan since November 1, 2002; and
  • whether the Saskatchewan PST is payable.

Contact Consumer Protection Division at www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/consumers-investors-pension-plan-members/consumers/consumers-of-goods-and-services/purchasing-and-repairing-a-vehicle/curbers for more information.

If you would like to report a curber, you can contact FCAA toll free at 1-877-880-5550 or by email at consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca.