Beware of curbsiders: buy from an OMVIC registered dealer 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 risks associated with private sales, is the presence of curbsiders.

What is a curbsider?

Curbsiders are individuals who intentionally misrepresent themselves as private sellers when in reality, they are selling vehicles for profit without being registered as dealers. These individuals 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 not to turn a profit. The transaction occurs outside the scope of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) because the seller is not a dealer in motor vehicles. Curbsiders represent themselves as private sellers while actually conducting frequent and repeated vehicle sales. This deception puts buyers at risk as the curbsider is evading the protections provided under the CPA and MVDA and typically is offering a vehicle with undisclosed damage or a questionable history; it’s frequently the sort of vehicle that many licensed dealers would be reluctant to sell.

Consequences of curbsider convictions

The penalties for curbsiding include fines, possible imprisonment (it’s rare and reserved for repeat offenders), 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, but nonetheless they have not completely eliminated the presence of curbsiders.

Advantages of buying from an OMVIC Registered Dealer

To ensure a safe and protected car-buying experience, consumers are encouraged 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.

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

By choosing to purchase from an OMVIC registered dealer, consumers ensure they are dealing with professionals who must 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.

If you believe you have encountered a potential curbsider, for example you showed up at the address of a private seller and discovered they had several vehicles for sale, OMVIC encourages you report them to us.

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 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.

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

IG: @omvic_official
Twitter: @omvic_official
Facebook: Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) 

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