As Seized Stolen Vehicles Crushed, Regulator Warns Consumers to Beware of Illegal Sellers

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) Logo (CNW Group/Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC))

TORONTO, July 22, 2014 /CNW/ - The screech and grind of mangling metal and the popping staccato of shattering glass that echoed from the crushing of two stolen SUVs today, should be a clarion to consumers warns OMVIC, Ontario's regulator of vehicle sales.

The recovered stolen vehicles were destroyed by Economical Insurance to prevent them from being sold whole or in parts to an unsuspecting public. "We cannot be assured of the safety of the vehicles", said Javier Ibanez, Vice-President of National Sales and Distribution for Economical. "Parts from other vehicles — salvage or otherwise — were put on these vehicles by individuals who were convicted as part of the February 2010 arrests."

Economical believes the persons found in possession of the stolen SUVs were preparing to sell them to the public when the vehicles were recovered by police. "Should a consumer unknowingly purchase such a vehicle, not only does he or she risk significant financial harm, the alterations to the vehicle could endanger his or her life" stated Terry O'Keefe, OMVIC Director of Communications. "This is why it's vital car buyers know when they're protected, and when they're not."

Only when a consumer purchases from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer are they protected by Ontario's consumer protection laws and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. "Consumers who purchase privately, or from a curbsider (an illegal, unlicensed dealer), have little protection and cannot file a claim with the Fund."

Compensation Fund

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund is an industry-financed safety net that compensates consumers (up to $45,000 per claim) should they suffer a financial loss arising from a trade (purchase/sale/lease) with an OMVIC-Registered Dealer. Thus far in 2014, of 21 claims submitted to the Fund, 19 consumers have been paid the total of $343,405. "This level of protection for car buyers is some of the best in North America" explained O'Keefe. "Consumers who purchase privately forego this protection. Should something go wrong in a private sale, the consumer is basically, on their own." 

Curbsiders

Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers who commonly pose as private sellers though some do operate out of automotive related businesses such as gas stations, repair shops or rental companies. Just as curbsiders commonly misrepresent themselves, they often misrepresent the vehicles they sell; many are accident-damaged, rebuilt write-offs, odometer-tampered, even stolen. 

In spite of OMVIC's significant enforcement efforts, curbsiding continues to be a growing problem in Ontario. While curbsiders historically targeted buyers of inexpensive economy vehicles, consumers are warned that there has been a recent shift towards the sale of newer mid-to-high priced vehicles.

To learn more about curbsiders and for a list of curbsider convictions, visit www.omvic.on.ca.

Know When You're Protected

Consumers should understand if they choose to buy privately and something goes wrong, they are not protected by OMVIC, the Compensation Fund or Ontario's consumer laws. Only when they purchase from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer are they entitled to:

  • All-in price advertising with no hidden fees
  • Mandatory full disclosure of a vehicle's past use, history and condition
  • Cancellation rights if specified information is not disclosed
  • Access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund

How can consumers be sure they are dealing with an OMVIC-Registered Dealer? Visit OMVIC's website to search the name of the dealer or salesperson, or, ask to see the seller's OMVIC licence; if they can't produce one, consumers should walk away!

About OMVIC

OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. OMVIC maintains a fair and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario's 8,000 dealerships and 25,000 salespeople, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations and prosecutions. OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of its Board of Trustees.

SOURCE Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

Image with caption: "Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) Logo (CNW Group/Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2136_PHOTO_EN_4403.jpg

For further information: Terry O'Keefe, Director of Communications, 416-226-4500x3525, terry.okeefe@omvic.on.ca, Web: www.omvic.on.ca; Sarah Choudhury, Communications Officer, 416-226-4500x3172, sarah.choudhury@omvic.on.ca, Web: www.omvic.on.ca