Avoid 'Curbsider' Scams: Program to Drive Vehicle Buyers to
Ontario-Registered Vehicle Dealers

TORONTO, Oct. 13 /CNW/ - Few Ontarians know what a curbsider is, but many could fall victim to one. The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) has launched a consumer awareness program (BuyWithConfidence.ca) to encourage consumers to avoid curbsider scams by purchasing vehicles from Ontario-registered dealers. Curbsiders are unlicensed dealers who pose as private sellers; the vehicles they sell are often damaged, stolen or misrepresented (tampered odometers, missing parts or worse). OMVIC regulates Ontario's 8,400 vehicle dealers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA), a public protection statute.

"Previous industry studies have shown that curbsiders account for approximately 25 per cent of used vehicle classified ads, so Ontario consumers could easily get ripped off," says OMVIC spokesperson, Brenda McIntyre. "Ontario dealers must be registered under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act so that purchasers can enjoy the benefits of Ontario's consumer protection legislation."

Identifiable by a blue and yellow "Ontario-registered dealer" decal posted on dealership doors or windows, registered dealers are required by law to represent a vehicle's history and condition accurately. Registered dealers also pay into a consumer protection fund that may cover issues arising from a transaction with an Ontario-registered dealer.

"Registration can be refused or revoked if it is determined that dealers or salespersons will not operate in accordance with the law, with financial responsibility or with honesty and integrity. In addition to the MVDA, all registrants must also adhere to OMVIC's Standards of Business Practice," says McIntyre.

OMVIC has launched a consumer awareness program to identify Ontario-registered dealers. Consumers can identify dealers by looking for the blue and yellow "Ontario-registered dealer" decal or asking dealers to provide their OMVIC registration. To locate an Ontario-registered dealer, contact OMVIC at BuyWithConfidence.ca.

The consumer awareness campaign is designed to help consumers distinguish legitimate Ontario vehicle dealers from curbsiders and will appear in out of home, radio and online advertising in places where people look for vehicle information. Online ads will run on major vehicle-trading websites, radio ads will target consumers in their cars and transit shelter ads will run across the Greater Toronto Area in regions with a strong dealer presence. Consumers can view campaign elements at BuyWithConfidence.ca.

Signs that you may be dealing with a curbsider include:

    
    -   Conducts business entirely over the phone, email or the Internet
    -   Offers to show the vehicle in a public place (instead of at their own
        house or business)
    -   Will not provide a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP), as
        required by law
    -   Is not listed on the vehicle's registration as the owner
    

About OMVIC

OMVIC (www.omvic.on.ca) licenses and regulates motor vehicle dealers in Ontario and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Consumer Services. OMVIC maintains a fair, safe and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario's 8,400 dealerships, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations. OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of a Board of Trustees.

SOURCE Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

For further information: For further information: Brenda McIntyre, Communications Coordinator, (416) 512-3167, Brenda.McIntyre@omvic.on.ca; Robert Kirsic, Communications Assistant, (416) 512-3525, Robert.Kirsic@omvic.on.ca


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