Lethbridge consumer awarded restitution after AMVIC investigation

EDMONTON, July 22, 2016 /CNW/ - A Lethbridge dad was awarded $3,900 in court-ordered restitution on July 20, 2016 for a car he bought his daughter.

Last summer the man bought a 2008 Chevrolet Aveo from someone advertising it online. He had a mechanic inspect the car after he bought it. That is when he found out there were serious problems including a fluid leak and improperly installed parts. The seller did not offer any help so the man contacted AMVIC.

Turns out the seller, Abe Martens, was a curber. That is someone who sells vehicles without a mandatory licence from the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council. 

"It's against the law to be in the business of selling vehicles without the proper licence. The practice is harmful to consumers and unfair to law abiding automotive businesses," John Bachinski, executive director of AMVIC said.

AMVIC investigators were able to link the seller's phone number to a possible curber they were already investigating. They found him through a sophisticated data mining tool AMVIC uses to comb online ads for curbers.

"This new information provided the missing link that allowed our investigators to identify Martens who was linked to dozens of other vehicles that had been advertised over the previous year," Laura Lowe, AMVIC communications manager said.

AMVIC charged Martens under the Fair Trading Act for selling without a licence. He pleaded guilty and was fined $3,450.  In addition, he was also ordered to pay $3,900 in restitution.

"We were able to take action and protect other Albertans because this consumer contacted us," Lowe said. "But that is not always the case. Curbers often disappear right after the vehicle is sold and before buyers realize there is a problem."

Consumers can protect themselves by dealing with AMVIC-licensed businesses. Albertans can search AMVIC's database of licensees anytime at amvic.org. A licensed seller must provide a mechanical fitness assessment before entering into a sales contract. Licensed businesses are expected to follow a high standard of professional conduct and commit to following the consumer protection laws set out in Alberta's Fair Trading ActClick here for more benefits of dealing with an AMVIC-licensed business. AMVIC recommends consumers always obtain and independent mechanical inspection before buying a used car.

About AMVIC: The Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) is a regulatory organization authorized by the Minister of Service Alberta to enforce and administer the following legislation in relation to automotive business: the Fair Trading Act; the Automotive Business Regulation; the Cost of Credit Disclosure Regulation, and the Internet Sales Contract Regulation. AMVIC's mandate is to provide consumer protection in Alberta's motor vehicle industry. AMVIC publishes valuable information and tips for consumers, businesses and salespeople at amvic.org

SOURCE Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC)

For further information: Media inquiries may be directed to: Laura Lowe, Manager of Communications and Education, Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council, 780-468-0476, LLowe@amvic.org


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