Self-proclaimed "hobbyist" convicted as illegal car dealer

    BURNABY, BC, June 19 /CNW/ - Glen Aubrey Hanson of Williams Lake pleaded
guilty in Provincial Court to a charge of being illegally engaged in the sale
of motor vehicles and fined $2,000.
    Hanson, under investigation since 2005, had ignored previous warnings,
including a failure to change his behaviour after paying a violation ticket in
the amount of $250.
    Unlicensed motor vehicle dealers are commonly referred to as "curbers,"
usually operating from their homes, and collectively represent hundreds of
millions of dollars in vehicle sales each year. The public has no protection
from these individuals.
    Motor vehicle dealers and salespeople must be licensed in British
Columbia by the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA), under the Motor Dealer
Act. Standards of practice are clearly defined and aggrieved consumers have
various recourses available if they feel they were mistreated, including the
Motor Dealer Customer Compensation Fund.
    "Curbers cheat everybody: the responsible licensed dealers with high
standards of conduct; the salespeople who pass a certification course and
abide by clear codes of conduct; and, the public who most often get
considerably less than they are paying for, without any subsequent right to
complain or to have grievances addressed," said Judy McRae, the VSA's Manager
of Corporate Services and Communications."
    Hanson was first brought to the attention of the VSA by Williams Lake
motor dealers. Despite Hanson's proclamation that he sold cars only as "a
hobby," a subsequent investigation tracked 10 separate sales transactions.
After the first violation ticket was paid and Hanson's agreement to cease and
desist, not much time passed before motor dealers in the Williams Lake area
again noticed his advertising.
    This time, the evidence was brought to the Crown Prosecutor and court
charges were laid. Hanson pleaded guilty, was fined $2,000 and ordered to stop
selling vehicles. Should he continue now, the next charge to be brought
forward would be a much more serious "contempt of court" situation.
    "Curber" investigations are difficult because the offenders use a variety
of euphemisms to describe their work: hobby, broker, agent, facilitator and
others. Hanson's practice involved what are described as "bridging transfers"
in which his name appears on no documents. Only the former and new owners'
names would appear on the transfer document and vehicle registrations.
    "What was so helpful in this case was the vigilance of the Williams Lake
dealers who tracked this individual and passed on the information to the VSA,"
McRae said.

For further information:

For further information: Judy McRae, Manager Corporate Services and
Communications, Phone: (604) 293-3521

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