John Carmichael is the OMVIC's Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, and he had blunt words for anyone who finds out a dealer is unregistered.

An Ottawa-area man was recently convicted of illegally selling cars - some without airbags - and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) is using the incident as a way of reminding consumers to avoid these unlicensed - and very much illegal - dealers, known as "curbsiders."

Ahmad Moussa was convicted on 36 counts of illegally selling motor vehicles, and fined $40,000. According to the OMVIC, he was the sole employee of Quality Motors, located in Ottawa. An investigation into Moussa found that between January 2013 and September 2016, he bought several vehicles that had been written from a salvage yard. He then resold the vehicles to unsuspecting consumers, claiming the cars were repaired.

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Up to 50 people who bought vehicles off Moussa were contacted and advised to have their airbags checked. At least seven vehicles Moussa sold were found to be without the safety devices.

John Carmichael is the OMVIC's Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, and he had blunt words for anyone who finds out a dealer is unregistered: "If they're not registered, run, don't walk, and please report them to (the OMVIC)."

According to the council, research it conducted found that up to 25 percent of online "for sale by owner" ads were placed by curbsiders.

If you're not sure if who you're dealing with when buying a vehicle is a curbsider, the OMVIC offers some signs to look out for. They include:

  • Vehicle is priced below market value
  • Vehicle not registered in seller's name or has only been registered in his/her name for a short period of time
  • Doesn't provide vehicle history report
  • Refuses vehicle inspection by purchaser's mechanic
  • Only wants to meet in public
  • Won't provide a receipt or proof of purchase

It's particularly important for consumers to protect themselves because although curbsiders can be brought to justice, "there is little protection for consumers who buy from (curbsiders)," says Carmichael. "Only consumers who buy from a registered dealer are protected by Ontario’s consumer protection legislation and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund."

This isn't the first time this year the OMVIC charged a curbsider. In February, Andre N. Campbell was sentenced to 50 days in jail for selling five rebuilt vehicles that were write-offs. It was the fourth time Campbell was convicted of curbsiding, as he was also charged in 2001, 2004, and 2013.

Vehicle purchases should never be made lightly, and getting a new car should be a time for celebration, not regret. Be sure to keep your wits about you when it's time to buy your latest ride.

Source: OMVIC

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