How the curber stole the holidays

DATE: | Consumer bulletins

You’re a mean one, Mr. Curber! Looking for a new vehicle this holiday season? Be sure you know what a curber is and how to spot one:

What’s a curber and what are the risks?

  • Curbers are people who sell vehicles without a legally required AMVIC sales licence.
  • Typically, curbers sell stolen, damaged, improperly repaired or odometer-tampered vehicles and may not disclose the vehicle history, outstanding liens and mechanical concerns. You may not find out if the vehicle is from out-of-province or has been in a serious collision, until you attempt to register the vehicle.
  • Consumers who buy vehicles from curbers are often disappointed and find that when problems surface, the seller is gone and they have limited recourse.
  • A curber may advertise vehicles for sale online or operate from a legitimate looking location.

What are some signs that the seller is a curber? 

  • Curbers are often anxious to make a sale.
  • You might find their phone number used on multiple ads for different vehicles. Legitimate private sellers usually only have one vehicle for sale.
  • Curbers prefer to remain anonymous and may insist on meeting somewhere other than their home or work address.
  • The deal may seem too good to be true

What’s the difference between a private seller and a curber?

Individuals in Alberta can sell their own private vehicle as they wish. The problem arises when someone is making a business out of it. In other words, if someone is in the business of reselling vehicles, whether it is one or many vehicles, the seller would be required to have a salesperson registration and a retail sales licence from AMVIC– Alberta’s automotive regulator. Licensed businesses commit to following the consumer protection laws set out in Alberta’s Fair Trading Act. 

Think you might be dealing with a curber? Check AMVIC’s online database of businesses and salespeople to make sure you are buying from an AMVIC-licensed business and learn the benefits of dealing with a licensed automotive business.

Don’t let Mr. Curber leave you out in the cold this winter! Use AMVIC’s curber warning system to help you spot an unlicensed, illegal dealer.