Beware of curbers

| Consumer bulletins

If you’re thinking of purchasing a used car, be curber aware. Curbers are unlicensed, illegal businesses that often appear to be a private seller or a legitimate business.

Typically, curbers sell stolen, damaged, or odometer-tampered vehicles. Consumers who buy these vehicles are often disappointed and find that when problems surface, the seller is gone and they have limited recourse.

Spotting curbers:

  • Curbers may appear to be selling from legitimate looking businesses with actual websites and business names.
  • Curbers may also pose as an individual selling their vehicle as a private sale.
  • Curbers are often anxious to make a sale.
  • You might find their phone numbers used on multiple ads for different vehicles—a legitimate private seller usually has only one vehicle for sale.
  • If you think you may be dealing with a curber, check if the business is licensed or the salesperson is registered at to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate seller. If you cannot find the business or salesperson online, call AMVIC at 1-877-979-8100 ext. 2002 to confirm their licensing status.

Private seller vs. a curber                                                           

Individuals in Alberta can sell their own private vehicles as they wish. The problem arises when someone is making a business out of it. There is no magic number of vehicles you can sell, if it is purchased to flip, in other words reselling it to someone else, the seller would be required to have a salesperson registration and a retail sales licence from AMVIC.

Protect yourself:

  • Make sure the seller is the registered owner of the vehicle.
  • Purchase a vehicle history report.
  • Insist on an independent inspection.
  • Never give the seller personal or banking information.
  • Use a proper bill of sale.
  • Be prepared to walk away – there will be other vehicles.

Suspect a curber? File a complaint online to let us know.

Ensure you are dealing with an AMVIC-licensed business

AMVIC-licensed businesses have clear guidelines for the advertisement and sale of vehicles that protect consumers. All AMVIC-registered salespeople must complete a mandatory course on the laws and regulations they are required to follow. Plus, a consumer who buys a car from a licensed business will have additional protections, potentially including access to AMVIC’s Compensation Fund. Ensure you know how to spot a curber before it’s too late.