Fraud Prevention Month: curbers and backyard mechanics

| Consumer bulletins

AMVIC has partnered with the Competition Bureau’s Fraud Prevention Forum to raise awareness on fraud and educate consumers and industry on how to recognize, reject and report fraud.

AMVIC wants to remind consumers to be aware of:

  • Curbers. Curbers are illegal, unlicensed sellers who often sell damaged, stolen or odometer-tampered vehicles. Curbers are fake private sellers who are anxious to make a sale, putting consumers at risk and creating an unfair marketplace in Alberta. Consumers who buy these vehicles are often disappointed and find that when problems surface, the seller is gone and they have limited recourse. Spot a curber: Look for red flags such as the seller trying to get you to send money right away before you even see the vehicle, or if they have multiple listings on marketplace websites. They may tell you a sob story to entice you to buy quickly, appear to be selling from a legitimate looking business, with a sophisticated website and a large inventory of vehicles available. They can also pretend to be private sellers, listing vehicles on websites such as Kijiji. Remember, if it’s a true private sale, the seller would likely only have one vehicle for sale. You can check if the salesperson is registered by searching on AMVIC’s database.
  • Backyard mechanics. Backyard mechanics are unlicensed and often operate from a residential property, violate zoning bylaws and create public and environmental safety hazards. Similar to curbers, backyard mechanics put consumers at risk and create an unfair marketplace in Alberta.

The next time you see a posting on Facebook or Kijiji from a mechanic who says they can perform cheap repairs and services, who should question the legitimacy of the business. Is it worth dealing with someone who may not be properly trained and may not have the correct tools, parts or facility?

You can search the phone number in the posting to see if it matches with an AMVIC-licensed business on AMVIC’s database. If it does not match, you may be dealing with a backyard mechanic; someone who is not accountable to consumers under the Consumer Protection Act.

Where to turn if you encounter fraud:

For complaints about curbers and backyard mechanics, turn to