Illegal car sales rising due to 'curbsiders': OMVIC

Illegal car sales rising due to 'curbsiders': OMVIC

A serious problem in the motor vehicle industry’

There’s a new push to address increasing fraud involving illegal motor vehicle sellers known as Curbsiders are described as unlicensed vehicle dealers who often pose as private sellers, though some operate from small automotive businesses like repair shops and rental companies. curbsiders across Ontario.

On Thursday, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) joined forces with Toronto Police and Toronto Crime Stoppers to encourage the public to anonymously report illegal vehicle sales.

“The motor vehicle crime we see often involves curbsiders, who are a serious problem in the motor vehicle industry,” said Maureen Harquail, OMVIC CEO and registrar.

OMVIC, a not-for-profit corporation, administers and enforces the province’s Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, which regulates motor vehicle sales and protects the public from fraud.

Harquail said curbsiding is on the rise due to low auto inventories, the soaring cost of vehicles and supply chain disruptions.

She explained curbsiders often misrepresent the vehicle they are selling to unsuspecting consumers, whether it’s an odometer that has been rolled back, the vehicle’s condition or other significant non-disclosure issues.

OMVIC has the authority to investigate and charge those who sell vehicles as a business without a licence.

“In 2022, our investigation team laid a total of 2,115 charges, more than double the total of 2021, including more than 1,000 charges against alleged curbsiders,” Harquail said. “And this number has been increasing annually.”

OMVIC estimates that at least 30% of vehicles listed online for sale by a private owner are actually placed by curbsiders.

“The increase in curbsiders has resulted in a steady rise in consumer complaints to OMVIC,” Harquail said.

Private sales are not covered by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, and fraud victims have no protections through OMVIC.

Harquail advises potential purchasers to do their due diligence and research the history of the vehicle using its vehicle identification number (VIN) and to purchase from OMVIC-registered dealers.

The public can report anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers by calling 416-222-TIPS (8477) or online at

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