OMVIC investigation results in curbsiding conviction

TORONTO - 

The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council reported recently it has caught another curbsider, or business acting as a motor vehicle dealer without registration.

This is a violation of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, and Zhijun Wang of Toronto was recently fined $11,000 after pleading guilty to curbsiding charges.

He also plead guilty to breaching the Consumer Protection Act by committing an unfair business practice.

The charges were the result of an undercover investigation conducted by OMVIC.

Taking an undercover approach, OMVIC investigators posed as consumers and responded to advertisements places in online marketplaces by Wang, according to Terry O'Keefe, OMVIC director of communications.

What they found included dramatic rolled back odometers.

-For example, one advertised vehicle was a 2007 Camry with an odometer reading of 95,860 kilometers, when in fact the OMVIC investigation showed the actual distance the vehicle had traveled was approximately 201,283 kilometers.

But that's not all.

-A second OMVIC investigator responses to an ad for a 2009 Infiniti sedan with an odometer reading 67,000 kilometers, but the true reading turned out to b approximately 179,615 kilometers. 

When the investigators inquired about the vehicles, there were invited to view the units at a plaza on Sheppard Avenue East in Toronto.

Further incriminating himself, Wang provided a false name to the undercover shoppers and also provided a false ID in one instance. Furthermore, neither of the cars was actually registered in his name.

"Often the vehicles they (curbsiders) sell are not registered in their name or have only been registered in their name for a short period of time. And commonly the vehicles sold are rebuilt wrecks with undisclosed accident repairs or rolled-back odometers," O'Keefe said.

"Only when vehicles are purchased from registered dealers are the buyers protected by OMVIC, Ontario's consumer protection laws and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. When consumers purchase vehicles privately and encounter problems, they are, unfortunately, on their own with little recourse other than the courts," he continued.

To date this year, 29 individuals/businesses have been convicted for curbsiding. And 70 additional cases are currently before the courts.