How to spot a curber
A curber is an unlicensed individual or business selling vehicles for profit, often while posing as a private seller. Some operate more openly, usually also ignoring local bylaws, refusing to get a business licence or pay tax on their income. Curbers offer none of the protections the law provides for purchases from a Vehicle Sales Authority licensed dealer.
How do I know if I’m dealing with a curber?
- You find more than one vehicle listed with the same phone number, and the dealer licence number is not shown
- The seller says, "Which one?" when you call about the ad
- The seller doesn’t have the original registration form
- The name on the registration is not their name, so they’ll say they are selling the vehicle for a friend or family member
- The vehicle year, make, model, body style or colour don’t match the description on the vehicle’s registration form
- The vehicle doesn’t match the description given when the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN is decoded. Click here for CARFAX's online VIN decoder
- Curbers usually insist on meeting at a parking lot or mall, or bringing the vehicle to you, never at their home
- The seller insists on cash and says they’re in a rush to make a sale
What if I bought from a curber and have a problem?
If you purchased from an unlicensed seller, the VSA has very limited authority to assist you. However, action may be taken to protect future buyers.
Step one: Use the VSA Licensee Search to confirm the seller is not licensed as a dealer or a salesperson. If they are unlicensed, file a complaint.
Step two: If you believe the person you purchased from is operating as an unlicensed motor dealer, report them using the Report an Unlicensed Motor Dealer “Curber” Form.
Who needs to be licensed as a dealer?
Anyone selling more than five vehicles per year is automatically deemed to be a dealer under BC law. However, the sale of even one vehicle to a retail consumer as a business activity may require a licence.