Saskatoon– A “curber” in Saskatoon has been hit with $17,000 in fines and victim impact surcharge, as well as a restitution order of almost $7,000 for selling vehicles without a licence.
That’s according to the Saskatchewan Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) on Nov. 5.
In Saskatchewan it is illegal for an individual to carry on business as a vehicle dealer by purchasing and selling vehicles to consumers without a licence. This activity is known as “curbing” or “curbsiding” and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) is responsible for regulating this activity. In September 2020, Rodney J. Evason, a vehicle dealer operating without a licence (i.e. a curber), pleaded guilty to 13 offences contrary to The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act and The Consumer Protection and Business Regulations. Evason’s unlawful activities included selling vehicles to consumers without a licence, knowingly making misleading statements to consumers in respect to material facts, and making false claims. Evason was fined more than $17,000 including victim surcharge fees and was ordered to pay nearly $7,000 in restitution to one of his victims. Last year, the FCAA received information about Evason’s curbing activities. On at least two occasions, Evason was directed by the FCAA to cease and desist these activities, but he continued to purchase and sell vehicles without a licence. After an investigation by the FCAA, Evason was charged. In June 2019, a warrant was issued for his arrest and in March 2020, Saskatoon City Police executed that warrant. The FCAA noted curbers often pose as private sellers who commonly misrepresent the vehicles they sell and may not disclose the vehicle’s history to a buyer. The Act requires all vehicle dealers to be licensed. The purpose of the licensing regime is to provide protection for consumers and outline obligations for industry. The FCAA’s website offers several tips for spotting a curber.
First, the documentation does not match. You should compare their ID to the vehicle registration form (don’t accept a photocopy). If the seller’s ID doesn’t match the registration, be careful, as this is a red flag.
Second, if the vehicle is being sold below market value, there may be an issue. Vehicles for sale are often priced below market value. If the price seems “to good to be true,” that’s also a red flag.
Is this vehicle sold under multiple listings? Do you see the same phone number and different names with multiple vehicle listings in ads? You may be looking at a curber vehicle, the FCAA noted.
Fourth, curbers often refuse to allow a vehicle inspection by a mechanic. This is a red flag.
If they want to meet at a coffee shop or the mall, look out. Curbers do not want you to know where they live or do business, so some curbers may insist on meeting at coffee shops or mall parking lots to show you the vehicle and finalize the sale.
If it’s a cash sales only, that might be another clue. Curbers love cash sales, the FCAA said. Cash is hard to track and leaves no paper trail.
And if they have a sob story to tell, look out. “Curbers use sob stories to play a person’s general good nature and kindness. They will use these stories to rush the sale, using guilt and sympathy to keep a person distracted from evaluating the vehicle properly,” the website noted.
If you would like to report a curber, contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-880-5550 or by email at email@example.com.
Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury