Soman is not alone. Law enforcement officials estimate that anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of the cars advertised in classified ads or at the curb are sold by unlicensed dealers.
“Unfortunately, dishonesty sometimes is very profitable,” says John Creel, a Consumer Investigator who has been combating curbstoners for years. “You may hear from the curbstoner that he’s selling it for his friend or relative who’s just been deployed overseas,” he says, warning that the curbstoner will say whatever it takes to gain your confidence.
These vehicles are picked up at junkyards or salvage auctions cheaply. Curbstoners do minimal work to make the vehicles appear safe and sound, and then pass them off to an unsuspecting buyer. By the time you discover there may be a problem with the car the curbstoner is long gone.
While consumer investigators like Creel continue to crack down on curbstoners, vehicle history information companies are working to educate and protect consumers from these rip-offs. Carfax offers these tips to consumers to help them avoid being the next victim of a curbstoner:
* Look at a driver’s license and the vehicle’s title; if the names on the two documents don’t match, walk away.
* Ask the seller for a detailed vehicle history that will reveal hidden problems in a car’s past like a salvage history, odometer fraud or flood damage. Or, ask for the VIN and run a history on your own at carfax.com.
* Take the car to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection.
* Check the phone number; if the same number appears in multiple ads, the seller is likely a curbstoner.
A consumer’s best protection against curbstoned vehicles is to purchase from a reputable dealer. Dealers who use a vehicle history information service and put their cars through pre-sale mechanical inspections keep questionable vehicles off their lots and away from customers.
Courtesy of ARA Content