Government of Saskatchewan
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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority

handing over a set of keys

What is a curber?

A curber is someone who is in the business of selling vehicles without a licence. The word curber comes from the practice of parking vehicles on the side of the road/curb with a “For Sale” sign.

Curbers also get junk cars and sell them from parking lots. They advertise through local newspapers and online ads. They don’t disclose a vehicle's history to the buyer, hiding serious accident damage or a rolled back odometer. Curbers have the same phone number listed for many cars. They ask, "Which car?" when you call. They say they're selling the vehicle for a friend or have a sad story. They'll have you meet them in a parking lot and rush you into buying. The name on the vehicle documents will not match their driver’s licence. Curbers want cash and may want you to lie on the title transfer documents to save money.

Most importantly, curbers offer none of the protections the law provides for purchases from a licensed dealer. Remember, if you buy from a curber and the deal goes bad, you may be on your own!

Five tips to spot a curber:

     1. Ask for Driver’s Licence
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, this is a red flag.

     2. 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.

     3. Meet at a coffee shop or the mall
Curbers don’t want you to know where they live or do business. They insist on meeting at coffee shops or mall parking lots to show you the vehicle and finalize the sale.

     4. Cash sales only
Curbers love cash sales. Cash is hard to track and it lets them cheat on taxes and leaves no paper trail.

     5. Sob story
“Grandma got sick and I need the cash now!”

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 you distracted from evaluating the vehicle properly. 

Check the VIN

The SGI VIN Search is a free service that looks up the VIN of the vehicle and provides the following information:

  • the status of the vehicle (if any)
  • its most recent Saskatchewan registration expiry date
  • its damage claims history in Saskatchewan since Nov. 1, 2002
  • whether the Saskatchewan PST is payable 

There are additional VIN search options, including the Cross Canada VIN Search which costs $10. Learn more.

Vehicle Buying tips
Knowledge is power. SGI has a guide to buying safer vehicles here. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities when purchasing vehicles under The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act here.  

Fixing and selling multiple vehicles? Get licensed!
It’s now easier than ever to get a vehicle dealer license in Saskatchewan with our new electronic, online registration system. Click here for the vehicle dealer’s guide and to find out more about getting licensed.

Call Consumer Protection Division
If you would like to report a curber, you can contact us toll free at 1-877-880-5550 or by email: consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca. 



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