Curbstoning Car Scam: How to Detect it?

Curbstoning Car Scam

The curbstoning car scam is used mainly when selling used vehicles. Curbstoners are those people who make it seem as if they are selling their own vehicles in their own yard like private sellers do. However, in reality most of these people are used car dealers.

The main reason for doing this is that used car dealers have to obey certain laws and regulations established by the Federal Trade Commission. A used car dealer should provide a warranty for the vehicle he/she is selling. A car with no warranty means that there may be lots of problems connected with the car’s previous life. A car may have been seriously damaged before or it may have been flooded or bought back by the manufacturer for being a Lemon. Such vehicles, of course, cannot come with a proper warranty.

Usually, mainly small dealerships practice the curbstoning car scam. These dealers try to sell previously salvaged, wrecked, flooded vehicles without telling the potential buyer about the vehicle’s title or the condition. Such fraudulent dealers would sell relatively good cars in their dealerships and the bad ones from the front yards like private sellers do.

Many states have tried to stop this scam by limiting the number of vehicles a private party can sell per year. For example, in some states, a private seller can sell up to 5 vehicles per year, not more. However, this regulation could not help eliminate the fraud completely, as many car sellers say that the vehicle they are selling is not theirs, but their mother’s or daughter’s or someone else’s, that’s why it does not have their name on the title.

Here are several tips to help you see whether the car seller you are dealing with is a curbstoner or not:

  • Call the seller and tell them you are calling for the car. If the seller asks you which car you mean, you will already have a hint concerning the fact that a private seller cannot have many cars to sell.
  • If you do not know the seller personally and it turns out that his/her name is not on the car title, then be careful.
  • Surf the web to see how many used car references are related to the name of the seller. If there are several used car names, then the seller may not be the person he/she is pretending to be.
  • Private sellers usually let the buyer have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle for potential problems; however, a curbstoner will not do that.

If you think you have suffered a curbstoning car scam you can contact a dealer fraud lawyer for legal help. The Margarian Law Firm is a legal agency that handles auto dealer fraud cases. Call us for more information at (818) 553-1000.