Ever heard of curbstoning?
It’s the repeated, unlicensed “flipping” of used cars for profit.
Now there’s nothing wrong with private-party used-car sales, and there’s nothing wrong with profit, but there is a new effort designed to fight unlicensed dealers who pose as private parties in an attempt to defraud buyers of a used vehicle.
According to AutoTec, the company that has vowed to fight curbstoning, it’s a nationwide scam that hurts consumers, cities and local businesses.
“For over 10 years, we’ve been helping licensed dealers do business in the wholesale marketplace efficiently and securely,” said Chuck Redden, president of AutoTec. “And for all that time, we’ve been hearing concerns about the effect curbstoners have on a retail level. We listened and felt it was time to put forth a unified, coordinated call to action.”
Licensed dealers certainly suffer from curbstoners, because they must maintain a place of business and pay license fees, while curbstoners avoid those costs. Consumers who buy from curbstoners might find themselves with unsafe, cobbled-together vehicles that can’t be registered or are insured like normal vehicles. While some curbstoners sell typical used cars, others specialize in vehicles put together using parts from two or three wrecked vehicles.
“Of course,” continued Redden, “by the time the buyer finds out that their just-bought used car has serious problems, the seller is long gone and so is the money.”
Municipalities also lose out when curbstoners succeed.
Since curbstoners are unlicensed, they’re basically untraceable. The transactions are frequently in cash, which can translate to lost tax revenue for cities. Redden says it’s a multimillion dollar business based on fraud.
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