Typically, the curber is a male, 45 or older but they can come in all ages, shapes and sizes…

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Curbers often lurk online and in the small print of classified advertising sections.

But no matter where they choose to advertise their cars for sale, their driving desire is to make you a bad deal dressed as a good one.

In the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look first at a typical curber profile then tell you about the activities of some specific conmen known to the authorities. It is hoped that this information will ensure you won’t fall foul of these low-lifers. I’m indebted to the Vehicle Sales Authority for providing the research necessary for me to furnish with this advice.

I guess I’ve always had a cartoonish image of what a curber looks like but the VSA put me straight on that notion. Typically, the curber is a male, 45 or older but they can come in all ages, shapes and sizes. Frequently, they have a ‘your neighbour’ look, avoiding anything flashy in appearance that might draw attention. Sometimes dresses like a mechanic or labourer who needs the cash urgently for one reason or another.

He always have a story about the vehicle that sounds reasonable, given that the buyer is really only interested in the car, not the story. However, sometimes there will be an elaborate yarn designed to elicit an emotional reaction; for example, he’s selling for his dad’s widow, his kid is going back to the home country for a visit. This is a way they can “bridge” the registration – sell a vehicle still registered in someone else’s name.

The only way to reach him is by cell phone, he’s slippery about providing details and his availability. He will always be alone and usually has a pay-as-you-go phone. This enables him to switch SIM cards and use different numbers in ads for different cars. Here’s a tip: scan ads and see if any others read similarly to the one detailing the car you are interested in. They may be slick but one downfall is their creative writing ability! – They usually use the same language and terms in all of their ads.

The viewing location will always be a parking lot, most often at a mall or large grocery store parking lot, and occasionally at service stations. He will avoid going for a test drive, saying that he’s not allowed to let someone else drive the vehicle for insurance reasons or the vehicle doesn’t have enough gas.

If there is a test drive, the radio will be turned on up loud to drown out any mechanical problems. If the customer wants to take the vehicle for an inspection, the curber will accuse them of not trusting them!

Always in a hurry because another potential buyer is coming by shortly. Chats constantly to keep the buyer from having time to think clearly. Curbers are all good salespersons, they know how to deflect and direct conversations. They are engaging and portray themselves as being on the buyer’s side; “not like those bad dealers” in some disreputable area of town.

They want cash and will take the purchaser to their choice of autoplan agent.

I have to say if you get this far along in a transaction and you haven’t cottoned on, after reading this advice you might be destined to be a victim!

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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