What is a curbsider?

The term curbsider is well known to those in the automotive industry and government, but what does it mean to the consumer? Curbsiders present a great risk of harm to consumers

They will attempt to sell re-built insurance write-offs, odometer-tampered vehicles, cars with liens on them, and vehicles which have undergone cosmetic repairs.

A curbsider is an individual selling vehicles to the public for the primary purpose of making a profit, but poses as if he or she is selling their own personal vehicle.

The curbsider may try to convince you that they don’t care about the money, which is why the car is such priced for a quick sale. There is a one in four chance of dealing with a curbsider.

Warren Barnard, UCDA's Director of Legal Services, answers the question: "What is a curbsider?"

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Identifying curbsiders

How to spot a curbsider

Private vehicle sales offer no guarantees. The buyer often has no recourse if the vehicle shows signs of significant problems, even days later.

Curbsiders are usually advertising the "family car" for sale, using a story such as:

“I’m moving out of the country.”

We believe that skill and hard work deserve generous compensation.

“I’m getting a company car.”

We'll provide everything you need to do what you do.

“Which one?”

When you respond to an ad, say “I’m calling about the car you advertised.” Curbers will often say “Which one?”…Stop…You’ve got a curber.

“It belonged to my Aunt, but she passed away."

Whether it's movie nights, Friday beers, or a company trip to Thailand, we love bonding with our team.

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Protection from curbsiders

What you can do to protect yourself from curbsiders

When buying privately, be sure the seller gives you the official Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP).

Seller’s name

Be sure the seller’s name shows as the owner on the UVIP. Look at the list of prior owners, for the names of car rental companies, autobody shops or insurance companies, as a warning.

UCDA dealers

Only buy used vehicles from a local UCDA dealer.

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Have a question?

Call us and we'll be happy to help.

1-800-268-2598 Monday - Friday 9AM - 5PM Eastern Time

Frequently asked question

A curbsider is someone who poses as a private seller pretending to sell their own personal vehicle. In reality they are illegally in the business of selling vehicles. If you buy from a curbsider you have no protection.
Curbsiders evade the legal responsibility that dealers have to disclose all important facts about a vehicle and to stand behind what they sell. Curbers often sell vehicles with rolled back odometers, accident damage, insurance write offs and even stolen vehicles. They will typically try to hide any problems and cover up the vehicles history.
If responding to a private ad, tell the seller you're interested in the vehicle he or she has for sale. If the seller asks which one there's a good chance you're dealing with a curbsider. Don't buy a car from someone at a donut shop or in a parking lot. Deal with the seller at their home and don't buy a vehicle if it is not registered in their name. The best way to avoid curb ciders is to purchase from a UCDA member.
Studies have consistently shown that close to 25% of private ads are really, placed by curbsiders. If responding to a private ad tell the seller you're interested in the vehicle he or she has for sale, if the seller asks which one, you're probably dealing with a curbside.
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