From our used vehicle buying tips page
5) Just because the vehicle is listed for sale by owner doesn’t mean the registered owner is actually selling the vehicle. There’s a good chance it isn’t the owner selling the vehicle rather “Curbers” or often referred to a Curbstoner or Curbstoning. Some people flip cars here in there but more so, a “Curber” is someone other than a registered owner or licensed dealer selling the car. This is highly illegal and those who get caught face fines from the DMV from $2500-$5000 per vehicle.
Why should you care?
a) For starters, they’re not a dealer there is absolutely no accountability if and when you have issues registering your new vehicle.
b) They likely know nothing about the vehicle they are selling and I guarantee they probably don’t care. These may be the most impersonal people you will deal with, they will likely tell you what you want to hear or hopefully they are honest and they will let you know when they don’t know about the history. It’s usually all about money with these sellers and most have no conscience. There are plenty who buy cheap junk and resell quickly/cheaply. Ask yourself this: If the vehicle caught your attention at their asking price, why were they able to buy it so much cheaper to turn for a profit?
c) Most importantly they are already lying to you claiming to be the owner… What else are they hiding? Where did the get the car from and why was it sold? Maintenance or service history?
Kerry Tomlinson of KATU Problem Solvers here in Portland does a great job of reporting these stories
1st story of a guy selling a odometer rollback truck as a “Curber” http://www.katu.com/home/video/108354209.html
2nd story involving the same guy now a licensed dealer not following the DMV rules that govern all dealers and still using the trickery you’ll read below. http://www.katu.com/home/video/117463379.html
So how do you catch them? Again back to step one, use Google and also search Craigslist for the phone number. If you see multiple vehicles for the same phone number of a seller who is claiming to be an owner? Guess what….You’ve found a Curber. I can guarantee this is the case for 1 or more vehicles you’ve already been looking at, Yes it’s that common! Another dead give away is when they attempt to fool you by listing their phone number in a photo rather than the ad text (so Craigslist and search engines can’t index it) or using different formats with spaces such as 5 0 3 – 7 8 9 – 0 1 6 8; replacing the zeros with O’s; spelling out numbers (5O3)-7 eight 9 O16eight, or a combo of all the above. If someone goes through the hassles of doing this they are 99.7% positive not the registered owner of the vehicle…
KATU News also did two stories on him – http://www.katu.com/news/problemsolver/95882224.html
Pay attention out there.