People like some weird stuff — really weird according to Reddit’s list of the top 200 “something-you-like-but-people-think-is-weird” comments. For example: cleaning cats’ ears; cereal without milk — poured dry into the mouth from a coffee cup; having blood drawn; the taste of glue on envelopes and stamps; and, speedcubing (don’t worry — it’s exactly what it sounds like).
Yup, we can be a strange species and if we’re totally honest, each of us has some weirdness that we probably don’t share widely. Many of these idiosyncrasies are harmless, some are even endearing — but not all.
And if you could, wouldn’t you want to know if that seemingly almost perfect, successful, educated, funny, good looking person whose profile you found online answered the “something-you-like” question with “pick my skin” — yup, that’s from Reddit’s list too along with “drink pickle juice” and “be alone”. Swiping right probably won’t provide that level of detail, or insight into a potential friend/lover/ partner’s past.
But what if that relationship you’re considering isn’t with a person, but a car? Would you want to know its history — its quirks or potentially annoying habits? Of course you would! You’d want to know if that rugged SUV had a penchant for consuming oil or that appealing little convertible was a little bent and had a shady past. But you don’t have to stalk the seller’s social media or hire a PI to ensure that purchase doesn’t break your heart (or your bank) — you just have to get educated, especially if you’re going to buy a vehicle from a private seller.
KNOW THE RISKS
“Buying a car privately comes with considerable risk,” explains Terry O’Keefe, Director of Communications and Education for OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator. “Unlike registered dealers, private sellers are not regulated by OMVIC and don’t have to abide by Ontario’s mandatory disclosure laws that require the purchaser be made aware of a vehicle’s past-use, history and condition.” Worse, some “private sellers” are actually curbsiders — illegal, unlicensed dealers posing as private sellers. Curbsiders typically sell vehicles that are previous write-offs with undisclosed accident repairs, or are odometer-tampered. Research conducted by the regulator shows that curbsiders actually place 25 percent of the “private” classified car ads in popular online marketplaces.
Purchasing from a registered dealer isn’t a guarantee there won’t be any problems; however, because of the protections provided by OMVIC — access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers’ Compensation Fund and Ontario’s consumer protection laws — it is definitely the safest way to buy a vehicle. If a consumer forgoes the protections and decides to buy privately, OMVIC recommends the following tips:
- Ask questions: how long was the vehicle owned? Are there maintenance records? Why are they selling?
- Ask the seller for ID and compare it to vehicle’s ownership: they must match
- Take a thorough test drive — including at highway speeds
- Purchase and review a vehicle history report (Carfax Canada) to check for any accident history
- Carefully review the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) — the seller must provide it
• Ensure there are no liens on the vehicle (this information can be found on the UVIP or Carfax Canada report)
• Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic
• Request a receipt that includes the seller’s information and actual price paid
Heeding this advice will help take some of the weirdness out of the buying process and help you discern whether the car that has caught your eye is seriously flawed or if it just has some endearing quirks and harmless idiosyncrasies that you can live with.
To learn more about your car buying rights, visit OMVIC.ca.