Be proactive, educate the public, help GIADA stomp out Curbstoning!
What is a curbstoner?
Curbstoning is the sale of used vehicles by unlicensed dealers who pretend to be private parties in order to evade regulation. Their customers often get saddled with damaged, dangerous, or uninsurable vehicles – by which time the curbstoner is long gone with their cash. Curbstoning is illegal in many states, yet defrauds thousands of unwary consumers every year.
Curbstoners are scam artists. State laws prohibit private citizens from selling multiple cars or vehicles other than those titled to them. Curbstoning involves individuals who ignore these laws meant to protect consumers from unlicensed, unscrupulous sellers. Frequently, they sell vehicles reputable dealers won’t touch, those with hidden problems in their past, problems that can affect both the safety and the value of these vehicles.
Sometimes the curbstoning issue can be a very difficult problem to deal with and each case stands on its own. Sometimes it’s an easy fix, easier than you think. Education and diplomacy play a major part of achieving success when communicating with those involved. However, what may have worked in one case may not work in the next one. So, having multiple ways to pursue a remedy makes sense. To print out the curbstoning education brochure Click here
Georgia House Bill 144, our anti-curbstoning bill, passed and went into law July 1st, 2007. Georgia Code Section O.C.G.A. §40-2-39.1 This was a huge milestone and accomplishment for GIADA and every licensed car dealer in Georgia has benefited as a result of this. These new curbstoning statutes provide the guidelines and the teeth needed to fight curbstoning. We’ve been engaged for over three years in aggressive, effective and successful education of those charged to enforce the law, our respected law enforcement officers. Ultimately, the actions by the law enforcement community will determine the level of success and ultimate outcome of our quest to defeat curbstoning.
This statute falls under the jurisdiction and enforcement of title 40 which is motor vehicle and traffic law. That means that any city, county or state law enforcement officer is authorized to enforce the anti-curbstoning laws. Law enforcement officers can write tickets to the individual vehicle owner, the property owner and/or even the lessee of the property. The fines and penalties range from $100 to $1000 for each violation, and/or up to 12 months in jail.
Here are a couple things to consider.
- Police departments are not concerned about the fact that you, the dealer collect and remit sales tax on each sale. Nor do they care that you have to maintain business insurance, bond, signage and play by all the rules.
- The new curbstoning law empowers Police Officers to enforce the law by writing tickets and having having vehicles towed. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are compelled to do so. If you go into your Police Department and demand that they do their job and enforce the curbstoning laws, this will probably not work. You DO NOT want to be labeled as a trouble maker in your community, especially if you’re in a smaller town. Treat your law enforcement personnel with respect because you need these guys to help fight curbstoning, so tread water carefully. Make sense?
By visiting many police departments around the state, many underline similarities exist with each police department. If you want to get their attention, talk about what they care about. They are concerned with “Public Safety” and “Quality of Life” in their communities. Be aware that “Public Safety” is jeopardized in the environment where curbstoning takes place.
In almost every community vacant lots or parking lots of private businesses are loaded up with cars for sale, especially on the weekends. These are prime areas for criminal activity. Drug dealers, money launderers and even a terrorist would rather buy a used car from an individual than buying one from a legitimate auto dealer These are also prime locations where stereos and wheels are stolen.
The best way to deal with curbstoning when it’s being done on commercial property is to talk to the property owner. If it’s a business, then deal with the business owner or manager. Typically if it’s a business chain like a parts store, talk to the store manager. If you do not get results, then you may need to contact their corporate office. Should you need some help with that, contact the GIADA office and we will be glad to help draft a letter that can be from us. Understand that in some cases you may want to remain anonymous.
Digital pictures are very good especially when you can capture the seller’s phone number. Pictures don’t lie.
If you know that there’s a dealer involved in curbstoning, you need to call the GIADA office. This seems to be occurring more with the newer dealers who cannot afford a reasonable place of business with a display area. It is very serious when dealers are found curbstoning. It undermines everything GIADA has done to get anti-curbstoning laws implemented. If you know of a dealer involved in curbstoning vehicles please give GIADA a call or email. Be sure to get pictures, addresses and any other information that can be used. GIADA will contact you and take it from there.