MEMPHIS, TN (AP) - Curbstoners sell used cars from their homes. The vehicles, ostensibly marked for sale and with out-of-state tags or drive-out tags, litter their driveways or curbs. Their properties often look like used car lots.
That's because they are.
Those cars don't really belong to the curbstoner. Under the disguise of private sellers, curbstoners are actually selling cars registered to rinky-dink, out-of-state dealers who are trying to dump their inventory with sketchy title histories on consumers in states where the dealer is not licensed to sell vehicles.
"Curbstoners often deal with potentially dangerous vehicles that a licensed, reputable dealer won't touch," said Chris Basso, director of communications for the used car listings/vehicle history reports company, Carfax. "Things that can cost people a lot of money buying these cars, but also could be dangerous problems that put their families at risk."
I'm exposing a curbstoner out of Cordova, Tennessee, and the dealer he's working for tonight on WMC Action News 5 at 10. In the meantime, here's how Carfax and Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South said you can spot a curbstoner in your neighborhood:
- Multiple auto listings, even multiple addresses, in the paper or online but ALWAYS THE SAME PHONE NUMBER
- Multiple vehicles for sale at same location, whether it be a house, apartment or parking lot
- Out-of-state tags on every vehicle for sale -- a sign of a curbstoner who may be fronting vehicles for a dealer not licensed to operate in your state
- Before you buy a used car from a private seller or dealer, always ask for a Carfax vehicle history report or order one. Insist that an ASE-certified mechanic of your choice inspect the car before closing any deal.