What Is Curbstoning

Curbstoning is illegal in most cities. What’s more, curbstoners put consumers at risk, release unsafe vehicles onto the streets, hurt local businesses, and deny local governments the fees and tax revenue they need to provide essential public services. 


For Shoppers


The term “curbstoning” comes from the practice of parking automotive “inventory” along the curb, although many curbstoners also use vacant lots and unmonitored parking lots as temporary places of business. Curbstoners are car “flippers” – people who regularly buy cheap cars, fix them up to look decent, and sell them for a quick profit. They often pose as the car’s owner, but they’re not – so they can dodge limits on the number of vehicles an individual can sell before having to register as a dealer. 

Curbstoned vehicles may be lemons, salvaged, or even cobbled together from parts from the wrecking yard. They may have been written off as total losses by insurance companies due to collision, flood, or other damage.

Once you buy a curbstoned vehicle, you have nowhere to turn if the car develops problems. If the problems are serious enough, the car may fail inspection or be denied insurance coverage. And, the law requires you to disclose the problems when you sell the car. 

According to ABC News, experts estimate that 80% of the used cars in classified ads are not being advertised by individual owners. And, some state licensing officials say that as many as one in five cars sold outside a commercial automotive dealership are curbstoned.

It is up to you, as a buyer, to make an informed purchase. 


For Dealers

Curbstoning is the unlicensed commercial sale of vehicles for profit. And, sadly, research shows that as many as one in five vehicles sold outside of dealerships are not legal private party car sales, but are in fact illegal sales of curbstoned vehicles. 

Take 20% of your total volume last year. That's the amount of business you lost to curbstoners. Across the industry, it adds up to millions of transactions, and billions of dollars. That's a tremendous financial hit, and it's just the beginning. Those billions of dollars are generated outside the legal system, so taxes are usually unpaid - putting the burden for supporting your local services squarely on you and your fellow businesspeople. And, curbstoners bring the whole used car industry into disrepute through the sale of unsafe, cobbled-together, salvaged wrecks.

Consumers need to be informed about their choice of seller, and that's part of what this website is about. But licensed used car dealers also need to act to help fight curbstoning.

On this website, there are links to municipal authorities, sample letters to parking lot property owners, and even a printable handout you can use to educate your customers. We hope you'll join us in reducing this fraud.