What is Curbstoning?

Posted Monday, Oct 23, 2023

A Closer Look at the Dangers of Curbstoning and Why Buying from a Licensed Dealer is Safer


Curbstoning – A practice that car buyers should be wary of. In this blog post, we'll delve into what curbstoning is, the risks associated with it, how to steer clear of this issue, and why purchasing from a licensed dealer is a much safer option.


What is Curbstoning?

Curbstoning refers to the practice of selling vehicles without a dealer's license. These sellers operate "on the curb," in parking lots, or through online platforms posing as private sellers to avoid regulations. They may present themselves as individuals selling a personal vehicle, but they are really engaging in unlicensed auto sales for quick profit.


The Dangers of Buying from Curbstoners:

  1. Limited Legal Protection: When you buy from a curbstoner, you have limited legal protection compared to purchasing from a licensed dealer. If problems with the vehicle arise after the sale, you may have little recourse.
  2. Hidden Issues: Curbstoners are known to sell vehicles with hidden problems. They often misrepresent the condition of the car or tamper with the odometer, concealing its actual mileage.
  3. Unclear Vehicle History: Many curbstoned cars lack a comprehensive vehicle history, making it challenging to determine if they've been in accidents, had major repairs, or been involved in other issues.
  4. No Warranty: Curbstoned vehicles typically do not come with a warranty. Licensed dealers often offer limited warranties, giving buyers peace of mind.


How to Avoid Curbstoning:

  1. Ask for Identification: Request the seller's identification and confirm that it matches the name on the vehicle title. A private seller's information should align with the vehicle's owner.
  2. Review the Title: Check the vehicle's title to make sure it is transferrable (only a dealer can reassign a title). Also check for any signs of suspicious activity, such as frequent flipping, multiple owner changes in a short period, and any title brands such as salvage, rebuilt, flood, etc.
  3. Demand Documentation: Ask for maintenance records, service history, and any available vehicle history reports. A private seller should be able to provide this information. It is common for a dealer to no longer have these records, as vehicles get detailed and reconditioned which may result in any loose papers being thrown away and often change hands from dealer to dealer, but a private owner should normally keep their own vehicle records handy.
  4. Use Trusted Sources: Consider buying from reputable dealers or well-known online platforms. Licensed dealers are regulated and typically offer safer transactions.


Why Buy from a Licensed Dealer:

  1. Legal Protections: Licensed dealers are subject to laws and regulations that protect consumers. They must adhere to ethical standards and provide transparent transactions.
  2. Warranty Options: Licensed dealers often offer warranties or certified pre-owned programs, giving you added protection and peace of mind.
  3. Vehicle History: Licensed dealers typically provide comprehensive vehicle history reports and may disclose known issues or repairs.
  4. Reputation: Licensed dealers depend on their reputation. They have a vested interest in delivering quality vehicles and ensuring customer satisfaction.


Curbstoning is a risky practice that could lead to costly mistakes for car buyers. To safeguard yourself from hidden issues, limited legal protection, and other pitfalls, it's crucial to buy from licensed dealers or trusted sources. The peace of mind, legal protections, and transparency that come with licensed dealers make them the safer choice when making a significant purchase like a vehicle. Don't let the allure of a seemingly good deal blind you to the potential risks of curbstoning.




Northeast Auto Exchange Plaistow NH

NEAX is a used car dealer in Plaistow NH, located on the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, serving all of New England and further. If you are in the market for a used vehicle, or need help financing a car, feel free to reach out to us for information! We are always happy to help anybody that is in the car buying journey and needs guidance or help getting in the right direction. The car buying process should be fun and we want to help you make sure that it is.