Warning for Car Buyers: Re-vinned Vehicles in Ontario

Feb 6, 2024
Categories: Driving · Security
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Automobile theft in Ontario continues to be a significant issue, affecting thousands of vehicle owners. The Staebler Blog has shared many articles on this topic, including:

Meanwhile there is a new auto theft trend emerging, where stolen vehicles are not always being shipped overseas. Authorities are seeing more vehicles remain in the country, being re-vinned, meaning that the vehicle is sold with a new VIN or a VIN from another vehicle.

What is a VIN?

A vehicle’s VIN is an alphanumeric identifier that stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It is unique to each vehicle and can help when recovering lost or stolen vehicles. It is typically located on the driver’s side with an engraving beneath the windshield.

Thieves are changing the stolen vehicle’s VIN and replacing it with a different one. This leaves the car buyer vulnerable, as law enforcement will seize the stolen vehicle and potentially charge the buyer with being in possession of stolen property.

Insurance companies are also warning that car insurance claims can be denied, leaving the owner responsible for all costs associated with an accident or theft.

What can vehicle buyers do to protect themselves when buying a vehicle?

Our insurance company partner, Aviva Insurance, is sharing the following considerations to help protect you when purchasing your next vehicle.

1. Who’s selling the vehicle?
• Always know who you’re buying from: Ask for their name, address, phone number, and identification from the person selling
• A legitimate dealership and salesperson will be licensed with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council. You can check OMVIC to confirm their registration and review any offences

2. Order a CARFAX report
• Most dealerships will provide this report during the buying process. A CARFAX report lists the vehicle’s history and details of any accidents it’s been involved in

3. Obtain a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) from the Ministry of Transportation. This package contains important information, such as:
• Vehicle details (year, make, model, colour, body type, cylinders, and power)
• Vehicle registration history (current and past owners)
• Vehicle lien information to ensure there are no active liens
• Retail Sales Tax (RST) information – the average wholesale cost of the vehicle
• Bill of sale information

4. Have a trusted mechanic inspect and validate the vehicle

5. Take time and consider the following before buying:
• Is the vehicle’s asking price fair market value or is it too good to be true?
• Is the seller asking for a cash only transaction and/or refusing to provide a bill of sale?
• If buying from a private seller, agree to meet them in a public and secure location. Locally, the Waterloo Region Police have three Buy and Sell Exchange Zones set up at their police stations: Buy and Sell Exchange Zones – Waterloo Regional Police Service (wrps.on.ca)

Whether you’re purchasing a vehicle for the first time or have been through dozens of transactions, it’s important to take the time to ensure the legitimacy of this important purchase. Be wary of rushed or time-limited offers and be sure to obtain additional information to confirm the VIN and the vehicle’s history.

When you’re ready, you can get a free car insurance quote on the vehicle you have in mind. Contact one of our Personal Solutions Brokers and they’ll be happy to ensure you’re properly protected.

. . .

Staebler Insurance is a general insurance broker specializing in car insurance, home insurance, small business, and commercial insurance. Staebler brokers proudly serve Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, Listowel, Fergus, Elora, Wellington County, Perth County, Waterloo Region and southern Ontario. Get a Quote to get started today.

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