‘Go Straight to Jail’: Appeal Court in MVDA CaseCase

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The Ontario Court of Justice has upheld a jail sentence for Andre Nicholas Campbell, 40, of Mississauga. He had been convicted for acting as a motor vehicle dealer without benefit of registration — called “curbsiding” — contrary to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 1990.

Campbell was sentenced in January 2013, to 32 days, to be served intermittently. He appealed the conviction and sentence to the Ontario Court of Justice. In upholding the conviction and sentence, Justice S.R. Shamai found that Campbell had shown a lengthy pattern of misrepresentation.

Justice Shamai held that the 32-day jail sentence originally ordered by the Provincial Offences Court was lenient, and the justification for serving it intermittently was not founded. She ordered Campbell into custody immediately, with no provision for serving his sentence on weekends.

The charges against Campbell date back to 2006. Investigators found he routinely sold vehicles while posing as a private individual selling a personal vehicle. Evidence presented at sentencing showed Campbell had been convicted twice previously for curbsiding, in 2001 and 2004. The fines imposed for those convictions were not paid, an aggravating factor considered by the court in passing sentence.

One buyer was a driver’s education instructor who told Campbell the vehicle would be used by his students, court heard.

Operating Without a Licence

Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers who commonly pose as private sellers, though some may operate out of automotive-related businesses such as gas stations, repair shops or rental companies. Curbsiders commonly misrepresent themselves, and misrepresent the vehicles they sell, failing to disclose accident damage, rebuilt write-offs, odometer readings and even stolen vehicles.

While curbsiders historically targeted buyers of inexpensive economy vehicles, consumers are warned that there has been a recent shift towards the sale of newer mid-to-high priced vehicles.

OMVIC administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. It regulates dealers and salespersons, and is responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.

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