OMVIC, the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, has been alerted by the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission (UMVPC), of a potential online scam specifically targeting Canadian car buyers.
UMVPC alleges Ambient Auto Center of Oklahoma City advertises on the Canadian sites of Autotrader, Wheels, E-bay, Craigslist, Kijiji and Autocatch: their ads offer high-end late model vehicles at prices that may be 'too good to be true'. UMVPC Investigator John Cobb states, "We have received numerous enquiries about this operation. Their website became active in October and yet they are not a licensed dealer. From what we have seen thus far, all their advertising is targeting Canadians."
A review of Ambient Auto Center's website finds claims of "hundreds of used exotic vehicles" for sale and "award-winning service", and they offer to "ship world wide" (sic). However, according to Cobb, "this dealer has no physical presence - the advertised address for this supposed extensive dealer operation is in fact an empty corn field next to a warehouse owned by the State of Oklahoma. We are making this information public to stop this scam from finding a victim".
OMVIC also strongly cautions Ontarians about buying vehicles remotely, whether privately, or from a dealer in another state or province. According to Terry O'Keefe, OMVIC Manager of Communications and Education, "Ontarians are only protected by OMVIC and Ontario's consumer protection laws when they buy from an Ontario-registered dealer. If consumers buy privately and something goes wrong, they are basically on their own. Further, if a consumer buys from a business in another province or state and then need help, they will have to utilize the regulatory body, if any, in the jurisdiction where they bought the vehicle".
When shopping for a car online, O'Keefe also warns consumers "not to get sucked in by an 'amazing deal'. If something is priced below market value, it should usually be seen as a warning, not an opportunity".
Oklahoma's UMVPC would like to hear from any consumers who have dealt with Ambient Auto Center. They can be reached at 405-521-3623.
Car shoppers in other parts of Canada should take note of this scam, too. In all cases, buyer beware!
[Source: OMVIC via CNW]