Edmonton, Alberta – Consumers in Alberta who attempt to sell a personal vehicle using free classified advertisements are being warned about a potential scam from third-party companies who promise to find buyers for a fee.

Some private sellers are reporting that when they place a free classified advertisement for their vehicles, a company responds, saying it knows buyers interested in the vehicle type. The company promises to match these buyers with the seller for a fee, which has been reported as ranging from $400 to $500. The companies allegedly offer a partial refund of the fee to the seller if the vehicle does not sell.

“Legitimate automotive agent/broker businesses must have a licence to operate in Alberta,” said Bob Hamilton, executive director of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC). “It appears these companies guarantee they have buyers for your vehicle. That’s just not realistic.”

It is an offence under the Fair Trading Act for a business to mislead or deceive consumers, and penalties include a maximum fine of $100,000 and up to two years in jail.

Consumers can find out if an automotive agent/broker is licensed by visiting AMVIC. To register a complaint about an unlicensed automotive business or deceptive business practices by a licensed business, call AMVIC at 1-877-279-8200.

Connect with Autos.ca