DMV cracks down on unlicensed car dealers in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

An undercover DMV investigator approaches a man who is selling a Toyota Camry at a parking lot on Shaw and Golden State in Northwest Fresno. Action News watched the sting from across the street.

Investigators say this time -- the sale was legitimate. Meaning the man selling the car was not doing so for a profit, much like an actual auto dealer would. But Tom Wilson says throughout the day at least 17 people were cited and six cars were impounded.

Wilson said, "In every case the people were selling vehicles that were not registered to them, and in fact, had been transferred multiple times on paper and not through the DMV."

Investigators were not able to contact the people selling these cars -- but issued warnings that highlight the points of illegal auto sales. Wilson says unlicensed dealers are often selling cars that are unsafe to drive.

"Basically what we're looking at is people selling vehicles, more often than not, that are salvaged and have salvaged titles," Wilson said. "They've been repaired cosmetically on the outside. But a lot of times inside still has problems, whether it was from flood damage or accidents. We've found cars missing airbags and those types of things."

Investigators say often times curbstoners -- or unlicensed sellers -- will disappear after selling a car that is unsafe or not legally theirs.

People caught curbstoning face fines and jail time. Action News was told -- anytime you buy a car from a personal seller -- it's best to do a search of the vehicle online before the purchase.

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