City targets rogue car dealers in 'curbstoning' sting

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The I-Team went along for the ride as city investigators cited people who may illegally be selling cars. (WLS)

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The I-Team went along for the ride as city investigators cited people who may illegally be selling cars.

"Curbstoning" is a term used to describe unlicensed car dealers. Many times the cars they sell can wind up being lemons. In an update to Monday night's report, the I-Team shows how curbstoners and property owners who help them can face violations.

ABC7's Jason Knowles: "Do you have anything to say about the possible citation?"

"You cannot do cannot do that," said a man working at a Mobil gas station in the Little Village neighborhood. He kicked the I-Team out of his store as we followed along with city investigators.

"They do not have the proper license with the state or with the City of Chicago," said Miguel Campos, revenue investigator.

The city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department handed out violations which they say illegally had two cars for sale on its business property.

Knowles: "So it's your car or it's your friend's car?"
Man: "No, no it's my car... my friend pick up from me?"

The city said he's not he business owner. Over the phone, the owner said he had no comment about the two citations.

The BACP and the Secretary of State's office call it curbstoning. Authorities say cars illegally being sold at gas stations, restaurants and parking lots many times wind up being clunkers, have "rolled back" odometers or be stolen.

And there were two cars for sale in the La Roqueta restaurant, which now faces two citations.

KNOWLES: "Do you have the license to have the cars here?
MAN: "Those are not comment."
KNOWLES: "Whose cars are they?"
MAN: "No comment."
KNOWLES: "Did you know you need a license to have the cars there?"
MAN: "No comment."

And then the motherload: investigators say at least a dozen or more vehicles here on this warehouse lot near 48th and California are illegally being sold.

KNOWLES: "But there's no question that this is not a licensed dealership?"

"Yeah this is not a licensed dealership," Campos said.

The BACP said it issued cease and desist orders to the warehouse property owners for not having the proper licenses to sell cars. A man there said he is just a tenant.

"I am not the owner. I am not selling any cars," he said.

Experts say you can spot potential curbstoners by searching phone numbers from Craigslist ads. You can see if their number comes back to a high number of vehicles.

In the state of Illinois, unlicensed private sellers can't sell more than four cars a year.

City investigators said they will also try to find all of the vehicle owners. They, too, may face violations. Court dates for those property owners are scheduled for mid-June.

The owners of that warehouse never responded to our calls.

Related Topics:
automotiveI-TeamconsumercarChicago - Downtown
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