The Stake: Over Half-Million Flood-Damaged Cars For Sale After Hurricanes
The most significant scam today in the Auto industry is the sale of flood-damaged cars to unsuspecting drivers. “From Hurricane Harvey and Irma we are adding over 500,000 vehicles to the possible used car lots.”, says Lauren Fix, automotive expert, analyst and TV personality.
“Flood-damaged cars are something that most of us don’t think about. Every time a hurricane or flood impacts an area of the country automobiles are damaged. Sadly many are not destroyed by insurance companies. These vehicles are not safe! Many sat in fields and are filled with ecoli and mold from the sewage and water. What is unreal is how many different ways this affects us all”.
If you were fooled into buying one of these cars, Fix needs you to know that:
– There is no warranty from the manufacturer due to water damage.
– Many of these vehicles stop in the middle of the road unexpected this can cause other cars to collide with you.
– If you are a part of an accident airbags may not deploy. (read here to see how to spot a fake airbag).
– Seat belts don’t function properly.
– Anti-lock brakes don’t work.
– The cars are complete scrap. You are now a part of a potential accident.
– The health risk that you are creating for yourself and anyone that rides in this car.
How To Spot Hurricane Damaged Cars
We have good news. Watch the video below to see how you can spot hurricane damaged vehicles:
“These vehicles aren’t safe on the roads. Sadly there are over 650,000 cars that were damaged. Do these cars really get into the marketplace? Oh yes, they do!”, says Fix.
“One insurance company recently settled a $40 million lawsuit when it was disclosed that the insurer had dumped almost 30,000 totaled cars at auction without bothering to have them retitled as salvage vehicles.”
“Many of the vehicles will be shredded into little metallic pieces. However, others will end in auctions or sent to your state. This is called washing titles. Not all states print on the title what happened to that auto.If in doubt – walk away from the deal!”, says Fix.
Buying Flooded Cars: How To Avoid
Former and present competitive racer, Lauren Fix suggest you should always buy from reputable dealers. “You can find great vehicles buying from private sellers but beware of curbstoners – people who sell numerous cars claiming to be private sellers and therefore avoid basic government oversight and no Lemon Law coverage.”
“Avoid auctions, unless you are experienced with them. Check to make sure the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) match on the door sticker and the dashboard tag. Carefully inspect the inside of the car looking for watermarks on door panels, radiators, wheel wells and seat cushions.”
Another good thing to check is for rust in unusual places like door hinges, hood springs, under dash brackets and trunk latches.
“Look for water and moisture inside exterior lighting. Beware of cars with new or mismatched upholstery. If the car has is a paper air filter, check it – if it has water stains the car has likely been flooded.”“Ask the seller if the vehicle has had flood damage. It sounds simple, but answers such as not to the best of my knowledge or the previous owner didn’t tell me of any flood damage are red flags.”
“Get the answer in writing with the bill of sale. Ask to see the title – if it is not stamped flood or salvage, get the car’s history through online sources to find out if this vehicle has come from a recently or previously flooded area of the country.”
“Only 10-15% of the cars are reported to these agencies, so have a certified ASE technician inspect the vehicle before you make an offer.”
You can see more on Lauren Fix’s tips on her official website.
Salvage Cars For Sale Scam: How To Report
Make your friends and family aware of the Flood-Damaged Cars For Sale Scam by sharing it. You can also officially report the questionable dealerships and sellers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
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