RestorationLocal.com Warns Of Water Damage In The Used Car Market

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Water damage provider explains the practice of selling vehicles with water damage to unsuspecting buyers in the used car market.

Car Water Damage

It is not illegal to buy or sell a car that has water damage, but it is illegal to sell such a vehicle without disclosing this information to the prospective buyer.

RestorationLocal.com, one of the leading water damage restoration providers in the country, is warning consumers to be aware of a new water damage scam: in the wake of record flooding and severe weather across much of the country in 2011, 2012 may see thousands of cars with serious water damage popping up on used vehicle lots across the mid and southwest.

According to Edmunds.com, as a result of the flooding, many vehicles suffered severe water damage and were issued salvage titles. To minimize the possible financial loss, some used car dealers have been cleaning up these damaged vehicles and selling them, without disclosing their questionable past.

The usual target of these vehicle scams are the “buy here, pay here” lots which cater to folks with credit issues, people who are less likely to check into the background of a given vehicle and may end up owning the car for some time before the problems associated with the past water or flood damage become apparent.

In theory, salvage titles should prevent these cars from being sold to private individuals, however unscrupulous dealers engage in a practice known as “title washing”, where the vehicle is cleaned up and then re-titled in another state, resulting in a clean title and effectively hiding any details of previous damage.

It is not illegal to buy or sell a car that has water damage, but it is illegal to sell such a vehicle without disclosing this information to the prospective buyer.

RestorationLocal.com, the leading water damage repair company in the US offers consumer tips for identifying a flood damaged vehicle:

  • Mildew, debris and silt in places where it wouldn’t normally be found, such as under the carpeting in the trunk, or around the engine compartment
  • Rust on screws and other metal parts
  • Water stains or faded upholstery; discoloration of seatbelts and door panels
  • Dampness in the floor and carpeting; moisture on the inside of the instrument panel
  • A moldy odor or an intense smell of Lysol or deodorizer; this is a tactic frequently used by dealers to cover up an odor problem

Customers can also run a CarFax report using the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in order to develop a better picture of the car’s history.

Consumers who believe they have been the target of dealers illegally selling damaged vehicles should contact their local law enforcement agency.

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Matt Staton
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