Consumers Warned Of Hurricane-Damaged Used Cars For Sale

Consumers Warned Of Hurricane-Damaged Used Cars For Sale


A WARNING FOR CONSUMERS. IN THE AFTERMATH OF DISASTER, THE DEVASTATION FROM HURRICANE IRMA AND HURRICANE HARVEY IS THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY. BUT AS RYAN KATZ SHOWS US, ANYONE IN THE MARKET FOR A USED CAR EVEN IN NEW ENGLAND COULD FALL VICTIM TO THESE STORMS. Reporter: DURING THE POUNDING RAINS OF HURRICANE HARVEY, COUNTLESS CARS SAT SUBMERGED IN WATER. AND WHEN IRMA HIT, MORE FLOODED VEHICLES. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CARS HAVE BEEN FLOODED. HALF OF THEM ARE GOING TO END UP AS USED CARS SOMEWHERE ACROSS THE COUNTRY. Reporter: ACCORDING TO JEAN PAUL OF AAA NEW ENGLAND, MANY OF THOSE VEHICLES WILL BE TOTALED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES. SOME ARE SOLD FOR PARTS AND OTHERS ARE ISSUED WITH SALVAGE TITLES. THE CAR IS REGISTERED AS A REPAIRABLE CAR. Reporter: WHEN MIRANDA BUT HER 2008 DODGE CALIBER, SHE QUICKLY REALIZED THAT A SALVAGE TITLE CAN MEAN TROUBLE. THE AIRBAGS WOULDN’T WORK AT ALL SO I WOULD PROBABLY BE DEAD IN AN ACCIDENT. Reporter: BUT SOMETIMES THE TITLE DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY. SOME REALLY UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE WILL SEND THE CARS TO STATES WHERE THE TITLE GETS REBRANDED AS A CLEAN TITLE, SO IT LEAVES FLORIDA OR TEXAS, WITH A SALVAGE TITLE COMMANDS UP IN ANOTHER STATE WHERE IT GETS REBRANDED WITH A CLEAR TITLE. Reporter: OTHERS WON’T REPORT THE FLOOD DAMAGE TO THEIR INSURANCE COMPANIES AND SAID CLEAN UP THE CAR AND SELL IT. BUT ACCORDING TO AAA, THERE ARE WAYS TO SPOT A FLOOD DAMAGED CAR. PULL UP THE MATS, GET AROUND THE MATS, FEEL UNDER THE SEATS, AND SEE IF THERE IS ANYTHING UNDER THERE. MUD, SAND, DIRT, IF IT’S MEL’S TO CLEAN LIKE SOMEONE — IF IT SMELLS TO CLEAN OR LIKE MILDEW, IT’S A PROBLEM. Reporter: USE A FLASHLIGHT TO LOOK THROUGH THE ENGINE FROM MUD AND DIRT AND LOOK UNDER THE SPARE TIRE IN THE TRUNK. SOMETIMES PEOPLE CLEAN THE TRUNK BUT THEY DON’T TAKE THE SPARE TIRE OUT. Reporter: EDMONDS SUGGESTS STICKING WITH A REPUTABLE DEALER BUT IF YOU CONSIDER BUYING FROM A PRIVATE SELLER, ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. SOMETIMES, IF THE PERSON DOESN’T KNOW A LOT ABOUT THE CAR, THEY WILL MAYBE BE TRYING TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK. Reporter: AAA AND EDMONDS THEY HAVE MECHANIC INSPECT THE CAR JUST IN CASE THEY CATCH