Beware the coming flood of flood-damaged used cars

It might seem that Philadelphia consumers would be safe from unscrupulous car dealers trying to peddle vehicles damaged by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but don't count on it. Though the flood damage occurred mainly in Texas and Florida, there will be car dealers across the country trying to unloaded cars, pick-ups and SUVs that were flooded by the historic storms.

A recent news article offers advice on how to avoid auto dealer fraud and flooded cars.

Of course, there will be a few potential buyers interested in a flood-damaged car at a rock-bottom price. These buyers might enjoy solving electrical system problems or mechanical headaches, but the rest of us simply want a good vehicle at a fair price.

A spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute said, “Sometimes a buyer gets lucky and can enjoy the deal, but there are many things that can go wrong with engine components and mechanical parts.”

Experts estimate that together Harvey and Irma damaged about a half-million cars. Here are some signs that a used car is one of the many flooded cars now hitting the used-vehicle market:

  • A musty odor
  • Older car with brand-new carpet
  • Signs of caked-on mud under carpeting, in the trunk, under the hood or anywhere else
  • Headlights or taillights have water lines or condensation

Also, you're urged to check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see if the vehicle you are considering buying has been sold as salvage.

If you have been a victim of auto dealer fraud, you can speak with a consumer protection attorney experienced in fighting for your rights and interests.

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