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Report: #1480524

Complaint Review: Flood damaged motor vehicles - unscrupulous auto dealers selling new and used flooded Salvaged motor vehicles nationwide. - Tempe Arizona

  • Submitted:
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  • Reported By: Ripoff Report Investigates — Tempe Arizona United States
  • Flood damaged motor vehicles - unscrupulous auto dealers selling new and used flooded Salvaged motor vehicles nationwide. 500 South Mill Ave. Tempe, Arizona United States

Flood damaged motor vehicles - unscrupulous auto dealers selling new and used flooded Salvaged motor vehicles nationwide. Helpful Tips How to identify flood damaged cars RV’s Motor Cycles boats: Ripoff Report investigates Tempe Arizona

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Before purchasing, call your insurance agent, ask for an insurance quote, provide the vin #, they can identify if the motor vehicle was in a flood and was deemed totaled in the past.

Before buying a used car, motorcycle, boat or RV, its best to first call your Insurance Agent and ask for a quote to insure the vehicle you are thinking of buying. The insurance agent will take the VIN number of that vehicle and check the vehicles full history, they will know immediately if the vehicle had a salvaged title at one time, or if it was in a flood. Be aware that Car FAX type services will NOT always have that information. Then, to be sure, only buy that used car, boat, truck or RV after it has been thoroughly checked out by a professional mechanic... no matter how nice that sales person is at the dealership. Good chance the sales person has no idea about the vehicle history.  Hundreds of thousands of water soaked cars, motorcycles, boats and RV’s are flooding new and used dealerships nationwide always after a major flood. Junk Yards are also buying up these parts that will never work right because they have been submerged in water.  



”Flood damaged vehicles are flooding car lots nationwide.. what you need to know. Best off not buying a used car unless you really get it checked out, no matter how nice that sales person is at the car dealership..”


B
efore you ever buy a used car, boat, truck, RV or any kind of vehicle, if you are really interested in the vehicle, get the vin # and call your insurance company to get a quote on the cost of the insurance. The insurance agent should automatically come back and let you know if the car was ever totaled, in a flood, if it was salvaged, and/or re-titled from another state.  If they don’t offer this information, ask them! All these free or paid services that supposedly inform you whether or not the car has been in an accident, they never know the full story. Insurance companies work together to protect each other. Their vehicle history data base of sales history, geographic location of ownership, state registration as well as inspection & smog tests is the best.  To avoid irritating your insurance agent, first ask for a quote to insure the vehicle. Also, California has the best laws to protect their consumers under their “Lemon Law”. If a vehicle has the same mechanical problem 3 times, they have to take back the vehicle and the car cannot be sold in California.  So, dealers move those cars to other states to be sold. Most car history reports will not pick up that information, but your insurance company will know. This comes from personal experience after helping others purchase vehicles.   ED Magedson / Founder Ripoff Report  

This deceptive practice of repairing these flooded cars is a big business and a billion dollar fraudulent business. Even junk yards across America are buying these parts and selling them to unsuspecting consumers.  Any vehicle that is in a flood will never work properly again.

HAVE YOUR OWN MECHANIC CONDUCT AN INSPECTION

Before buying any used car, motorcycle, boat or RV, whether from a private party or from a dealer, Ripoff Report recommends that you have the vehicle inspected by your own trusted, trained mechanic. This is evidenced in a story we heard from a couple in Iowa that bought a pickup truck from a dealership. At the time of the purchase they were shown a vehicle history report and were told that the truck was checked out by the dealership mechanic. A month into owning the truck, they heard a strange sound while driving. An independent mechanic discovered that the frame of the truck was severely rusted to the point of needing to be replaced. This buyer tried to return the truck, but was told it was past the time period that the dealership would do a buyback. They were offered to trade the truck back in to the dealer, but didn’t have enough budget to buy the other more expensive vehicles available at the time. There is no mention of whether or not this consumer purchased an after-market warranty, and it is unclear whether an after-market contract would have been responsible to cover a rusted out frame/chassis. One thing you can be sure of, the fine print will always find a way to get you.  Conduct your own research and inspections before making your purchase.  This will save you the aggravating run around and loss of your hard earned dollars afterwards.

FORMER SALESMAN CLAIMS AUTO NATION SELLS SALVAGED FLOOD VEHICLES

“As a former sales person for Auto Nation I know for a fact that they are actively buying totaled cars from other states where they are refurbished. In many states, they do not require totaled vehicles to have a "salvaged title." Auto nation then has them transferred to other states to be sold as Vehicles that were not in a wreck. Buyer beware! You can easily tell if this is the case. No matter what state or what dealership you buy a vehicle from, do check all around the vehicle for "over spray" paint, where paint does not belong. Any good mechanic can tell this for you and they would know what else to look for. DO not be fooled by the sales person! Sometimes even the sales person is not aware of this. CARS THAT WERE IN THE FLOODS IN THE LAST YEAR ARE BEING SOLD AS GREAT CARS ..Hidden problems! Auto Nation and other dealers across the country have been buying cars that have been reconditioned from the floods over the last year. This can be easily detected by a mildew odor. Smell the car carefully and even around the car engine. Even the best detail shops have a hard time getting rid of this smell. Again, take the car to your mechanic for inspection. Don't take a chance! Auto Nation is buying out dealers all over the US. Read their Ripoff Report here.

https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/auto-nation/nationwide/auto-nation-selling-wrecked-totaled-cars-and-cars-that-have-been-in-the-floods-over-the-1026

 
MAN SAYS CAR HE BOUGHT IS A FLOOD VEHICLE AND HE IS A VICTIM OF “TITLE WASHING”

“I purchased a car from CAR VISION.  An Audi 2002 with a "clean title".  So far in the 2 years it’s been in the shop for issues ranging from electrical failure, computer failure, power steering, flooding due to improperly installed windshield, and alternator.  These are the issues just in the past 2 months…the list goes on.  THIS CAR WAS A FLOOD CAR it turns out and car vision never told me this.  A 2002 car should never experience these problems.  It has never run correctly and requires constant maintenance.  CAR VISION will not be responsible for fixing anything "major" and they sham of a warranty only allows you to go to "their shop" for repairs.  They don't know how to repair Audis and after a WEEK IN THE SHOP told me to unplug the battery at night if I want the car to run.  After ridiculous service and a 7 year loan, I now own a car that doesn't run, and I owe 9800 on a car that I can’t even use.  THANKS CAR VISION.  DO NOT PURCHASE A CAR HERE.  If this case ever makes it to court I have a witness, an ex-service employee of Car Vision that witnessed the "manufacturing" of wrecked cars and titles.” Ripoff Report #581616

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT FLOOD AND SALVAGE CARS

Regulations about vehicle registration and title transfer vary from state to state. As a result, vehicles salvaged from floods find their way into the used car market because of a practice called “title washing”. This fraudulent practice will “muddy up” the ownership trail.

You don’t have to live within a flood or hurricane area to fall victim to purchasing one of these salvaged vehicles. These cars, boats, motorcycles and trucks are shipped across the country to auctions, and can end up being sold anywhere in the country.

Consider staying away from buying vehicles that have resided in commonly flood prone states and regions.

Don’t buy a car from someone that says they lost the title.

A car can be nicely restored after flood damage and still it may have major problems in the electrical wiring, computer systems and structural areas that can’t be seen, and can lead to problems months or years later.

You will want to get assistance from your insurance company when investigating the vehicle history. Give your insurance company the VIN number, and they will find out more about the vehicle history than you would by doing your own search online.

Vehicle history reports are not always complete, so best to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle. 

Diligence can save your life. Buying a flood car isn’t just about losing money and the ongoing hassle of fixing a car that is rusting out from under you. It’s also about your safety! The electrical and computer system for a critical component such as airbags can fail to work because of rusted internal wires.

I repeat, always best to have a certified, experienced mechanic inspect before buying.
Have your insurance company check the Vin# to get the cost of your policy, they will be the one to know for sure if your car has been deemed a salvaged vehicle in the past.

Helpful Tips – How to find Flood-Damaged Cars and RV’s:

  1. Go over every inch of the car.  Check hard to reach spots, like engines and trunks, for water lines, residual mud, or debris; remove the spare tire and check in the base of wheel wells; open all doors and check for corrosion where the door meets the body; use a mirror to check the undercarriage of the car and check seat springs for rust.
  2. Listen closely.  Working electronics in cars are more important than ever before.  Listen for unexpected sounds, including a sound system (including any of the speakers) that are stat-icky or distorted.  You can even very carefully and gently bend any electrical wires under the dash to see if they're brittle.
  3. Use your nose.  Flood damaged vehicles can smell of mold or mildew.  Experts say it can be difficult to completely get entirely get rid of the smell.  The best way to test is to sit inside for a while with the vehicle's doors and windows tightly closed.  A strong smell of cleaning chemicals or air freshener may be masking a less agreeable odor.
  4. Run the car for a while, including the air conditioner or heater.  Headlights, taillights, and instrument panels may appear foggy if water has accumulated inside.
  5. Ask to see title and registration.  A title or vehicle registration may be "branded."  Types of brands include "salvage," "rebuilt," or even "flood" depending on the state or local municipality the vehicle came from.  If carpeting or upholstery doesn't match the age of the car, ask why.
  6. Consider having a licensed mechanic check the vehicle over.  Ask the mechanic to inspect brake and wheel components for silt or mud.  (The mechanic may need to remove wheels to do so.)
  7. Do your homework. Use the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System's online tool to check vehicle history.  And, the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Vehicle Identification Number check system.  While information on these websites may not be comprehensive, they may be a good start.

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    Most important Warning signs of a flooded car

    It's very easy to hide the signs of a flood.

    "Flooded cars literally rot from the inside out, it’s obvious cosmetically on the outside they can be fixed by those that restore these for a living, they can look like new so the most savvy mechanic could never tell the difference either..
  • Sand or salt in the engine bay
  • Sand or salt under the spare tire in the trunk, if it has a spare
  • Rust under the seats
  • Moisture bubbles trapped in the tail lights


Only your Insurance company will know for sure if vehicle you want to buy was ever salvaged where an insurance company paid any kind of claim on the car.

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CONSUMER ALERT FROM ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: HARVEY AND IRMA PRODUCE FLOOD-DAMAGED VEHICLES

LITTLE ROCK – While Arkansas did not see the type of damage and flooding that our neighbors in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas have seen in recent weeks that does not mean products from those states will not end up here – especially vehicles.

Arkansans who are considering a new or used vehicle have been contacting the Attorney General’s office to find out how to spot a flood-damaged car or truck and what is required of the dealer or seller.

Consumers should review a vehicle’s title for any flood damage reports. Arkansas law requires dealerships to place a separate disclosure in the window of cars for sale that have previously been submerged, but consumers should be careful if purchasing a vehicle through a private sale. Although the private seller is required by Arkansas law to notify the buyer of any flood damage, a posted disclosure is not mandatory for this type of transaction.

“Many dealers follow Arkansas law and provide the proper documentation when selling water damaged vehicles,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But it is common following severe weather in our state and in nearby states for unscrupulous sellers to try and take advantage of consumers by selling damaged vehicles without proper disclosure.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers shopping around for a new or used vehicle:

Ask the seller if the car has been damaged by hail or flood waters, and always check the car’s title history.

Inspect the vehicle for water stains and mildew in the vents and behind the dashboard. Also look under the hood for signs of oxidation.

Flood damaged cars may look fine because of cosmetic repairs, but they may have defective electrical systems, steering problems, faulty computers, faulty air bag systems and persistent mold problems.

Have the car inspected by your own mechanic before you decide to buy.

If the car has experienced significant damage and is considered a salvage vehicle, a buyer’s notification should be posted, and the price should be much lower than the price of a similar car with a clean title. Consider that you may have difficulty later selling a salvage vehicle and its value will be compromised.

For more information on purchasing a vehicle and other consumer-related issues, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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Minnesota Attorney General Says Beware of Flooded or Salvaged Used Cars

Consumers choose to purchase used rather than new vehicles for a variety of reasons, and used car buying is certainly not a new phenomenon. Buying any used vehicle has certain risks, but a flood-damaged car or truck may present additional economic and safety hazards. Not only can flood damage significantly reduce the market value of a vehicle, but it can also lead to unexpected and significant repair costs.

Many newer vehicle models have sensitive electronic wiring and computer components that may be permanently impaired by water damage. Furthermore, the water may damage not only electrical components, but also the structural frame and vehicle interior. Worst of all, the effects of water damage may not appear for months or even years. Aside from the unforeseen financial consequences of such latent damage, the sudden failure of any safety component, such as a vehicle’s brake system, can jeopardize the safety of not only a vehicle’s occupants, but anyone on the roads.

In any given year, thousands of badly damaged vehicles are cleaned, repaired, and shipped from state to state. The number of previously damaged vehicles on the used car market often increases following major weather events that cause flooding on a large scale, such as hurricanes, heavy rains, and the spring thaw in areas with heavy snow. For example, it has been estimated that approximately 700,000 cars were submerged in floodwater as a result of Hurricane Harvey and Irma in 2017, and many of these cars will be sent for resale throughout the country. As the thousands of cars and trucks are shipped from state to state, some sellers may try to hide the vehicles’ tumultuous history. The Attorney General’s Office urges Minnesota consumers and businesses to beware of flood-damaged vehicles and unscrupulous sellers who may try to hide the history of these vehicles.

How Car Titles are Hidden

Fraudsters often use a combination of cheap cosmetic repairs and title "washing" or "laundering" to hide a vehicle’s past. Title laws vary between states, and crooks use this lack of uniformity to their advantage. Some states even lack salvaged vehicle "branding" requirements, which require title notations indicating that a vehicle has been "flood-damaged," "salvaged," "rebuilt," or other similar history. In Minnesota, for example, the registrar of titles must record the term “flood damaged” on the certificate of title for a vehicle for which the application for title and registration indicates that a vehicle has been classified as a total loss due to water or flood damage. Such laws may not be enough, however, to protect consumers from unscrupulous dealers who often move previously totaled cars and trucks through several states until the vehicle obtains a clear or "washed" title. Minnesota titles do not reveal the original owner of a vehicle that has been sold numerous times; they only list the current owner. Thus, if a flood-damaged car in Louisiana gets run through Kansas before finally being sold in Minnesota, the title will not reveal that the car was originally from Louisiana.

Tips on How to Avoid Flooded Cars

Check the Vehicle’s Title

Make sure the vehicle you are eyeing has a clean title. Doing so can help you avoid numerous headaches in the future. You can obtain title information by contacting the Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services Division at (651) 297-2126. If you are buying from a dealership, you can also demand this information from the dealer. If the dealer refuses your demand, go elsewhere.

Review the VINCheck Database

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) maintains a database of vehicles reported as stolen or salvaged by participating NICB members, including insurance companies. Consumers may search the database for free at www.nicb.orgexternal link icon by entering the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The NICB cautions, however, that the list is not exhaustive, and it does not verify the accuracy of the information therein.

Conduct a Physical Inspection

A good auto detail can do wonders in concealing evidence of flooding, but many do not eliminate all indications of water damage. Take your time and conduct a thorough inspection. Here are a few suggestions:

Look under the carpet in the trunk and under the seats. Evidence of dampness, rust, mud, or silt, may indicate flooding.

Inspect the door speakers, windshield wipers, radio, air conditioner, and other electronics. They often won’t work if there has been water damage.

Beware of new or mismatched items in an older car, including new electrical components, seats, and carpeting that doesn’t match the interior.

Check for rust and excessive flaking metal on the undercarriage or springs under the dashboard and seats.

See if there is any obvious paint overspray indicating recent body damage.

Smell for a musty or moldy odor, particularly in the trunk.

Go on a Test Drive

Don’t let the owner take you for a ride! Insist on getting behind the wheel yourself. Drive over hills, on city streets and on the freeways. Be sure to test the brakes and check to see that the brakes don’t lose pressure when you press hard on them. Don’t accept a salesperson’s word that the damage was minor, demand proof.

Get an Independent Inspection

Before paying any money to the seller, get the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic whose expertise and experience may allow them to spot potential issues you did not. Do not buy from a seller who refuses to allow, or attempts to dissuade you from getting, a pre-purchase inspection. Even if you have to pay for the inspection, it could save you thousands of dollars on unexpected repairs later.

Use Extreme Caution When Buying Online

Online car sales are becoming increasingly popular. You can go online to narrow down your search for local cars and then go inspect/drive the car before making a purchase. Many people, however, are buying cars from far away uninspected and unseen. Remember, just because you are buying a car from Madison or Chicago doesn’t mean the car wasn’t originally flood damaged in Houston or Jacksonville. If the delivered car is not as represented online, it may be very difficult to resolve the problem. If you do buy a car online, make sure you use a secure escrow service such as PayPal.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/17/2019 05:19 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/report/flood-damaged-motor-vehicles/tempe-arizona-ed-helpful-tips-1480524. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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