Imagine buying a used car that after a month, the engine shuts down, or worse, the airbag doesn't eject in an accident. Well that is a reality for many nation-wide, as airbag and flood damage fraud have been an increasing problem.
CarFax is a service where you can check to see if your car has ever been involved in an accident, and it's that service that Joyce Webb used to find out her car of two years was missing an airbag. "When I found out, I was devastated." Webb calls herself lucky to find out the easy way that her car of two years had defaults. "The driver side airbags were full of rags. The passenger side didn't have any. My son told me to check on CarFax, when I did, I found out it was in an accident where the airbags were deployed."
Experts say airbag fraud is common because some dealerships and former owners don't want to pay the additional deductible for new air bags. One Supplemental restraints specialist says, "It costs about $500 to $1000 a piece for each airbag and some consumers and dealerships don't want to pay that.
But Steve Siege from Alderson Cadillac in Lubbock says that's not the case for most local dealerships. "All dealerships in Lubbock rely on their reputation, we would not be able to stay in business if customers couldn't trust us." Three local dealerships we spoke with say they do thorough inspections before a car leaves the lot, unlike buying from an individual. "An individual may never see you again, if you have issues we'll take care of it."
Wherever you decide to buy, Larry Gamache from CarFax says there are warning signs that can prevent you from being the next airbag victim. "Check with CarFax whether the air bag has been deployed, and make sure your car is properly talking to the air bag."
In this story, Joyce Webb was a smart shopper; she bought her car from a dealership, but went the extra mile to check for accidents, and take the car to a mechanic. And it was those decisions that she says could've made the difference in life and death. "It was risky taking the car on the road everyday."
Although federal law requires airbags in new cars, there's no rule that says they must be replaced if deployed. NewsChannel 11 has partnered with Car Fax to bring you two options if you suspect your vehicle or airbag might have faulty repairs...
Two Ways to Check out the History of Your Vehicle
|1.||CarFax Vehicle/Airbag Check|
|2.||Let Us Do the Work|