Consumer Beware! Flooded Cars Could be Coming Your Way - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/20/05

Consumer Beware! Flooded Cars Could be Coming Your Way

When tropical storm Allison hit Houston in 2001, 30,000 flood damaged cars were sold to unsuspecting buyers in Texas. Authorities suspect it could happen again.

Be extra cautious when buying a used car and make sure you are taking a closer look at what you are buying. "For the next 8-10 months, be leery of titles from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that were primarily affected by the flood area," says Cliff Babbitt, DPS Lieutenant of Motor Vehicle Auto Theft.

Texas law requires vehicle owners to indicate on the title if a car was salvaged or had flood damage. Lt. Babbitt says not all are recorded. He says consumers need to watch out for the unscrupulous dealers.

Babbitt says he is on the look-out for flood damaged cars being sold in the area, but adds that consumers need to know what they are buying.

You can do your own check. For example, look for rust on the outside of the car. On the inside, Babbitt suggests taking a look under the carpet for mud. You will also need to check the dash and gauges for moisture. He also suggests smelling the car. If it smells like musty water, then you will need to ask questions. Finally, if it seems like the price is too good of a deal, then it probably is.

Make sure you buy used cars from a reputable dealers, let a mechanic check out the car. To see the car's history, go to ( carfax.com) and enter the vin number.

The Better Business Bureau
For more information on consumer guidance, business guidance, dispute resolution, and consumer news and alerts; click here to goto the Better Business Bureau's web site.

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