How to Avoid Flood-Damaged Car Scams After Hurricane Harvey

Despite the many concerned messages you've received from out-of-state friends and relatives, El Paso was relatively unharmed by Hurricane Harvey. But that doesn't mean you're not at risk of buying a flood-damaged car.

According to Kelley Blue Book, as many as 500,000 cars in Texas were destroyed by Harvey, and many of those will end up being sold using an underhanded tactic called title-washing.

Normally, a vehicle's title is branded as flood damaged (or as junk, or salvage) to let prospective customers know that they are essentially buying scrap metal. Yet in many cases, sellers find ways to avoid or remove the title branding in order to make more profit.

How to avoid title-washed cars

You are generally safer buying pre-owned vehicles from a trusted dealership, rather than from online ads where scammers abound.

Check the CARFAX Vehicle History Report—often, fraudulent or suspicious activity is flagged.

Don't buy a used car without seeing it first. Have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic, and take it for a test drive. It's easy to hide flood damage in pictures, but nearly impossible to hide the faulty electronics and rust in person.

Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory, News

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