CONSUMER ALERT: Harvey and Irma Produce Flood-Damaged Vehicles
September 20, 2017
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.