The Attorneys General for Illinois and Georgia recently issued warnings about scammers selling used cars damaged by Hurricane Ian without disclosing the water damage. In the past, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and other state RMVs have issued warnings to consumers to be on the lookout for used cars with phony title papers that indicate that the particular used car in which you are interested is from a state such as Oregon when in fact, these cars are cars that were from hurricane ravaged areas with many of them containing hidden water damage that could present serious safety problems.
In one instance, a report for a car purported to be from Oregon showed a damage report filed previously that showed the car listed as a total loss vehicle with a salvage title listed in New York and a new title later issued in Oregon. This practice of transporting a car to another state and re-registering it is called “title washing.” Last week the Attorney General of Pennsylvania arrested nineteen people alleged to be involved in a title washing scam.
Sometimes water damage may not be readily apparent so you should always have a mechanic whom you trust check out any used car that you are considering buying.
Whenever you purchase a used car you should always get a full report on its history. The United States Department of Justice operates The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System which provides much information about used cars. The NVMTIS provides a list of various companies such as Carfax that have been approved to provide reliable reports. These companies charge between $2.95 and $12.99 for a report that will provide detailed information on any used car you are considering purchasing.
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