The recent storms that ravaged parts of the country particularly in the Northeast have opened the door to a scam that often follows storm damage through extensive rain or hurricanes, namely the sale of storm damaged cars. 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 rain 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.”
Whenever you buy a used car, you should always have a mechanic whom you trust check out any used car that you are considering buying. You also 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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