Dealers warn about flood damaged cars coming to the market

HARTFORD --  In Hartford, at the upscale dealership New Country BMW, Job Pimentel, the General Manager warned consumers to expect flood damaged cars to make it to Connecticut.

"Some folks don't know, they're going to buy cars from a used car lot or private party and you're going to get some cars with flood damage, absolutely." Pimentel added a Car Fax is always a good idea and a car should always pass the "smell test."

He said, "Does (the vehicle) smell like a lot of detergent? Does it smell like someone is trying to hide something?"

The Federal Trade Commission adds that most consumers don’t know the difference between a salvage title, and a flood title. A salvage title means that the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company because of a serious accident, or some other type of problem.

A flood title means that the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment.

At the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the office is well aware that flooded cars could end up on lots in the state.

"Use your common sense," said Catherine Blinder, the education and outreach director at the Department of Consumer Protection. "If a car is coming from Texas or Florida or Puerto Rico and you're getting a really good deal on it -- don't buy it."

Blinder added, "any scam leads you to believe you're getting a good deal and what you get is a headache for a long time."

AAA urges consumers to be on the look out for:

  • Fog and moisture inside of car lights
  • The smell of mold or mildew, or disinfectant used to mask odors
  • Stains on seatbelts, upholstery, or inside of trunk
  • Rust inside of car
  • The Federal Trade

Check the VIN at National insurance Crime Bureau  here.