Malloy, Attorney General Jepsen, U.S. Senator Blumenthal and DMV
Warn Consumers About Dangers in Purchasing Flood-Damaged Vehicles
For Immediate Release
September 18, 2017
WETHERSFIELD - Governor Dannel
P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and the
Department of Motor Vehicles along with the Connecticut Automotive Retailers
Association joined together today to advise consumers purchasing new or used
vehicles to be alert for flood-damaged vehicles following Hurricanes Harvey and
Irma that struck the southern United States.
“Consumers in the market for a new or used car should be especially cautious following the recent flooding events that took place because food-damaged vehicles could make their way to Connecticut,” Governor Malloy said. “Knowledge is power for consumers, and a little bit of research can go a long way when buying a motor vehicle.”
Flood-damaged vehicles can enter the Connecticut market in any number of ways, ranging from those already in Connecticut to those shipped here from other flood-ravaged states. Requirements vary state-by-state for disclosing whether a vehicle has been damaged in a flood.
"As with so many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Attorney General Jepsen. "Consumers should always take proper precautions and do their homework when purchasing a used vehicle. Given added concerns following the severe hurricanes that have hit the country in recent weeks, consumers should take some extra time to inspect a vehicle before purchase and ensure that they're getting what they pay for."
Senator Richard Blumenthal announced today that he will be asking federal officials to provide more oversight and request stronger action nationwide to protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing flood vehicles.
To help consumers, Governor Malloy, Attorney General Jepsen, Senator Blumenthal and DMV Commissioner Michael R. Bzdyra urge Connecticut residents to take these extra precautions to save time and money when buying a used vehicle:
1. Buyers Beware!
While Connecticut requires vehicle titles to indicate flood damage, some wholesalers may intentionally transfer titles to avoid having the damage noted and diminish the value of the car.
2. Looks Can Be Deceiving
While the car may look perfectly fine on the surface, there could be hidden defects that are not immediately noticeable. Flood damage can compromise the car’s computer and safety mechanisms, which pose significant safety hazards to the new owner.
3. Do Your Own Inspection
Take the time to inspect the car for yourself.
Check the engine for a high water mark on the block or radiator, which is a clear indication that the car has been flooded.
Look for rust or corrosion on wires and other components under the hood.
You should also be suspicious if the carpet smells damp and of mildew.
4. Consider Where You Buy
Flooded vehicles oftentimes end up at car auctions and online.
Shop at a reputable dealership.
5. Ask Questions
Before buying the car, ask the dealer to obtain a report with a detailed history of the car. You should also consider taking the car to a qualified mechanic to inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Comprehensive vehicle history reports are produced with the vehicle identification number (VIN) and are available for a fee from a variety of sources, including:
Carfax - (www.carfax.com)
Auto Check - (www.autocheck.com)
National Motor Vehicle Title Information System – A consumer guide to getting reports on titles for vehicles – (https://www.vehiclehistory.gov/nmvtis_consumers.html)
The National Insurance Crime Bureau – (https://www.nicb.org/)
“There are many resources car buyers can use before making a purchase,” Commissioner Bzdyra said. “If the sale sounds too good to be true, be sure to take the extra step to know what you’re buying.”
Those who purchased used cars with flood damage should contact the DMV Consumer Complaint Center which handles complaints against dealers and repairers, including the sale of used vehicles.
The DMV Consumer Complaint Center is located at 60 State Street, Wethersfield, CT, 06161 and can be reached at 860-263-5405 and web information is available at https://ct.gov/dmv/floodcars.
Consumers can also access information on whether the state’s Lemon Law program would apply. Details can be found on the Consumer Protection web site at https://www.ct.gov/dcp.