Governor Malloy, Attorney General and DMV Warn
Consumers about Flood-Damaged Vehicles
Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and the Department of Motor Vehicles joined together today to advise consumers purchasing new or used cars to be alert for flood-damaged vehicles following the heavy rain that struck the Northeast earlier this week.
“Consumers in the market for a new or used car should be especially cautious following the recent flooding events that took place across the region,” Governor Malloy said. “It might not be obvious that a car has been in a flood. 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. The heavy rainfall in our region this week, however, makes it even more important that Connecticut residents who are in the market for a car, and who are considering purchasing a used car, take some extra time to inspect the vehicle and ensure that they're getting what they pay for."
To help consumers, Governor Malloy, Attorney General Jepsen and DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey 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.
• 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:
“There are many resources car buyers can use before making a purchase,” Commissioner Currey said. “If the sale sounds too good to be true, take the extra step to know what you’re buying.”
Anyone purchasing a new flood-damaged vehicle and has problems with it should consult with the Department of Consumer Protection Lemon Law arbitration program. 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.
You can access information on the Lemon Law Program at the Consumer Protection web site at http://www.ct.gov/dcp
or call a Consumer Protection investigator at 860-713-6120 or 1-800-538-CARS.
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 http://ct.gov/dmv/floodcars
Department of Motor Vehicles:
Office of the Attorney General:
Jaclyn M. Falkowski