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
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."
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
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 http://www.ct.gov/dcp.