You are looking for a quality used car. You head to the dealer and test drive cars. You find a car that meets all your specifications and appears to have been well cared for. The dealer points out that it doesn't have too many miles. What a steal!
Months into purchasing the car, however, maintenance issues start to crop-up. The windows won't roll down. You get it fixed. Then the lights start flickering and the electronics go down. You take it to the shop again. The bad news keeps coming - your mechanic finds corrosion, a sign of water damage.
Man's car came from Katrina flooded area of New Orleans.
This is the true story of one California man who bought a used car in 2009. Checking registration records, he realized the car came from an area flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Flood damage may not be apparent on the exterior and can take time to fully materialize.
Reports like Carfax and government title reports can be helpful, provided the reports have been updated. However, unscrupulous dealers plan on a quick turnaround before reporting catches up.
Experts expect 500,000 to 1 million flood damaged cars from storms in Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida to hit the market in 2018. If your dealer has worked with a "title washer" - a middle-man who knows how to move inventory to a lemon law lenient state or reporting hasn't caught up - you may be a victim.
If you suspect your used vehicle was dunked in a ton of dirty flood water and is showing the signs of damage, you'll want to consult an attorney who specializes in lemon law and dealer fraud.