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ALERT -- 2,000 VEHICLES DAMAGED IN TEXAS FLOOD
ARE BEING SOLD TO RETAIL DEALERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA.


CONTACT: Robert Sanchez
Public Information Administrator

OCTOBER 2, 2001

TALLAHASSEE – State officials warned on Tuesday that shipments of vehicles damaged during June’s flooding in Texas have reached Florida’s used-car market.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued the alert after learning that some 2,000 vehicles damaged when Tropical Storm Allison hit the Houston area are being sold to retail dealers in South Florida for eventual resale to consumers.

Allison’s torrential rains caused widespread damage. After the floodwaters subsided, insurance companies and Texas authorities declared more than 17,000 vehicles to be "flood damaged." Texas officials also warned that even though their salvage certificate process provides some methods of identifying severely flood-damaged vehicles, "there are no protections for buyers of vehicles that were not processed through these salvage channels. For these customers, it’s ‘buyer beware.’ "

Florida’s regulators are urging retailers who purchase these vehicles for resale to disclose the vehicles’ status. For those 2,000 flood-damaged vehicles that the Division of Motor Vehicles has tracked to Florida, the state will not issue a title without branding it "flood damaged vehicle."

Regulators also urge persons who are shopping for a used vehicle to take precautions:

  • Inspect the vehicle. That’s always a good idea when buying a used car, but especially when damaged vehicles may be reaching the market. If you don’t feel competent to inspect it yourself, have a trusted mechanic do so.

  • Follow the paper trail: Ask to see the vehicle’s title. If an insurance company previously has classified the vehicle as a total loss, a notation may appear on the title. For a small fee, private services will provide a vehicle’s entire title history.

  • Beware of bargains: If a used vehicle is priced well below the usual "book value" for its make, year, and model, then potential buyers should make sure they check out both the vehicle and its title, as described above.

  • Buy from a trusted source: If you buy from a reputable licensed dealership or from a trusted individual who knows the vehicle’s history, you stand a better chance of avoiding the headaches that come with being stuck with a "lemon."

2001 Press Releases       DHSMV Press Releases



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