After Historic Flooding, WV Attorney General Issues Warning to Potential Car Buyers

Patrick Morrisey, Attorney General of West Virginia, announced to consumers to be careful when shopping and purchasing for vehicles this summer because of potential scams.

According to West Virginia Record, due to the major flooding that West Virginia experienced this summer, vehicles that were submerged by the flooding are going up for sale. Morrisey wants to make sure these damaged vehicles aren’t sold to unsuspected car buyers.

“With so many vehicles destroyed by this summer’s historic flooding,” Morrisey said, “it’s plausible someone may try to take advantage of the situation. That’s why potential car buyers must be on guard and watch for deals that seem too good to be true.”

On average, car buyers go into a purchasing contract relatively blind. Wholly 52% of consumers don’t know what make or model they want to purchase before even walking into a dealership. The Attorney General encourages consumers to be more vigilant than usual when searching for online deals.

West Virginia state law prohibits the resale of a submerged vehicle without a salvaged title. This means that anyone trying to sell a submerged vehicle needs to repair the total loss with a licensed salvaged mechanic, including documentation of its salvage title and redeemed status.

Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the West Virginia Legislature almost passed a law that would allow auto dealers to sell vehicles “as is.”

“With current law,” said Dave McMahon, Charleston public interest lawyer, “if you buy a vehicle and it ends up having problems because of it, you get your money back. With ‘as is,’ you’re stuck with it, unless you specifically asked, ‘Was it in the flood?’ and the dealer lied to you.”

Morrisey recommends consumers obtain a vehicle’s history from CARFAX, have a reputable mechanic inspect the vehicle in question before the purchase, pay particular attention to a vehicle that’s had multiple owners over a short period of time, and maintain a “buyer beware” attitude.

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