Insurance & Technology News
Asbury Park Press, N.J., David P. Willis column
Mar 15, 2013 (Asbury Park Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
An online database to track vehicles that were damaged by floodwaters from superstorm Sandy is filling up, officials said Thursday.
The state Motor Vehicle Commission and state Division of Consumer Affairs wants those interested in buying a used vehicle to check the online Vehicle Identification Number database at www.
floodedcars and find out whether a vehicle has a flood or salvage title.
It's not illegal to sell a vehicle with either a flood or salvage title, but sellers must disclose the status to potential buyers.
These vehicles, when sold legally and with the correct flood or salvage title, often are sold for scrap.
"Omission of material facts to buyers, such as the existence of a flood or salvage title, violates the state's Consumer Fraud Act," said Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa in a statement.
"We will take action against those who attempt to deceive used car buyers, including the filing of lawsuits where warranted, in order to protect consumers."
The database now lists 26,000 vehicles, a doubling in size since state officials started it in late January.
There's likely a lot more room. Insurers have reported 60,000 claims for personal or commercial vehicles as a result of Sandy, officials have said.
"Consumers who are thinking about purchasing a used motor vehicle need to be vigilant, in the wake of superstorm Sandy," said Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs. "Storm damaged vehicles may be offered for sale for years to come."
Before buying a used car, consumers should:
-- Check the vehicle's title history and be wary if it has been titled multiple times over a short time period, a sign of potential fraud.
-- Obtain a vehicle history report from the dealer, or get one yourself from a reputable source.
-- Look for an insurance company's name on the title history, and contact the company for information.
David P. Willis:
___ (c)2013 the Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.) Visit the Asbury Park Press
(Neptune, N.J.) at www.app.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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UPDATED 4:02 AM EST - May 20, 2013
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