When you purchase a vehicle in Orange County or elsewhere throughout California, and you have unexpected problems with it, you may have remedies under the California Lemon Law. However, the lemon law does not protect all car buyers, so some buyers of defective used vehicles may have little recourse if they purchase a vehicle that turns out to have serious problems.
Car buyers need to be especially careful when buying used cars in the current market because, as WFSB explains, AAA and other experts are warning consumers of flooded car scams.
Flooded Car Scams are On the Rise
When a vehicle is flooded, the flood can do substantial damage to the car's components. While the car may appear to drive OK, corrosion and other serious internal problems could quickly crop up and could be costly to fix. In some cases, a car that seems to run fine will be irreparable shortly after it has been purchased because of the internal damage from the flood.
Many buyers get tricked by these flood damaged vehicles because the cars seem OK at first glance. Unfortunately, there are expected to be many more flood damaged cars hitting the market soon because of all of the flooding caused by Hurricane Irma and by Hurricane Harvey. Close to a million cars were damaged or ruined by Hurricane Harvey alone, and scammers are likely to buy these damaged vehicles at a very cheap price and then clean them up and resell them to unsuspecting consumers who do not know that the cars have problems.
Drivers need to be vigilant in looking for signs that a used car they are considering purchasing has been through a flood. WFSB recommends that buyers be on the lookout for key signs that a car has previously flooded including:
- Debris or mud inside of the car's cabin or debris or mud inside of the truck of a car.
- A waterline under the hood of the car, on the bumper of the vehicle, or on the car's undercarriage.
- Signs of rust on any interior part of the vehicle.
- Fogging inside of the car's headlights or insight of the taillights of the car.
- A strong smell of disinfectant or of any other cleaning agent which might be used to cover up mold, mildew, or musty odors caused by flooding
- Carpets that show traces of wetness or vehicle floor mats that appear to have been wet in the past.
- Signs that the car's seats, floor mats, carpets, other interior parts have been shampooed recently.
These are just a few of the key indicators that the car might have been flooded. You should also do a background check and consider getting the vehicle inspected by a mechanic to try to avoid problems with a used car.
If you've bought a new car and there are problems with the vehicle, you should reach out to an Orange County lemon law attorney to find out if California's lemon laws protect you.