The flooding due to Hurricane Irma, as well as in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey has affected hundreds of auto dealerships. While insurance coverage may cover dealers, some used car brokers will undoubtedly buy flood damaged cars at a fraction of the cost, clean them out to mask any evidence of flood damage, and sell them to unsuspecting drivers who believe they are getting a great bargain.
While this may seem like an ideal practice, it may follow the old adage of “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
Since water and electronics do not mix, a flood could compromise a number of electronic components, including navigation systems, lane integrity systems and other amenities that depend on mini computers. In fact, more than just the high end “bells and whistles” could be affected. “Push start” ignition systems, power steering and automatic braking systems, could fail at the worst time, thus potentially causing an accident due to an undisclosed defect.
To make matters worse, an injured car owner could have trouble obtaining a remedy since car dealers (especially used car dealers) are generally not required to report damage to cars that they know nothing about.
As such, used car buyers should take to the adage “caveat emptor” to heart and investigate a car’s purchase and accident history before signing off on a deal. If you have questions about your legal rights after buying a defective car, or being injured due to one, an experienced attorney can advise you.
The preceding is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship.