Buyer beware: Flood-damaged cars being sold to unsuspecting victims
BATON ROUGE - The American Automobile Association is warning car buyers to be cautious of dishonest car dealers selling flood-damaged vehicles.
Don Redman of AAA advises buyers to use their senses of sight and smell when purchasing a used vehicle to spot warning signs such as water and mud.
"We see it time and time again where cars that were flooded out are quickly scooped up and into the market and sold to unsuspecting customers," Redman said.
The salvage yard at Roadrunner Towing is filled to capacity with vehicles damaged from the flood. Over 1,000 cars and trucks have been towed in recent days.
Owner Judy Smart said it's difficult for her tow trucks to keep up with demand in the aftermath of the flooding.
"Some of my guys are working 16-18 hours going home and sleeping for three or four house and coming back out," Smart said.
State Farm, Louisiana's largest auto insurer, reported close to 19,000 and counting auto claims. Spokesman Roszell Gadson said the vast majority of the vehicles recovered are a total loss.
"As you know, today's modern cars are full of electronic equipment and computer systems and often times when the water gets so high it swallows up that electronic equipment," Gadson said.
Some of the flood-damaged vehicles will be stripped for parts; the rest will be crushed and used for scrap metal.
Companies also shared that due to a vast number of flood-damaged vehicles, rental companies are experiencing a shortage of cars.