Family buys van with fake inspection sticker, warning others
GONZALES - About a year and a half ago, a family bought a van for their cleaning business. Everything was normal until they came time to renew the inspection sticker.
Matt Keene says his family bought the van in May 2015 on the side of the road in Gonzales. It was one of a handful for sale. He checked the brakes, the engine and gave it a test drive. His parents bought the van for $3,000.
"Everything checked out and they ended up buying it," he said.
Shortly after the purchase, it was time to take the van in for a new inspection sticker, which had a date of July 2015. It failed the emissions test and the family quickly realized the business investment was worthless.
"We looked into what it would cost to get it fixed and it was more than what the van was worth," said Keene.
He says the inspection sticker was the last thing on his mind. But a big clue about the car's condition was right there on the windshield. After taking the van into the shop, the family learned that not only did it fail the emissions test, but the current inspection sticker was fake.
"It looks like a normal sticker, looks like the one on your car and on mine," said Keene.
According to the Department of Environmental Quality, the van first failed inspection in 2013. It did not go in for inspection in 2014 and it failed again in August 2015, which is when the Keenes brought it in. The Keenes say the seller is denying knowing anything about the fake sticker.
The van is now parked in a driveway, useless to the family. The Keenes, now victims to a fake inspection sticker are hoping to get their money back.
"Hopefully they find out who did it," said Keene.
The family encourages others in the used car market to do their homework before they buy.
DEQ and Louisiana State Police offer similar advice. Before you buy, check to make sure the inspection sticker is valid and do your research. That can include bringing the used vehicle to a mechanic and make sure it passes an inspection. You can also bring it to a state licensed inspection station. If the sticker is fake, call police and file a complaint.