Natural disasters have been dominating headlines with hurricanes and flooding causing massive damage in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and surrounding areas. As devastating as these incidents may be, they without fail, bring out the best in people who immediately want to help.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns there is also the sad reality that for all the good that will be done there are individuals who will seek to profit from crises.
“We see this happen during every natural disaster and human crisis,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Scam artists have a wide array of tricks for these types of scenarios including trying to take advantage of reselling cars that were damaged during disasters. We urge people to be very careful and use reputable dealerships and mechanics when purchasing or checking out a car.
While most used car dealers are legitimate, BBB advises there are some unscrupulous businesses and individuals who may try to sell flood-damaged cars without revealing the car’s history.
In the months to come, consumers need to exercise extra caution, especially when purchasing from individuals, second-tier used car lots or social media sites such as Craigslist.
BBB advises the following tips to avoid buying a flood-damaged car:
- Deal only with reputable dealers – check business grades of all dealers and area businesses for free at www.ask.bbb.org or
- www.bbb.org/chicagoTake note of any musty or damp odors
- Carpeting, trunks and dashboards should be checked for mud, dirt and water stains
- Check all electronic components – an early sign of damaged cars from flooding is often detected in the wiring
- Always have the car checked by a highly rated BBB auto technician for corrosion or other signs of water damage
- Always run your own title search as documents can be easily forged
For additional tips on buying pre-owned cars visit go.bbb.org/usedcar.
For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry, and BBB Business Reviews you can trust, visit askbbb.org/chicago.
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Remember to always report scammers. If you’ve been cheated, report the scam to authorities and BBB Scam Tracker to warn others.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Consumers and businesses can search business reviews and ratings on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.
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