Help End Vehicle Fraud! Tell Congress to Protect Consumers from the Illegal Sale of Flood Damaged Vehicles
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Car buyers beware! Hurricane Katrina damaged over 500,000 vehicles, and many of these could be fraudulently sold to unsuspecting consumers by criminals abusing states’ disorganized vehicle documentation laws. Congress must take steps to end vehicle fraud by standardizing vehicle titling, registration, and branding practices nationwide.
Following 2005’s devastating hurricane season, the need for unified vehicle documentation laws is imperative. Hurricane-damaged vehicles will be flooding the used car market and consumers need protections. Currently each State has its own unique vehicle documentation laws, and this lack of uniformity makes title washing fraud easy to commit. Fraudulent sellers transfer damaged vehicles to states where the vehicle’s title brands are not officially recognized. When the state issues the vehicle new documents, the new title may no longer report the vehicle’s previous damage, effectively “washing” the vehicle of its history.
Title washing fraud rips consumers off, and may put them in danger. Vehicles damaged in floods and accidents may no longer be safe to drive. If a vehicle’s title does not accurately reflect its history consumers have no way of knowing that the vehicle they purchase could be hazardous to drive.
Congress must act. The Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992 established a Motor Vehicle Titling, Registration, and Salvage Advisory Committee to study inconsistent vehicle documentation laws and problems caused by the lack of uniformity. The Committee recognized that widespread problems existed when it submitted its final report over a decade ago. Despite knowledge of this problem, Congress has not acted.