Beware of flood-damaged cars being sold in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Thousands of vehicles were left totaled after devastating flooding hit parts of the southern United States in the last few weeks. Now, some of those flood-damaged cars could be making their way to states around the country, including Indiana, to be resold.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office is urging Hoosiers to research a vehicle before making a purchase, especially in the aftermath of these storms.

Some of the cars ravaged by high water will be refurbished and their histories hidden until it's too late for the buyer to make a well-informed decision.

"What sometimes happens is when you move vehicle to another state it takes time for it to be determined that the vehicle is not supposed to be on the road," said Betsy Isenberg, Director of the Consumer Protection Division for the Indiana Attorney General's Office. "Unfortunately, that vehicle may have already been purchased by an unknowing Hoosier who now has this vehicle but is not supposed to be able to drive it."

Dealerships like Ray Skillman on the south side are keeping a very close eye on any potential inventory.

"We’re a little bit more on our toes now knowing some of those cars may be moving up to our area," said Cory Delp, General Manager at Ray Skillman.

The long-term damage caused by water can impact different parts of a vehicle.

"A foot of water can total a vehicle because it gets into the system," Delp said. "It can wreak havoc on electrical and mechanical parts of the system."

The Attorney General's Office tells CBS4 that consumers need to loop up a full vehicle history report before finalizing a sale. Otherwise, they could face a costly problem at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

"Sometimes, they don’t learn that until they go to Bureau of Motor Vehicles to register their car and the bureau tells them they cannot," Isenberg said.

If you purchase a car and later learn it has undisclosed flooding damage, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office here. 

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