Previous Accident Nondisclosure
Previous accident nondisclosure refers to the concealing of information connected with the car’s previous life. After a vehicle is flood-damaged, it is declared a total and gets the so called “salvage title”. The insurance company then pays the car owner the market value of the car and takes it. The next step is that the totaled car appears in an auto auction or a salvage yard where a wholesaler may buy it in a very low price. Buying the car so cheap gives the wholesalers the chance of cleaning and repairing the car as much as possible to be able to sell it later on. The cleaned, yet totaled car then travels to another state to be sold to an unsuspecting used car buyer at rather a high price.
The process of selling a car on the basis of previous accident nondisclosure may take from several weeks to a few months.
The above practice of selling a totaled vehicle without disclosing the facts about the vehicle’s condition is illegal. However, this does not prevent some auto dealers from practicing the fraud, though sometimes the dealer may just be unaware of the car’s condition.
Here are several tips to help you avoid being a victim of previous accident nondisclosure fraud:
- Check the car’s history report and the title. You can do that using an online source like AutoCheck. This will give you information about whether the car you are going to buy has ever been branded flood-damaged or not. Also, do not trust the vehicle history reports the dealer may offer you, do the research by yourself.
- Perform a visual inspection of the car. For example, when inspecting the car interior, take a deep breath to see whether there is some musty odor there. Look under the carpets to find dirt or stains of mud there. Look for water or salt stains. Also, inspect for rust on the metal areas in the vehicle.
- After the visual inspection, have the car checked by an experienced auto mechanic.
If, however, you feel you have been a victim of previous accident nondisclosure fraud on the part of the dealer, you can turn to an auto dealer fraud attorney who specializes in such fraud cases. Hovanes Margarian is an auto dealer fraud attorney in California, Los Angeles, who will evaluate your case and try to help you by filing a lawsuit against the dealership and protecting your rights in the court.