Car Title Washing: What You Should Know About It


What is car title washing? People with wild imagination can fancy how vehicle owner throws car title in a washing machine and add some detergent to launder it. But as you guess this car scam has nothing to do with laundering. Let’s unveil how title washing scam works.

What is car title washing?

In several state it’s required by law to «brand» the vehicles totaled in a car crash, flood, fire or other insurance claim with «salvage», «junk» or «rebuilt» titles. This not always mean that the vehicles can’t be driven. But the cars branded with such titles are sold with lower market price and it isn’t easy for dealers or car owner to sell them. Fraudulent sellers are pretty well aware that some states’ laws are indulgent towards what outlines a salvage title or don’t impede cars to be marketed from one state to another without being worried about vehicle’s past history. They take the cars to other state to have it registered without any branding, then bring back to their state and sell to unsuspecting consumers. This scam is called title washing.

What does it mean to customers?

The result of car title washing scam customers pay far more for a totaled or salvaged vehicle. They suppose that they’re purchasing a used car in good state. Often car owners know about car’s actual condition when they have completed the deal, taken the car home and started to experience different problems stemming from hidden defects. Moreover salvaged vehicles having serious damage (involving vehicle’s brakes, wiring, engine etc) can cause serious car crashes resulting in injuries and deaths.

How to avoid title washing scam?

The first step to be taken in combating title washing scam is to run a vehicle report through reliable services like AutoCheck and Carfax. They  can track the car’s history even if it was transferred to another state. A major part of title-washed vehicles preserve their VINs (vehicle identification numbers). That’s why it’s possible to track the car’s history even if it was transferred to another state. AutoCheck and Carfax reports are trustworthy as they can’t be altered by scammers.

Have the vehicle inspected by qualified mechanic who will be able to detect hidden damage and defects. Don’t care about the money spent on inspection, as this modest investment can prevent making a costly mistake.

If you have purchased title-washed car dealer fraud attorney Hovanes Margarian will help you to protect your rights.