Having watched the Today show or one of the morning talk shows this morning with warnings about flood cars, you have to think about two things:
- Other than “eye candy,” did the “consumer” reporter know what she was talking about?
- Did anyone on the show have the foggiest idea about flood cars and how to identify them?
Seem like funny questions?
Granted the questions outlined above may seem like they are funny, but, as they say, here’s the thing: to correctly identify a flood-damaged car takes time because the scam artists selling these beasts know their business and stay about three steps ahead of you.
First, they try to ship most of the flood cars offshore to markets where anything spelled Toyota or Honda for 60 percent off discount is sought after with a vengeance you wouldn’t believe.
That the cars may not make it 50 miles before they burn up, doesn’t seem to phase the buyers, they just know they have a 2012 Toyota Camry for thousands off.
Those who try to sell them here face hurdles that are too numerous to think about and that our “consumer” reporters really don’t have the foggiest idea about.
Our network “consumer” experts – the ones purported to be knowledgeable about cars usually are not – they are given a crash course in what they should be saying by a dealer’s shop manager and then they just parrot back the information they have been given.
That information is a global view with the usual pious platitudes:
- Look for a water mark in the vehicle
- Look for discolor carpeting
- Lift up the carpeting and see if anything creepy or crawly comes out or may just be decaying there
- Look at the leather upholstery and make sure all of the dye colors are the same
- Look under the hood and make sure there are no telltale signs of water (hasn’t anyone heard of steam-cleaning an engine – it does wonders, as does a deionizer for smells)
So what can you do? We’ll continue that one with a column tomorrow – it takes time to make sure you are safe.