Don't get soaked buying a flood-damaged car

June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014 -  CALGARY, ALBERTA - Last week a "Classic Car Fraudster" was caught trying to peddle a pretty, but damaged flood car to unsuspecting buyers. BBB says the effects of flooding in southern Alberta reach beyond the devastation of house and home and is warning consumers not to let it find its way into your driveway. 

Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, says even though a year has passed, consumers still need to be wary of shady salespeople. "We are urging new and used car buyers to be cautious of unscrupulous businesses and individuals who may try to sell flood-damaged cars without revealing the vehicles' history," she says. "It's unfortunate, but it happens, and we'd like to make sure consumers in our area know what to look for when buying a car after the floods."

BBB recommends the following tips to help consumers determine if a car is flood-damaged:

  1. Ask to see the title of a used car. Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a flood-damaged area and if the title is stamped "salvage."
  2. Check the Vehicle Identification Number. Visit to verify that the VIN has not been listed as stolen. 
  3. Check dashboard gauges. Ensure they are accurate and look for signs of water.
  4. Test the features. Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work. Also, flex some wires under the dash to see if they bend or crack, since wet wires become brittle upon drying and can crack or fail at any time.
  5. Check for rust and other damage. Look at the trunk, glove compartment, and beneath the seats and dash for signs of mud, rust or water damage.
  6. Look for discolored, faded or stained upholstery and carpeting.Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.
  7. Check for odors. Look for a well-defined line, or watermark and for musty odors resulting from mildew.
  8. Check out the dealer's reputation. Check the reliability of the dealer by contacting BBB.
  9. Get it in writing. If you decide to buy the car, obtain written documents including the bill of sale. This will determine important details which are outlined on Alberta Transportation's website at 
  10. Before buying any used car, always get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. The extra cost may save you money in the long run if major problems are discovered.

 For more consumer tips, visit 

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Media contact:

Leah Brownridge
Marketing and Communication Coordinator, BBB


About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually. 

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