The hardest thing to understand is how or why humans would want to deceive their own kind, or take a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy and spread that tragedy over the entire US looking for suckers, one after the other. These cars that came out of Hurricane Sandy are arriving at auction branded improperly, most have their titles fudged. In most states, cars that are destroyed by flooding are required to have their titles marked, or branded, to indicate that fact. But the crafty can figure out how to clear that branding by doing something called “Title Washing”. What’s worse, unscrupulous dealers pile their purchases on flatbeds and head straight to states like Colorado and Vermont. Really just about any state will work.
Not all states are as blind as most other states to these title-washed vehicles. Officials warned consumers in Georgia, North Carolina and Illinois, where the Secretary of State’s Office is scrutinizing title applications for cars coming in from states affected by the storm.
It’s not as if legislation hasn’t tried to require total-loss status to be permanently affixed to a car’s title, they were trying to pass this before and after Hurricane Katrina, it just never passed. In 2009, the Justice Department introduced the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, a database fed by insurers and states. It contains reports on the movement of cars sold at salvage auctions but is limited by sporadic reporting and incomplete data.
PDR Technicians on the East Coast need to be aware and hyper-sensitive to what is happening in our industry because of the dishonest that are trying to get over on our customers. In addition, how you work on these vehicle’s and if you should tell the owner is very important. For instance, are you obligated by law to report these vehicles? If so, to who? I will research that for a future post. Since no one is taking responsibility for anything, perhaps you don’t have to do a thing.