CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging car buyers to be cognizant while buying used vehicles that may have been submerged in water and possibly water damaged during Hurricane Ian.

“Flood-damaged vehicles could soon enter the preowned market due to the devastation brought by Hurricane Ian in Florida and other states. It is important that consumers check a vehicle’s history. Anyone thinking of buying a car should make sure their good deal isn’t too good to be true.”

Attorney General Morrisey

The governor of Florida has described the damage brought by Ian as “historic, a weather event never before experienced by Floridians.”

By law in West Virginia, submerged vehicles are prohibited from being sold without a salvage title.

It is suggested by the Attorney General that a consumer should research a vehicle before buying, including a CARFAX and research the dealership via the Better Business Bureau.

It is also suggested that a trusted mechanic should inspect the vehicle if the vehicle is being bought from a private owner outside a dealership.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, here are some things to watch out for:

  • Check for signs of stains, mildew or sand under the vehicle’s floor mats or carpet.
  • Check for a strong odor of bleach or other disinfectants.
  • Check the title for signs of multiple owners in multiple states in a short period of time.
  • Check “as-is” paperwork and specifically ask if the vehicle was in Hurricane Ian.

For a possible purchase or a complaint, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or file a report at www.ago.wv.gov.