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November 19, 2014
For immediate release

Islanders reminded to be aware of flood-damaged vehicles

Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Islanders are reminded to follow consumer safety tips after recent attempted sales of flood-damaged vehicles to unsuspecting buyers, says Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey.

“Selling flood-damaged vehicles is a serious crime. These vehicles are dangerous and should not be on our roads,” said the minister. “If a deal seems too good to be true, trust your instincts and walk away.”

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal works closely with local law enforcement and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) to report and intercept the sale of flood-damaged vehicles. The department recently identified a number of instances where Islanders were being sold flood vehicles unsuspectingly.

“Officials are working from government, policing, and the insurance industry to stop fraudulent sales of flood-damaged vehicles,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. “Even with measures in place, there are people who sell flood vehicles to unsuspecting consumers that are unsafe and have no place on the road. Consumers need to be aware and know that there are steps they can take to protect themselves.”

Flood-damaged vehicles including recreational vehicles cannot be registered in Prince Edward Island. A flood vehicle has been submerged in water at or above the bottom of the dashboard (where the floor meets the firewall). Water irreparably damages a vehicle’s electrical, braking, acceleration and steering, and can cause respiratory problems through mould growth in air conditioning, seats and carpets.

Consumers should ask to see the registration for the vehicle and if the person selling the vehicle is actually the registered owner. Check the registration and see if it has been branded Non-Repairable; Non-Repairable means the vehicle cannot be registered for the road. Check the registration to see that the registration and the vehicle being sold match, and check the Vehicle Identification Number(VIN) on the vehicle to make sure it has not been removed, ground down or altered in such a way it is not identifiable. If the seller does not have the registration, the seller is not the registered owner, or refuses to provide a Bill of Sale in their name, consumers should avoid purchasing the vehicle.

Additionally, consumers can follow these helpful tips and advice.

Tips to avoid purchasing a flood car:

1. Check IBC’s VIN Verify Service

2. Select a reputable dealer.

3. Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpets, floor mats and headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.

4. Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.

5. Check for rust on screws on the console or in other areas that water doesn’t normally reach.

6. Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting.

7. Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment and alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.

8. Check for moisture, mildew or grime inside the seatbelt retractors.

9. Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle before buying.

10. Check door speakers, as they are often damaged in floods.

11. Trust your instincts. If a deal seems too good to be true, walk away.

Media Contact: Mary Moszynski
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