Consumer Column

Over One Million Vehicles Flooded by Recent Hurricanes, Attorney General Jeff Landry Alerts Consumers to Not Get Taken for a Ride

BATON ROUGE, LA – In the aftermath of the devastating Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has issued a Public Service Announcement to protect consumers from purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle.

“Hurricane Harvey caused unimaginable damage in Texas, including flooding over 1 million vehicles; and more vehicles in the Southeast have been impacted by Hurricane Irma,” said General Landry. “These flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the streets and sold to unsuspecting Louisiana citizens.”

It is estimated that there are over 300,000 flood-damaged vehicles on the nation’s roads from past storms. General Landry is issuing 
this PSA to help prevent even more of those vehicles from traveling Louisiana byways and posing a greater danger to Louisiana citizens.

“I do not want our State’s consumers to get taken for a ride,” said General Landry. “Just because we were not in the storm’s eye does not mean we are not at risk. Fraudsters tend to cross state lines to avoid scrutiny, and they work to obtain false titles to hide flood damage.”

If you are shopping for a used vehicle, General Landry encourages you to follow these tips:

  • Be suspicious of unrealistically low prices.
  • Check for musty smells, silt, or rust which could indicate a past presence of moisture.
  • Pull back the carpet for signs of water and also take notice if the carpet looks like it was recently replaced.
  • Make sure the power locks and windows are working.
  • Observe the headlights and taillights for signs of fogging.
  • Get a mechanic’s trained eye to inspect the vehicle for water contamination.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report for free from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and know the difference between “salvage title” and “flood title.”

If you suspect a dealer is knowingly selling a flood-damaged vehicle and advertising it as a good-conditioned used car – please contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, and General Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.

Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.