The Attorney General's office is warning of used cars flooded in Hurricane Sandy showing up in Washington state. (AP file)

Hurricane Sandy damaged cars resurfacing in Washington

Remember those pictures of all the flooded cars after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast? The Attorney General's Office and Better Business Bureau warned Wednesday some are showing up for sale in Washington state.

"Don't be fooled by shiny paint and a ‘new car' smell," says Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "Unscrupulous sellers will use every trick in the book to clean up and sell totaled vehicles. If buyers aren't careful, the cars they end up with could be loaded with hidden and serious problems."

While the AG's office has received just one formal complaint, officials say it's likely many others have gotten taken for a ride.

"That's usually an indicator when we get one complaint there are probably more vehicles out there that are coming in and have been flood damaged," says Mary Lobdell, a senior attorney in the Consumer Protection Division of the AG's office.

While flood damaged cars may look normal, they almost always have serious problems beneath the surface such as chronic mildew or corroded wires, Lobdell says.

If you're buying a used car, the AG's office recommends researching the title and vehicle identification number at the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, and/or CARFAX, ‘Totaled' cars get a new title marked with the word ‘salvage' or ‘flood,' but sometimes just a coded letter or number.

Lobdell says if you think you got a flood damaged car, dealers will often take the car back or you can file a complaint with the Attorney General's office.

Josh Kerns, Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for
Top Stories

  • Bunker Hideout
    Investigation reveals bunker on wanted couple's Yelm property
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.