BBB Warning: Florida customers should be cautious of cars with water damage

A car is surrounded by floodwaters on Highway 9 in South Carolina. AP Photo.

(WFLA) – The Better Business Bureau is telling customers in Florida to be careful buying cars.

“With the recent flooding throughout the Southeast, many cars that experience water damage are expected to be cleaned up and re-sold to unsuspecting consumers,” a BBB spokesperson said in a statement. “Some experts estimate that up to half of all vehicles damaged by flooding eventually return to market.”

Florida is ranked third in the country in terms of the reselling of waterlogged vehicles, BBB says, quoting a Carfax report.

Cars that have been declared total losses by insurance companies should go to junk yards, a BBB spokesperson explained. However, these vehicles are sometimes sold at auction. They end up for sale either online or at car lots.

“After a thorough cleaning and replacement of the carpet and floor mats, these cars on the surface may look as good as new. Buying a car that has been exposed to flood waters can have hidden problems, including mold and mildew, rusty wiring, computer malfunctions, airbags that don’t inflate, and more,” the spokesperson explained. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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