In the US, millions of cars get repossessed titles each year. Private dealers and sellers can repair and sell these cars without telling buyers that their vehicles have salvage title. Although a salvage car may seem like an inexpensive option, it can also be dangerous to drive. For that reason, it is important to know the title of the vehicle.
Salvage titles are issued by a state motor vehicle agency for several reasons. If a vehicle has been in an accident and the cost to repair it exceeds 75-90% (depending on the state) of its value, this vehicle is titled as salvage.
However, a collision is not the only reason a vehicle can obtain a salvage title. Other reasons include hail damage, flood damage, and theft recovery.
Title laundering scam
Unfortunately, there are unfair sellers who hide recovered titles from buyers, although it is illegal not to disclose title information.
A common type of scam associated with ransom titles is called title laundering. Fraud involves registering the car in multiple states, usually with looser title laws. If the seller registers the vehicle in multiple states, the salvage title will eventually be removed from the title. As a result, the dealer will be able to sell this vehicle as a used car.
Another type of salvage title fraud is car clipping. The scam involves welding the ends of two wrecked vehicles.
Lost title scam
If the seller tells you that you have lost the car title and you do not request a new one because you do not have enough funds or time, then abandon this deal. Although the scammer generally sells the car at a low price, he will still pay too much for the vehicle.
How to avoid the salvage title scam?
In some cases, buying a salvage car can be a good investment, as long as you know exactly what you are buying. Salvage cars can be properly repaired and put back on the road legally. These vehicles can be titled rebuilt or salvaged.
It can be difficult for inexperienced car buyers to spot salvage vehicles. Still, you should be wary of common title scams and take steps to avoid them. First, ask the dealer to show the car’s title. Note that the wording used to indicate a salvage title may vary by state. For example, it can be called scrapped, rebuilt, or totaled. Examine the title of the car to make sure it has not been altered.
Another way to determine if the car has ever been titled as salvage is to purchase a VHR. It will help you reveal any information the seller is trying to hide, including false odometer readings, car title, and damage history.