A young man who bought a pickup truck in Houston is now warning buyers to follow the advice of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) before closing a deal on a used vehicle.
Kenton Basinger shelled out $14,000 for a 2012 Chevy Silverado that normally would sell for about $18,000. But the good deal he thought he was getting quickly turned into a nightmare when he realized he had purchased a pickup that had been flooded.
Watch NICB’s video here.
The NICB was contacted by the investigative reporter at KPRC-TV in Houston after the victim went to them for help. NICB determined the pickup was originally in Florida and appears to have been up for sale at a dealer there when Hurricane Irma hit the state with devastating winds and rain. The pickup was not insured at the time and no claim for flood damage was ever made. So the vehicle did not have a salvage title and did not appear in the VINCheck® database that consumers can go to to see if an insured vehicle was given a salvage title.
Instead, the truck eventually ended up in Texas where it was sold at an auction with a clean title. Basinger purchased the truck from the dealership that had bought it from the auction.
Because of the thousands of uninsured vehicles that were flooded during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year, NICB recommends potential buyers have a vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic before buying it to ensure that there is no concealed or hidden damage.
Basinger began to notice problems within days of buying the vehicle. The engine light came on and the power windows stopped working. He took it to a mechanic who said it looked like the truck had been flooded. NICB and the TV news crew were on hand to have it inspected by a trusted mechanic who found numerous signs of flood damage, including possible damage to the electronics that set off the airbags during a crash.
NICB noticed sand and debris under the bed liner and water and moisture under the floor carpets. Rust on the undercarriage had been covered up with spray paint.