Schumer urges FTC to intensify Used Car Rule to weed out flooded vehicles

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission this past week, reiterating his concern about flooded vehicles being retailed. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Senate)

Even with all of the clashes happening on Capitol Hill nowadays, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer over the weekend delivered a letter to the Federal Trade Commission to outline his significant concerns about what the New York lawmaker dubbed, “hurricane cars.”

As a storm currently brews off of the North Carolina coast and is predicted to drift out to sea, Schumer fears scores of vehicles damaged during previous hurricanes currently are in dealership inventory. Therefore, the powerful Senator wants the FTC to increase the regulatory capability of the Used Car Rule already in place in an effort to keep flooded vehicles from being retailed.

“While the FTC has been sounding the alarm on ‘hurricane cars,’ consumers are still at risk of being duped and burdened by a financial road of ruin if they unknowingly buy one,” Schumer said in a news release distributed on Sunday. “That’s why the FTC needs to drive forward with more than a consumer warning and hit the gas on a plan that uses the ‘Used Car Rule’ already on the books to ensure that the sticker slapped on every used car in a lot details a robust ‘flood check.’

“In many cases, ethical used car dealers are already performing this kind of check anyway, as part of the inspection process, and all we are saying today is that disclosure of this information should be one of the rules before these cars are able to hit the road,” he continued.

“Whether you’re a New Yorker looking to buy in New York, or a New Yorker looking on the internet for a car parked in another state, the risk of winding up in the driver’s seat of a ‘hurricane car’ is a headache at the least, but a real danger, too,” Schumer went on to say.

Schumer cited estimates of more than 600,000 vehicles being damaged during last year’s hurricane season, including the record-setting flooding in Texas stemming from Hurricane Harvey. Schumer said that in many cases “a ‘hurricane car’ can be ‘cleaned up’ for as little as $2,000 and then sold to an unsuspecting consumer.”

So the Senate Minority Leader made his case to Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simmons in a five-paragraph letter.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the quality of so many of these vehicles ravaged by flooding during past storms and new industry data showing used car sales are surging to their highest levels in five years, I respectively urge you to reevaluate the Used Car Rule and consider incorporating a flood check as part of the required disclosures included in the Buyers Guide offered on used cars, so that consumers know up-front when cars may have been impact by serious weather elements,” Schumer wrote.

“Incorporating a flood check is the right type of sound policy that could help consumers make educated vehicle purchases, and possibly save lives,” he added.

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