Skip to main navigationSkip to News Headlines
NJ Division of Consumer Affairs
Global Navigation
Division of Consumer Affairs
The State of New Jersey Office of The Attorney General (Dept. of Law & Public Safety) The State of New Jersey NJ Home Services A to Z Departments/Agencies OAG Frequently Asked Questions
OAG Home
OAG Contact
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Office of the Attorney General Homepage Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs Highlights
Division of Consumer Affairs Topics in a A-Z List Format
Office of Consumer Protection (OCP)
New Jersey Bureau of Securities
Office of Weights and Measures
Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Professions and Occupations List
Contact the Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs in Spanish
Division of Criminal Justice
Division on Civil Rights
Division of Gaming Enforcement
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Division of Law
Juvenile Justice Commission
NJ Racing Commission
State Athletic Control Board
Division of NJ State Police
Victims of Crime Compensation Office
OPRA - Open Public Records Act
Download Free PDF Reader

Jeffrey S. Chiesa,
Attorney General

Division of Consumer Affairs
Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director



For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2012
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm
Neal Buccino


New Jersey Attorney General, Division of Consumer Affairs, Remind Used Car-Buyers to Be Wary of Flood-Damaged Vehicles

NEWARK - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today reminded consumers that when buying a used car, it is always important to check the vehicle’s history – especially if the car may have been exposed to flood damage.

“The majority of car dealers in New Jersey are honest and above-board – but we have taken action against car dealers accused of violating the law by failing to disclose past damage or other information about used vehicles,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “Consumers should always obtain a vehicle history report, and be sure they fully understand the warranty, when buying a used vehicle. That message is more important than ever, now that we’re aware of vehicles that have been exposed to Hurricane Sandy’s floodwaters.”

Flood damage can cause wide-ranging mechanical problems that may manifest long after the seller of a car has gone. Engines may begin to stall or fail in traffic. Electronic components may corrode and cease to function. Anti-lock brakes, airbags, and other components may fail and compromise the vehicle’s safety. Flooded cars may also pose allergy risks due to mold and mildew, or the risk of dangerous pathogens after having been exposed to contaminated floodwaters.

Attorney General Chiesa noted that, under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, it is illegal to advertise a car for sale without disclosing past damage, or failing to disclose past rental or fleet use of a vehicle. In 2010 and 2011, the Division of Consumer Affairs obtained separate settlements from five used car dealers who agreed to pay a combined total of $240,000, after being accused of failing to provide required information about vehicles.

The Division of Consumer Affairs offers the following Tips on Buying a Used Car:

They include:

  • Before buying a used car, look for the Used Car Buyer’s Guide, which must be posted in plain view on the car. The Guide will describe the warranty, or state whether the car is offered without a warranty.

  • Obtain a vehicle history report from the dealer, or get one yourself from a reputable source; this will let you know if their records indicate the car has been damaged in the past.

  • Test drive the car, listen for noises, and make sure all gauges, lights, air conditioning and electronic systems work. Look for signs of water or accident damage, or unusual tire wear which may indicate an alignment problem.

  • Remember that it’s unlawful for the seller to misrepresent the vehicle’s mechanical condition, or fail to disclose any material defect in the mechanical condition which is known to the dealer.

  • If you don’t like the deal being offered, or if you feel pressured, simply walk away.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.


Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Legal Statement | Accessibility Statement
NJ Home Logo
Divisional: DCA Home | Complaint Forms | Proposals | Adoptions | Contact DCA
Departmental: OAG Home | Contact OAG | About OAG | OAG News | OAG FAQs
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey
This page is maintained by DCA. Comments/Questions: email

Page last modified: