A recent article in the Los Angeles Times discusses a new online database that will help California auto consumers find the history of the used cars they are purchasing, hopefully preventing the sale of more California lemon automobiles.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau is creating a free public database of vehicles declared unrecovered, a total loss, or stolen by insurers. The new free database will allow individuals to enter vehicle identification numbers, or VINs, to see if the used auto they want to buy has a hidden history.
The crime bureau is a not-for-profit organization that receives support from approximately 1,000 property/casualty insurance companies. The organization partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the identification, detection and prosecution of insurance criminals.
The VIN check system can be found at www.nicb.org.
One of the aspects that makes the database so appealing and sets it apart from commercial databases that sell similar information, is that the crime bureau’s database will have access to the internal records of hundreds of the nation’s largest insurance companies and will be offering the most comprehensive information available anywhere. Insurance carriers like State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Progressive, Mercury, Geico, and the Auto Club have already joined the database, with more to follow.
It is estimated that over the last five years, nearly 12 million vehicles have been totaled by the insurance industry, most of them after accidents and collisions, but also after fires and floods. As many as 30% of these vehicles (according to collision industry experts) are recycled into the used car market. In California alone, at least 7% of all the vehicles on the road are salvaged from a “total” loss.
Used car fraud in California is forbidden by the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which prohibits used-vehicle dealers and most other retailers in California from using unfair and deceptive business practices to sell their goods. That means dealers may not lie to or mislead customers and are legally obligated to disclose any material defect in the car, which includes a past wreck or a former life as a rental. If you're a victim of used-car fraud, call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today at (855) 341-2611 for a free evaluation of your case.