Ask Andy: Clunker scams - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Clunker scams

By Andy Wise - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - You just knew it would be a matter of time before this would happen.

Vehicles traded in as a part of the federal "cash for clunkers" program -- officially known as CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) -- may be showing up for resale at dealerships and on driveways.

By law, those trade-in's are supposed to be destroyed, which is dumb, but hey, that's the rule of the law that launched the temporary program.  The resulting dip in inventory plus the feds being sluggish in reimbursing dealers have created a huge temptation for dealers to ignore the law, salvage the clunkers and re-sell them.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing that some of these cars do have records that indicate they may be on the road and being offered for sale," said Larry Gamanche, communications director for the online vehicle database  "So consumers need to be on the look-out for these clunker vehicles."

Gamanche said has now added the vehicle identification (VIN) numbers of the nearly 700,000 vehicles traded in as clunkers to its site.  The numbers came directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Dept. of Transportation's CARS database.

Before you close the deal on a used car, type in the car's VIN number at to see if it was a clunker trade.

The Action News 5 Investigators were initially concerned that's database might be inaccurate because Carfax is missing police vehicle data from 22 states and the District of Columbia.

But since the clunker vehicle information comes straight from the federal government's database, it should include every clunker that was traded in as part of the CARS program.

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