The warning is the second issued by the state in recent weeks, with the Department of Commerce and Insurance encouraging flood victims to be cautious when hiring contractors. Unfortunately, scam artists may use this time to fleece unsuspecting consumers.
Flooding can cause damage to a vehicle's computer and electrical systems, as well as potentially causing brakes and airbag systems to malfunction. The Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission advises consumers to only buy from dealers that hold a Motor Vehicle Dealers License issued by the Commission. To search for a license, visit http://verify.tn.gov
If you are thinking about buying a used car, follow these tips to avoid buying a car with flood damage:
— Examine the car yourself. Check throughout the car, including under the seats for signs of mud or rust. Examine the carpeting to see if it is discolored or faded. If the carpeting is mismatched, it may be a sign that components have been replaced. Check for a mildew smell.
— Test-drive the car on hills, highways and in stop-and-go traffic. Make sure all warning lights and gauges work properly. Test lights, wipers, turn signals, radio, heat and air conditioning several times to make sure they work properly.
— Ask for the car's maintenance record.
— Have the car inspected by a reputable mechanic.
— Buy only from a reputable dealer. Ask the dealer if the vehicle is flood damaged and get the answer in writing at the time of the sale.
Other legislative issues:
n Four more counties were approved this week to receive public assistance due to flooding. Residents in Cannon, Giles, Marshall, and Pickett Counties may now apply for FEMA assistance by registering online at www.fema.gov
Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Public assistance is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures.
n Lawmakers discussed at length on Thursday an amendment that would restrict the use of traffic cameras. A study committee formed last year regarding the issue and met over the summer of 2009.
The proposal put forward by the study committee was ultimately rejected by the General Assembly. The amendment adopted Thursday prohibits local governments from installing traffic cameras after January 1, 2011 unless adopted by ordinance or resolution.
The bill,to which lawmakers attached the amendment, was then deferred until Monday.
n Senate Bill 440, passed by the House Monday night, would require felons who have had their voting rights revoked pay all court costs and any restitution owed in full in order to have their voting rights restored.