Better Business Bureau: Flooded Cars Galore

By Alan Bligh

Watch out! As millions continue to clean up from Hurricane Irene and Lee, one problem will be the new wave of flood-damaged cars making their way onto the used-car market.

Flood damage may be hard to spot, yet it can permeate the vehicle and cause ongoing problems for a long time. As always, our advice is to have any used car inspected by a trusted mechanic before you buy it. You should look under the carpets to see if they are wet, damp, or muddy. Inspect the lights. Lights are expensive to replace, and a water line may still show in the housing on the lens or the reflector. And check the rubber drain plugs under the car and on the bottoms of doors. If they look as if they have been removed recently, it might have been done to drain floodwater.

Not all apps are free

Last year, approximately 11 billion mobile applications, or apps, were downloaded to tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices. But not all apps are created equal. Not all apps are free.

Your device's data plan may cover downloading apps or you may be charged per download. Some apps store a lot of personal information. Some can access phone and email contacts, call logs and other stored information on your mobile device. Your location is required for many apps to function.

Some apps use specific location data for maps, nearby coupons and information on who you might know nearby. Other apps provide this information to advertisers to build a profile and target marketing toward your specific interests.

Research auto repair service

When something goes wrong with our car, nearly all of us turn to the services of an auto repairmen. While most auto repairmen are honest, consumers need to be on the lookout for those who are trying to make a quick buck.

BBB is advising consumers to do their research before turning their car over to an auto repair service. It's important for consumers to be on the lookout for scams like overcharging on repairs, charging for labor that was never performed, and performing shoddy work.

BBB recommends that you ask as many questions as you need. Get everything in writing. Your repair bill should be itemized so if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by the guarantee. And, of course, check the company's BBB business report.

Consumers have alerted the BBB that they have received a deceptive, official looking postcard requesting a package pick-up. The postcard is green in color and comes from Express Package Services located in Whitehouse, Texas. The recipient is asked to call an "800" number to schedule a package pick-up and is provided a package number.

When the call is placed, consumers are finding that it is a solicitation for a travel agency called "Cruise - Drive - Fly" presumed to be located in Ann Arbor, Mich. Further investigation has revealed that the address is associated with a company called CDA Consulting of Tyler, Texas. This company holds a BBB rating of "F" due to having a total of 93 complaints of which 62 were not answered.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.