Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois
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U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush Vows To Help Clean Up The Dirty Business Of Car Title Washing Auto Dealers, Coalition Laud Effort To Keep Rebuilt Wrecks Off Consumers Driveways

Dec 7, 2006
Press Release

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />WASHINGTON Congressman Bobby L. Rush stood with other congressional leaders, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and a growing coalition who pledged Dec. 7 to continue their efforts to protect consumers from car title fraud. In the industry, this unscrupulous practice is also known as car title washing.

            Its a shame that the unsuspecting consumer is preyed on by unscrupulous individuals trying to make a quick buck by washing car titles of damage information, said Rush. And in the end, the only thing washed is hardworking peoples bank account. Weve got to clean up the dirty business of car title washing.

            Five million vehicles were totaled last year. Due to water damage, severe accident, theft, etc., insurance companies may declare a vehicle a total loss.  Each year thousands of these vehicles are resold at salvage auctions, rebuilt, and re-enter the market with a clean vehicle title. Unsuspecting consumers and dealers may buy these rebuilt wrecks without knowing the extensive damage to the vehicle. More than 500,000 cars were severely damaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

            There are many reasons why rebuilt wrecks are reintroduced to the market without clear tracking, explained Rep. Rush. First, many state motor vehicle titling laws are incomplete and confusing.  Second, many rebuilt cars are re-titled in a state far away from where the damage took place. Third, consumers lack timely access to the vehicle identification number or the Department of Motor Vehicle title data.

            Congress should pass legislation that would permanently red-flag these severely damaged vehicles reducing the likelihood that these dangerous cars will end up in a consumers driveway.  Additionally, any legislation should require insurance companies to reveal the reason for the total loss (flood, collision, stolen, etc.), the date of total loss, the odometer reading on that date, and whether or not the airbag deployed. 

            Rush vowed to work in Congress to help protect consumers. Working together, we can ensure that consumers have all necessary information about a vehicles history to make an informed decision so that unsafe vehicles are kept off the road, he said. I am committed to fighting for hardworking consumers by helping to clean up this dirty business of car title washing.

            Rep. Rush has been a member of Congress since 1992. For more information about Congressman Rush, please visit www.house.gov/rush