Hundreds of vehicles are stolen in the Bahamas every year, and many wrecked or salvaged vehicles are imported and purchased by unsuspecting used car buyers.
Salvaged vehicles can present serious safety and maintenance issues for drivers—and no-one wants to be an accessory to a crime.
In recent years unscrupulous characters have taken to importing flood-damaged or non-rebuildable wrecks and fixing them up in local chop shops for sale to as regular used vehicles.
A non-rebuildable wreck is a vehicle that has been damaged beyond repair. This is determined by the extent of the damage or when the cost of repair exceeds 60 per cent of the actual cash value of the vehicle prior to being damaged.
These vehicles make a higher than usual profit margin when they are rebuilt, repainted and sold to unsuspecting customers. The primary targets are young women who think they are getting a bargain.
Unfortunately, owners of wrecked vehicles will be unable to get insurance proper cover, and if the vehicle is in an accident the owner may discover that it is worth a fraction of what he paid for it. Also, the superficial repairs made by local chop shops ignore major structural and safety problems, and many of these cars have been known to fall apart after even slight accidents.
You should ask to see a current certificate of insurance for the vehicle and make sure that the registration document is genuine. The 17-digit VIN (vehicle identification number) on the vehicle should match the number on the registration.
The best consumer advice is that any deal that is too good to be true should be viewed with extreme caution. BMDA dealers are all legitimate businesses which pay taxes, salaries, overheads and benefits to stay in business.