Seattle-Tacoma’s News Tribune recently reported on a coalition meeting of lawyers and experts who say that auto fraud in Washington State is careening out of control. In addition to the horror stories of consumers who were ripped off by auto dealers and financiers, the story highlights some startling statistics. Attorney Victoria Cherniak was quoted as saying, “Consumer Reports found that of the totaled cars involved in fatal accidents, 20 percent were rebuilt and put back on the road, and 30 percent of those rebuilt cars had the totaled disclosure removed from the car’s title.” It was also noted that creditors gave dealers kickbacks totaling almost $475 million in 2007.

The coalition is urging Washington residents to contact their state legislators and demand additional consumer protections, such as a lemon law for used cars, minimum safety standards, a cooling-off period for buyers, and requirements that dealers inspect vehicles and disclose defects.