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  1. The New York Times this morning ran an article about buying cars that have been the victims of flooding. Here's a link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/automobiles/wheels/avoid-buying-flooded-car.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&moduleDetail=inside-nyt-region-5&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region Many of these vehicles end up being exported to Costa Rica and other Central American countries. Here, paint and body work, upholstery and general cleanup are done very professionally and very inexpensively. It's pretty easy for an importer to buy a flooded vehicle at a wholesale auto auction in the U.S., ship it here, have it superficially "rehabilitated" and offer it for sale at an attractive price. As the Times' article points out, the residual damage to mechanical and electrical components may not become apparent for months. In fact, exactly this was the experience of one of this Forum's regular participants some years ago when Hurricane Katrina-flooded cars started to appear here. It is also the case that vehicles declared "totaled" in accidents by insurance companies in the U.S. can be shipped here, prettied up, and sold without disclosing their histories. Again, the Times' article is relevant. The moral of the story is to do a whole lot of homework before you buy any used vehicle in Costa Rica. Read the Times' article and check all the available information sources before making a commitment. My personal recommendation: If you have the time, import a vehicle from the U.S. You'll have many more choices, access to better information about it, and the ultimate cost will be the same. While an importer may be able to buy cars cheaply at U.S. wholesale auctions, he'll pay the same shipping and "nationalization" costs (import duty, etc) as you would, and he'll add his overhead and profit. Use a container shipping company based here to import your car from the States. They have the connections and local knowledge and experience to get the job done without a hitch. And it won't cost any more.

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