We are starting to see Carfax is making a major advertising push these days telling people that if they buy a vehicle without a Carfax report that they are doomed to Automotive Dealer Hell. Of course, how many people buy vehicles on Ebay and Craigslist now with no recourse like they have when purchasing from licensed professionals? Carfax is a good resource for people, but it’s not the “end all, be all” and sometimes it’s actually wrong. What? A third-party source being wrong?
Have you ever seen an error on a credit report? They happen all the time. A Carfax report is like a credit report for your vehicle and sometimes they get inaccurate information or information that doesn’t tell the entire story. I’ve seen vehicles running through the dealer auctions and online that had a clean Carfax that I looked over and had been in an accident.
In fact, a couple years ago, a friend of mine who works as an Auto Consultant bought a Hummer at the auction and it had a clean Carfax. He did a frame and mechanical inspection on the vehicle. Sure enough, it had been in an accident. The individual seller who sold it to the dealership that ran it through the auction, didn’t want to take it back because it had a clean Carfax, but a bent frame is a bent frame.
Many dealerships in Colorado now have you sign a form that when you trade a vehicle you are still responsible for any issues that were not disclosed. This is because so many people have tried to rip off dealerships over the years with faulty vehicles. And you’re shopping for your vehicles from a private party to save money? Good luck with that because if you think licensed salespeople will lie to you, don’t think for a minute someone trying to unload their used car won’t. Which is why people work with me.
Carfax is a great tool for people to use, but be aware that you still need to check out a vehicle and make sure that it’s what it should be. On the flipside, I had a guy call me today, about his 2001 BMW 330ci that shows it has been in an accident when it wasn’t in an accident. Someone had smashed the back window and pulled the seal to get into the vehicle to steal the radio. Because it was reported to the insurance company, it was coded by Carfax as an accident, but that’s not the true story on the vehicle.
Unfortunately, especially on highline vehicles like BMW’s, Audi’s, Lexus, Mercedes, Infiniti and others, a Carfax report showing an accident can be the kiss of death! There are many reputable automotive dealers now that will not take a vehicle that doesn’t have a clean Carfax into their inventory. This is because consumers are demanding to see these reports as Gospel and the automotive dealers don’t want to sell someone’s junk either.
However, what does an owner do when the information is not correct and suddenly they can’t unload their vehicle as a trade or sell it for market value because of an innaccurate third-party report?
The only thing they can do at this time is go to the Carfax Help Center and put in a request for their report to be repaired. When enough people start losing money because of these errors, like having errors on a credit report preventing you from getting financing, I foresee the government requiring Carfax and other automotive reporting agencies will have to give these away for free. Probably once a year to the owners of vehicles, like a credit report, and be required by law to correct the errors in a timely fashion.
Until then, here’s the link to the Carfax Help Center if you need to put in a request for having your Carfax report repaired.
Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @coolcarguy