It’s not too often we discuss or review products and services but in light of a recent experience I truly felt this article was worthy of such.

Time and time again, consumers often see this furry little guy called the Car Fox on television prompting consumers to request a Carfax report prior to purchasing their vehicle.  Many people don’t even remember the commercial and wonder why there’s a fox on TV telling them to ask for one.  The original commercial was clever and entertaining but to mascot the puppet as the flagship has become a bit annoying.  As a courtesy of a YouTube user, here’s the original commercial.

The concept of Carfax was originally a great idea.  Run a vehicle identification number and receive the history of everything that car or truck has endured.  The problem is most reports are not accurate and the reports are only as good as whats reported.  “What do you mean whats reported?” you ask.  There’s no law governing incidents be reported to Carfax as Carfax is a private company that buys information from reporting agencies.  For monetary compensation, body shops, repair shops and state agencies purchase vehicle data which is crucial to the survival of Carfax.  If a company doesnt do business with them, it will never show up on a vehicle history report. History reports are continuously updated and can update many years after an incident occured if Carfax newly acquires information from a reporting company.  In other words, say you were involved in an accident somewhere in Virginia and that state does business with Carfax, that incident will eventually show up on Carfax.  Depending on the turnaround, it may not show up for several months.  If that state doesnt do business with them they you’ll neve.  You report the accident and have a reporting agency take an accident report.  Should the state of Virginia do business with Carfax then that report will be sold to them updating the file on your vehicles history. Here’s how consumers lose money.  Once the accident history shows up on the Carfax report, the value of your vehicle begins to plummet.  God forbid it was a minor and caused an airbag to deploy, the value will drop even more.

A recent experience with a personal friend left me a bit jaded.  Our friend Nate had a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox LT.  The car was involved in a minor accident about a year ago.  Repaired were the rear deck lid and bumper cover.  Not even a meter can detect the paintwork.  When he went to a local dealer to trade the vehicle in for the purchase of a new Traverse he brought me along.  Here were the numbers, average wholesale transactions when a dealer buys the car for retail was around $19K.  The trade in was $18800.  His payoff was $16300.  He was willing to accept $17500 due to the accident.  What the dealership told him was they’d take it for $15K because of the accident.  Even our cash for cars service would pay more than that.  They said he owed them $1300 for negative depreciation.  We laughed.  The reason was because of the bad carfax report.  He got something similar from other dealerships as well.  Ultimately we purchased the vehicle from him and gave him what he needed.

The crazy thing about the above story is dealers that sell cars often look for cars that have had prior collisions that weren’t reported to carfax yet in an effort to sell the car before it hits the report.  The consumer sees a clean carfax and a few years later when they sell the car they see the updated report and are perplexed how that happened.

So ultimately who is liable for the loss of your vehicle when its involved in a collision?  The answer, you.  When the insurance company fixes your vehicle due to the collision, their job is done.  Because of that accident your car just became devalued due to the accident, even if you weren’t at fault.  Once carfax says you had an accident, the value plummets and you just dont have any recourse.

Sadly, Carfax has a successful advertising campaign that has forced dealers to buy into their services with their “Show me the Carfax” slogan.  Its almost extortionist as most reports are purchased and supplied by dealers and not individual consumers.  If you don’t subscribe to Carfax it looks like your dealership is trying to hide the histories of their inventory.  The general consumer won’t pay for the report as they feel this should be a service provided by the dealer.

The bottom line, don’t always put your faith in a vehicle history report and understand that once your vehicle has been involved in a prior collision it will definitely devalue.

If you need a free appraisal or are looking to get cash for cars, please us online at our New York websitesite

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