"Carfax" compromised? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation "Carfax" compromised?

Caveat Emptor... Before investing in online resources to determine a used vehicle's history of crashes, title changes, major repairs and maintenance, suggest you might consider the following...

A consumer advocate group claimed in a 2007 class-action settlement that Carfax consumers are being deceived by the company's claim that its vehicle history reports are based on searches of its "nationwide" database, when, in fact, the database does not include police accident data from 22 states and the District of Columbia.

If the company mentions this little gap in its coverage to prospective customers, sure haven't seen it.

The 2007 settlement allowed some former customers who complained about this to choose between a coupon for another Carfax report or a coupon for $20 off a car inspection by another company.
While Carfax's limitation is not mentioned on its Web site, the company does warn that its reports are "the first step to protecting yourself against buying used cars with costly hidden problems."
"In addition to getting a Carfax Report, before you buy a vehicle we recommend taking a test drive and having the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic," says the company.

This, and other similar information services that are ostensibly marketed as consumer protection, are rumored to be primarily funded by entities whose financial interests are actually in direct conflict with the consumer's. Even when you are paying for it, suggest following all of their money, if possible.

<Sigh> It's as if there now needs to be a consumer protection group to watch consumer protection groups!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 02:42 PM
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The database does not include accident data from those 22 states due to the states laws. Carfax has been lobbying to get those states to changes their laws. This still doesn't help you if the accident was never reported. Carfax is far from perfect, but it is better than nothing.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Does this mean that ALL vehicle history services feature the same limitation?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by DBird View Post
Does this mean that ALL vehicle history services feature the same limitation?
IMHO, I've always assumed they had similar limitations. I use CARFAX more as a tool to track ownership history.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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My apologies to Carfax for singling them out. Any publicity; positive or negative, is actually good for them.
Really, though, all of the companies in this field should make it clear up front what locations are outside of their scope, so their customers could utilize the info they pay for with a degree of strategy, plus assist in lobbying the uncooperating states into providing the complete truth.
What's the argument against providing past collision data on registered vehicles, anyway? Privacy of the owners? Cost of tracking the data? Promoting commerce?
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