We continually explain to our clients, Carfax is not our preferred vehicle history provider. Have you ever heard of the competing report, AutoCheck by Experian? Yes, Experian, the credit monitoring company.
Every time we hear a Carfax radio or TV ad it reminds us how much this service seems to be really geared towards dealers instead of protecting the buying public in our opinion. Carfax has all of the information but they leave out some rather important details that the competing report doesn’t. I’m sure you’ve heard, “Ask for your Carfax report, Free at thousands of reputable dealers” The truth behind this is that dealers are forced to spend big dollars to have a dealer Carfax account to offer those reports to you. Our owner/lead inspector Josh who actually owned a small used car dealership for 6 years witnessed many dealers buying their inventory at auction not really looking over the cars themselves rather actually purchasing the vehicles that have no accident/damage remarks on the Carfax report alone!
80% of the vehicles we inspect have one or more repainted/repaired panels yet show nothing on a Carfax report. Most dealers know what cars have been repainted or have been in an accident when buying them but they also know 98% of the buyers out there will only ask for a Carfax due to their advertising and not have the car pre-purchase inspected prior to purchase. Carfax does finally now recommend having an independent inspection preformed – Kudos Carfax!
PDXinspections provides each of our clients with an AutoCheck History report at minimum. This report in our opinion is the far superior report with the buyer’s best interest in mind rather than the dealers. The following story from a recent inspection, which explains and shows this very clearly.
We were recently hired to perform an inspection on a low mileage BMW M3. The dealer provided Carfax looked great, the AutoCheck report however told a completely different story. Both reports show the car was sold at auction so we know both providers have that information.
The Carfax simply reads:
07/30/2012 45,151 Auto Auction Pacific Region Listed as a dealer vehicle – Sold at auction
The AutoCheck shows:
05/30/2012 PACIFIC SW REGION 45,151 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION
06/15/2012 PACIFIC SW REGION Auto Auction AUCTION ANNOUNCED AS UNIBODY DAMAGE
06/27/2012 PACIFIC SW REGION 45,654 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION
07/30/2012 PACIFIC SW REGION 45,151 Auto Auction REPORTED AT AUTO AUCTION AS DEALER VEHICLE
08/01/2012 PACIFIC SW REGION Auto Auction AUCTION ANNOUNCED AS UNIBODY DAMAGE
Now the AutoCheck tells a completely different story doesn’t it? Why does the Carfax leave out the fact it went through the auction for 2 months without selling (red flag 1) and as well the auction actually announcing Frame/Unibody damage (red flag 2)? The Carfax will never show you if the car had a frame damage announcement at auction and won’t show you if it spent a year being bounced between auctions (which does happen).
Despite this information being provided upfront, the buyer did elect to still have us go check out the car and we quickly found the vehicle was involved in a rather hard rear end accident resulting in the lower trunk unibody/frame being replaced along with a rear bumper, and paintwork throughout the vehicle easily noticed once looking for it.
The truth is we see this kind of thing all of the time and on average cancel and refund several inspections a week alone based on our initial research including these reports. We don’t enjoy inspecting bad vehicles and know our customers will continue their searches better informed and in the end coming back to us with a better vehicle to inspect.
We will always continue to do in what we believe is best for the buying public and continue providing in what we consider the better report.