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Buying a used Car- Show me the CarFax

Posted by attorney Brett Shainfeld

Are you buying a used car? If so, do not run the risk of buying a used car with hidden and undisclosed problems. Make sure that you request to receive a copy of the CARFAX report from the seller before you proceed with your purchase.

Many of our clients fall prey to a popular consumer fraud scam where the seller deliberately fails to disclose or misrepresents the prior accident or damage history of a used vehicle. The best type of used car is the one which has been well taken care of and has not been in any prior accidents. However, because used vehicles too frequently have an unknown history of ownership, often times the seller will misrepresent these important facts to the consumer. As a result, the wise consumer who asks the salesperson about the vehicle’s history will be provided false information.

When a used vehicle is first brought into a dealership, it will go through some form of inspection process by the service department. Most trained car technicians are able to identify whether the vehicle has incurred some type of damage by inspecting the re-painting, welding or replacement parts. Unfortunately, this information is rarely passed onto the sales people nor documented as part of the car’s history. Thus, the salesperson will pass on erroneous information to the consumer regarding the car’s prior damage and accident history so that he or she can make a sale.

CARFAX has access to approximately seven billion records from more than 34,000 sources, including motor vehicle departments for all 50 U.S. states and all 10 Canadian provinces. The company’s information sources include U.S. state title and registration records, auto and salvage auctions, Canadian motor vehicle records, rental and fleet vehicle companies, consumer protection agencies, state inspection stations, extended warranty companies, insurance companies, fire and police departments, manufacturers, inspection companies, service and repair facilities, dealers and import/export companies.

In order to avoid buying a used car with hidden and costly problems, simply ask for the CARFAX report.

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