Car buyers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may rely on CarFax vehicle history reports when purchasing a used car. However, the information on a given report may not always be accurate. In some cases, the reports may neglect to make note of serious accidents or significant repairs made to a vehicle. In others, a report overstates the damage caused in an accident, which can reduce a car's value.
One man was offered $14,000 to trade in his Audi by a dealership after a CarFax report determined that the vehicle had been in an accident. However, the vehicle had only a small ding on the bumper, and the man had hoped that he would receive $17,000 for his trade. In another incident, a man sued CarFax after buying a 2000 Ford Mustang that had a clean history report. In reality, the car had been in a major accident resulting in structural damage.
The claim turned into a class-action lawsuit that was eventually settled in 2014. Each customer received a $20 voucher, and the lead plaintiff refused to accept his after expressing anger with the settlement. A spokesman for the company has urged consumers to have vehicles inspected prior to buying them. The spokesman also said that CarFax reports are only as good as the information available when they are created.
If a vehicle has hidden damage or has been tampered with prior to being purchased, a car dealer might have engaged in a fraudulent act. It may be possible to seek compensation to recoup the cost of purchasing the vehicle or making repairs after it was acquired. In the event that a defect causes an accident or otherwise causes bodily harm, an injured victim may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other costs.