Pennsylvania residents in the market for a used vehicle often rely on vehicle history reports, such as Carfax or Autocheck. These companies collect and compile information about previously-owned vehicles so purchasers can make informed decisions about the vehicles they want to buy. However, these reports do not always tell the whole story, so consumers may still fall victim to auto dealer fraud.
Vehicle history reports are not magical documents that appear from within the vehicle. The information comes from various entities who send accident and damage information to Carfax, including:
- Insurance companies
- Mechanics and auto shops
- Auction houses
- Warranty companies
- Other dealerships
- Vehicle owners
The accuracy of a Carfax report depends on the diligence of those individuals and agencies that report the information to the company. Unfortunately, not everyone sends those reports to Carfax or Autocheck, and those that do may not be sending accurate information. Typos and mistakes are common when a mechanic or insurance agent is rushing or bogged down in paperwork. Additionally, even accurate information about an accident or other issue may take weeks or months to appear on a car’s history report, sometimes not until long after someone else has bought the vehicle.
A consumer should always ask to see a vehicle’s history before buying. However, it is also a good idea to have an independent inspection of the vehicle to uncover any hidden flaws or damage. A dealer who intentionally hides defects in a vehicle or refuses to reveal the vehicle’s history commits auto dealer fraud. Victims of this type of deceit have the right to seek legal recourse with the help of an attorney.