When you’re looking at a new car or are visiting a used car lot, you may ask to see a CARFAX or other documents about the vehicle you’re interested in. That paperwork tells you a lot about the car, but it may not tell you everything that there is to know about the vehicle.
This is why it’s important for you to compare the current condition of the vehicle to the reports that you’re able to review. If you note that there are new scratches or dents that aren’t disclosed on the paperwork, it’s completely reasonable to ask where they came from and to question if the paperwork you’ve been going over isn’t complete or if accidents happened that weren’t disclosed to you.
Parking lot damage is common on car lots
Parking lot accidents are the same as any other kind in that they should be reported. The car lot would normally pursue an insurance claim or ask the person who damaged a vehicle to cover the cost of repairs. Those repairs, if they happen, should be disclosed to you.
Unfortunately, it is all too common to see a parking lot accident that no one reports. For example, someone in an accident while test driving a vehicle may end up not reporting it if it seems minor. Whether that means they got into a minor fender-bender or hit another vehicle on the lot, the damage could go unreported.
Similarly, the car lot itself may perform repairs without ever adding that damage to a more significant reporting source, like CARFAX. That hidden damage could, potentially, come back to hurt the next buyer. This is something to look out for when you’re shopping for a new vehicle. Make sure it matches the description, and do ask if there have been any accidents that weren’t reported. Lying about damage could constitute dealership fraud — and there are ways you can fight back.