Legal action against CarFax?

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by ElementalDragon, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    You have to keep 1 thing in mind. Kelly Blue Book is not the industry standard value guide. NADA is. Dealerships typically use Kelly Blue Book when assessing trade-ins, yet use NADA when assessing used cars being placed on the lot to sell. In most cases, the assessed value according to Kelly Blue Book is lower than that of NADA.

    According to NADA, the "clean trade in" aka "showroom condition" is only $9600USD for a Smart Fortwo Passion with Leather, Sunroof and alloy wheels. Only $9150USD for a Smart Fortwo Pure with leather, sunroof and alloy wheels. Considering it's been involved in an accident, regardless of damage done, $8,500 is in-line with the average value of $8,325 as assessed by NADA.

    NADA = National Automotive Dealers Association.
     
  2. bigpipe

    bigpipe Watson Guru

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    Hey I don't know what options your car has till your last post. So ya it's more on the book.

    http://www.kbb.com/smart/fortwo/200...0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0&isnotabs=true

    The dragon is done tastefully, I was picturing a monster painted on the hood (aka Pontiac Trans AM)
    As for the depreciation. It's on kelly also. You have to price out a new one with options. When you get to the price page to the left of the price you will see a hyper link to show you 5 year depriciation.

    I still think a female buyer private sale is you best bet to sell to :)
     
  3. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    ElementalDragon,

    Unfortunately, that's just how things work.

    If you pay out of pocket, do not involve the dealer, do not involve insurance and do not involve the police, you maintain a clear carfax.

    Always weigh the loss in value from having a dirty carfax against whatever amount you save by using insurance, etc.

    If the insurance payout is smaller than the devaluation from having a dirty carfax, just get it fixed out of pocket.

    I've done out of pocket repairs on my previous cars for just this reason.

    Eg. Driving through deep snow damaged the front plastics on my BMW, so I bought a new bumper, had it pained, swapped it myself. "Front end damage" would have raped my resale value far more than the $1500 or so I spent on parts and the hour of my time to swap it.

    For some cars, it's night and day. Especially expensive, niche, or collector cars.

    What you need to do is take pictures after any damage so you can demonstrate to a buyer that it was cosmetic/trivial/minor, and always private-sell the car. NEVER trade in. NEVER NEVER NEVER, I can't stress enough, NEVER trade in.

    Well, unless you need the $ yesterday, lol. Then trade in. But if you have any time at all, just look for a buyer. You'll come out on top by a few grand.



    I agree about ambiguity. It's the worst thing about carfax.
    A scratch from a shopping cart = back end damage.
    Getting rammed in the butt by a tahoe = back end damage.
    You get a minor insurance claim or police report, and all of a sudden you're marked.
    It's the scarlet letter, or ww2 star of david, for cars.

    -scheherazade
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  4. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon Ancient Guru

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    yea... that's the thing that pisses me off the most about the whole thing. Not that my car has an accident in it's history (well... except for the fact that it was from an ******* who had nothing better to do, a week before my birthday no less, than get stone cold sh*tfaced and whack my car that i had for about 9 months at that time).... but the fact that they don't try to figure out how severe or how minor of an incident it was. I mean... it's reported by an insurance agency or an auto body shop.... but they don't think about trying to figure out from them what was damaged, or how to contact the owner of the damaged vehicle?
     

  5. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    CarFax is just a database of insurance/warranty/police report events.

    Frankly, I don't know if their system even has any more info to give.

    I suspect that when you submit a claim, and the adjuster does their data entry, the adjuster selects an event category from a drop down box in some UI, and that's what gets registered with CarFax.

    Or maybe carfax made an artistic choice to keep all data short and sweet, so that it's more likely to be visually (size) consistent between events what have lots of data, and events that have little data.

    Or maybe they like the ambiguity. Dealerships/manufacturers could be tied into it. It depresses car values, allowing them to get used cars for less.
    Markup could be the same, but it's easier to buy and sell a cheaper vehicle.

    Or maybe [like many companies] they just assume the user is an idiot, and they provide as little info as possible to not "TLDR"/confuse the user.

    Either way, it rapes car resale values.
    Like I said, if it's a cheap fix on an expensive car : do it out of pocket, at a non-dealer shop.

    -scheherazade
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  6. BigBlockTowncar

    BigBlockTowncar Ancient Guru

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    Sorry, but it's kind of a ghetto the first thing you thought of is how can I sue my way out of my problem.

    It would probably be best if you were to just sell the SUV and jellybean privately and use the proceeds to pay down your loans and use whatever is left to pay cash for a vehicle. It wouldn't be a good idea to take an additional loan to purchase another depreciating asset.
     
  7. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon Ancient Guru

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    Sorry, but it's also not very often i'm that pissed off at pretty much anything. I think i was less pissed off when the drunken bum (who happens (or happened... who knows) to be a real estate agent who sold my boss his house) hit my car than i was on the way home from that dealership visit.

    And it's easier said than done to sell a new-ish car these days... or sell anything for that matter. If it's not either dirt cheap or brand new off the lot, doesn't seem like many people are interested in anything. I even had one guy follow me to a gas station pump one day because he saw my car was for sale and thought it would be good for his son to drive back and forth to school. Basically, his first words were "I kinda hoped you had more miles on it than you have and were selling it for less than you are."

    And i'm pretty sure even if i do sell my car, which i'm thinking about trying to do even at a slightly larger loss than i've been attempting to do so far... i'll probably wind up driving one of my parents cars around for a little while... til i can get some other crap paid off... like the parts i bought to basically rebuild my old Jeep Wrangler. Which, by the way... is awesome, but i've kinda been regretting ever since. Too bad there's basically no chance whatsoever of trading that... and probably a slim chance of selling it.
     
  8. bradbb2005

    bradbb2005 Master Guru

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    Alright, Two issues here:

    1: A Smart (to my knowledge) is a very new company compared to toyota and the resale on a toyota will stomp not only Smart but most other car companies, they have a great reputation whereas I really don't hear anything about smart as far as reliability or longevity, people want cars that last a long time and are reliable, toyotas go well above 200k miles without a hitch, I dont know about smart.

    2: CarFAX reported and accident just as it happened, why does it matter that you got one scratch that buffed out in 5 minutes or every freaking body panel was ripped off and had to be replaced, the car is still in perfect working order either way. Does it make a difference which happened? They were both repaired perfectly and in the same condition.

    In either case there is some possibility of damage beyond what is initially seen, Someone could back into you and just dent a body panel, the shop pops it back out but misses the bent unibody. It is to let someone know the *could* be more damage. The main thing carfax points out initially is if the car was damaged to the point of frame damage or even a salvage title.

    Bottom line is: You have a car that (at least in the US by a majority) does not have a reputation (bad or good) enough to compete with the outstanding reputation on Toyata and that your car was involved in some sort of accident and the damage could *Possibly* be deeper than what the original repair company found.
     
  9. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    I think the bigger issue is the devaluation from the carfax mark, not that the smart has bad resale (can't say that it does or doesn't).

    To put it into perspective.
    My R35, IF I bumped someone, and say I scuffed their back license plate frame (eyeroll), and the person in front decided to do a police report - bam, $20 grand off of my resale value right there, from a "front end collision".




    Not kidding, earlier when I was shopping for one, some people were trying to sell theirs for ~$20k under market for AGES and couldn't move their cars, after a minor scuff.
    Anyone looking at the car would say : "well, it's already a lot of money, might as well pay up more for a car I know is 'clean'."

    As a seller, even if you lowered the price a LOT, so that regular car shoppers could afford to buy it, they wouldn't be willing to afford the high maintenance costs and would fear the cost of 'unknown damages'.

    And if the maintenance costs (and unknown damage costs) are 'meh' to you, then you likely can afford one with a clean record.
    Essentially, you practically have to beg someone to buy it...

    It's an exaggerated example, since it's somewhat of a collector car, and has a high price to fall from, but still... it just underscores the impact of carfax on resale.

    -scheherazade
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  10. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon Ancient Guru

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    brad: well.... no... CarFax didn't report the accident "just as it happened", unless you mean that by they reported the date that it happened.... which surprisingly they got that right from what i remember. The problem is they don't look for, or don't request a description of what was damaged, or how it was damaged, or even anything REMOTELY specific except for what side/corner of the car was damaged. So if say, like in my case, you go to trade the car in to a dealership for a new car... they pull up that carfax, and see that accident there, you can do all the explaining you want, but they still have that same fear you mentioned. What could have potentially happened "behind the scenes". Not to mention even if you DO present them with what happened, they still probably won't change their minds on the offering price, since then they'd have to explain it to every customer who's really interested in the car.... which means that every employee on the showroom floor would potentially have to know exactly what went on to cause the damage to the car.

    And just for a bit of information for you... yes, the Smart is new... in the US. They've been in Europe for years, and are actually manufactured by Mercedes (Smart is actually a bit of an acronym.... the name originated from Swatch Mercedes Art... thankfully Swatch is no longer involved. haha)
     

  11. FaM

    FaM Ancient Guru

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    Ive worked at an auto rebuildable shop for year, my 1st 2 mustangs were rebuilt wrecks. I know about the industry and how it works.

    1st and foremost, if you dont like the deal at a dealership, walk out. If what you had on the table was reasonable, they will call you back (especially if its toward the end of the month). If you already did the "deal" its your fault, carfax shows documented data they dont imply the new value, so dealerships will use this as their pawn to negotiate lower, its up to you to keep them in check.

    Use nada and kelly blue book for your values on the trade in, unless youre buying a 40k or higher car, dont expect to get top trade in value unless its a high demand car and its spotless.

    On a side note my 08 mazda3 hatch got rear ended (to the tune of a 10k repair bill) in 2010, I fought with his insurance company that because it would have a scarred record and frame damage, though repaired, I would get lower when I went to sell the car...we negotiated and progressive wrote me a check for $1500 which was for "diminutive value"...its a little known thing and you have to do your homework if you ever get hit.

    That ties into what the dealer offered on your car, they use that as a pawn even if they have no intention of marking the car down when they go to sell it as well.

    Oh...and the kicker...ended up getting more for that mazda3 in trade than I payed for it a year prier...so the diminutive value wasnt even needed thanks to an odd used car market from the japan tsunami's...

    You really have to do your homework and be prepared to walk (they'll call you back wanting to bargain most of the time)..they just call your bluff on round 1 every time.
     
  12. Hemectu

    Hemectu Member Guru

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    $15k trade in value is the basic offering to a $30k vehicle.
    What they do is then increase the base value of the car you want to purchase.
    This makes it basically the same amount in the end for the Dealer if they only offered $10k for a trade in. You have to look at the actual cost plus markup of the car you want to buy before going to the Dealer so you know when they are exaggerating prices. It is just marketing to make you feel like your getting a good deal.

    Before you buy the car get a CarFax report AND AND AND take it to a mechanic you KNOW and have a Relationship with to look over the car.
    CarFax is just a tool Dealers use to manipulate the trade in value offering, you can't compare two deals on equal grounds as the sale is trying to do two different products.

    If the dealer or seller won't let you see a mechanic walk away and don't look back.
    You don't have to do this for Brand New cars as warranty protects you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  13. Chouji

    Chouji Ancient Guru

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    Ok to OP, i've seen this thread a few times, just thought i'd give you the 411.

    So this is it, there's nothing legally you can do to or about carfax, they are just doing their job.
    Get this, the dealer offered you a reduced price, as you said, because the car was in an accident.
    Your dispute is about how much the price was reduced, since it wasn't a major accident.
    Now then, the dealer doesn't know just how bad the accident really was. They just know it was in an accident, and carfax may not give the details.

    If you show pictures and other evidence of before the repairs, showing it was indeed just a minor accident, you MIGHT be able to negotiate for a higher payment for the car.

    The car was in an accident, carfax is reporting that it was in an accident, you're selling a car that was previously in an accident, and the car would be sold by the dealer as having been in an accident. Simple as that.

    There's nothing you can legally do to, or against CarFax.
    NOW then, if the car wasn't in an accident, and they are reporting that it was, it would be a different story. It still wouldn't goto court, but it would need to get taken care of.
     

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