CarFax was clean on my used car, but dealership says prior damage voids my warranty!

Bought a used Toyota from a BMW dealership (it was a trade-in) still under warranty with a clean CarFax report and no salvage title. Took it to the dealer to fix some terrible squeeking and when they looked up my VIN# on their system, it turns out the previous owner had driven over a median causing transmission and chassis damage, so now my warranty is void for any problems in that region. What can I do??

CarFax does not have all the information, so it’s not surprising this wasn’t on the report. Did you pay for the CarFax? Does CarFax offer any sort of guarantee or warranty? I’d start there. How about the BMW dealer - any guarantee there?

This is why I use CarFax only to eliminate potential purchases (bad CarFax = walk away). A ‘clean’ CarFax means next to nothing. Buyers should have the car checked by an independent mechanic, even if the CarFax is clean.

If this wasn’t reported to police or insurance co. C.F. probably wouldn’t have a record of it.

Carfax is a valuable marketing tool for dealers.

If Carfax reports a vehicle had a incident, then you know it had an incident.

If Carfax doesn’t report a vehicle had an incident, then you still have no idea whether the vehicle had any incidents or not.

First off…CarFax only reports what was reported to them. If the damage wasn’t reported to them then they can’t report it to you.

I have a problem with this…something must be missing.

First the Dealer says that the previous owner had driven over the median causing the transmission and chassis damage. They looked this up ON their computer. If that is true then they MUST have known about this damage BEFORE they sold you the car…and by law they MUST have reported that damage to you before you bought the car.

They are voiding the warranty because they KNEW about a problem before they sold you the car…Something is wrong here…Either this dealer is the sleaziest dealer I’ve ever heard or you’re not telling us the whole story.

The OP stated they bought the car from a BMW dealer and is probably referring to a Toyota dealer that entered the VIN and came up with the report that the vehicle was damaged. This is what I infer from the story, anyway.

“CarFax only reports what was reported to them”

Not exactly true…CF searches records for accidents, insurance claims, etc. by using the VIN of the vehicle. But I do agree with you on the dealer…something is not right there.

Warranty will never pay for anything damaged due to a collision and the OP has learned that Carfax is more of a marketing tool than anything else. Like the ASE discussion, it’s about perception.

As to whether the dealer knew about this problem that’s debateable. I take this to mean the OP took it to a Toyota dealer.
In the event the OP is referring to the same BMW dealer then it’s possible at least the dealer may not have known of this damage. That depends on the degree of separation between the service dept. and the sales dept. and there’s often a chasm there.

I wonder if this squeaking was present during any test drive and whether in the excitement of buying another car it was overlooked or brushed off?
That being said, my gut feeling is that this problem may not even be serious. With wintertime here sway bar bushings can harden and squeak, creak, and groan badly due to cold hard rubber. Maybe a simple application of some lubricant to those bushings will shut them up.

 [b] still under warranty [/b] 

What warranty?  Toyota? BMW?  Dealer? "Extended Warranty*" 
What does the warranty say it covers or dose not cover?

There are very few real extended warranties and they are generally only given for certain issues with certain cars by the manufacturer.
  • Extended warranties are really just expensive insurance policies. Not warranties.

I wonder what the “chain” was in regards for the information about the previous owner driving over a median to get into Toyota data base, and how the selling Dealer did not know that this car would be denied warranty for items related to the previous owners mishap.

Was the car sold to you as a car that had “full factory warranty”? if it was and the selling Dealer knew this was not true perhaps you have room to recover.

One possible guess: The original owner damaged the car. They took it into a Toyota dealer thinking that warranty would cover it. That dealer marked the claim as denied in the Toyota database. The owner then decided to trade the car instead of fixing it. Probably, the original owner did not tell the BMW dealer they traded it to about the damage.

Did you register your CARFAX buyback guarantee within 90 days of purchase? If not, you are out of luck. Here’s what they guarantee:

Not exactly true…CF searches records for accidents, insurance claims, etc. by using the VIN of the vehicle.

Yes and no.

In order for CF to search these records they must be allowed to search. Most of that information is NOT public record. All that data is private.

Insurance companies especially will NOT all you to search their database. What they do is CF PAYS them a fee for the claims. The insurance companies then give them a data dump from their data warehouse. CF can NOT just go into the insurance companies databases and retrieve data…

As for mechanical failures…this MUST be reported to them by the mechanic. There is no other way CF can get this information.

If the car runs ok, then drive on. Don’t buy used again. I had my lesson, not very expensive however, back around 1982.

Meanwhile I think that the BMW dealer owes you guarantee coverage if he sold you the car with the assumption that the Toyota factory guarantee was good. He is the person who got fleeced, not you. It is fairly certain that the car went through a complete inspection by the BMW dealer before it was put on their lot. If it needed work, they would have repaired it or sent it to the auction.

It may be possible that everything is ok except that you have no warranty as mentioned and there may be some cosmetic damage underneath the car. You have not said that there is a functional problem.

I didn’t infer that…When I buy a car from a dealer if there’s a warranty problem I take it back to the dealer where I bought it from.

Look at car fax website and contact them directly.

Unfortunately, unless the dealership misrepresented the vehicle and you can prove it there really is nothing you can do. In most states (check with your Consumer Protection Office of your State Atty Genersl’s office) used car sales are specifically defined as “as-is” sales. It’s truely “buyer beware”. It’s always prudent to get any used car under consideration checked out thouroughly by your own shop, including a look-see underneath.

Carfax has successfully presented themselves as being a resource of the history of individuala cars. They give the impression that they draw data from some sort of universal databases or accident data from insurance companies. No such database exists, and they have no such insurance database access, nor do they have any access to state databases. They can only compile what’s volunteered to them. In my own experience their data is spotty, inaccurate, and often just plain incorrect. IMHO they fraudulently represent themselves. I truely wish that some consumer protection agency public or private would audit them. I suspect the audit would ahow that they’ve been misrepresenting themselves.

It would be interesting to know too if the BMW dealer, having chosen to keep what he thought was a quality car for sale rather than send it off to the used car dealer’s auction, if there is a written report on the condition of the car in the BMW dealer’s file for his legal protection if something went wrong with the car and a customer decided to sue for damages.

Such a written report could be used by the dealer to show that he made a good faith effort to ensure that the car was good and if there is such a report, what did it say about the condition of the car as viewed by their mechanic? It would be entirely reasonable to put a car on a hoist for at least a quick look underneath.

Note the CF buyback only applies to vehicles with title issues, as in clean title when it should be a rebranded Salvage or Rebuilt title.