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History Report To Blame For Woman's Total Loss?

Once again, a naive person fell for the hype of both the Carfax folks and a used car huckster. It would be nice if this thread could be “stickied” so that new arrivals to the forum would see it, but I doubt that this will happen.

Regarding this aggrieved consumer, she made several fatal errors in the purchase of that car, but the most obvious one–even if the car had not burst into flames–is that she overpaid for the car. $4400 for a 12 year old Hyundai? I don’t think so!

Experience is the best teacher, so at least she now knows that a used car needs to be inspected by her own mechanic prior to purchase.

Um, were they expecting a “history report” to predict the future? Doesn’t insurance cover a situation like this? $4400 for a 1999 Hyundai? People are such fools.

Journalistic malpractice at its best!

While I agree that a so-called history report cannot predict the future, if this car had as much rust on the undercarriage as is claimed, it sounds like it was a flood car or that it was involved in some kind of accident that led to being submerged in salt water. But, unless an incident of that type was reported, it wouldn’t show up on a Carfax report.

Then the question does arise about insurance coverage. Assuming that the woman had insurance beyond just liability and collision coverage, her insurance should pay her for the book value of the car, which–unfortunately–would be far less than what she paid for it.

Has anyone actually proven there was something wrong with the car that should have been reported on the Carfax report? Why would a rusty fuel tank be on a Carfax report?

CSA, as most of us know, a Carfax report is a good indication of problems, but not an indication of a lack of problems. There’s still no substitute for a proper mechanical inspection of prospective used cars.

Being a conservative, I am surprised your attitude isn’t of the laissez faire and caveat emptor variety. Aren’t your people against government regulation of businesses?

I’ve said it more then once here…those reports are almost worthless. They MAY report a problem…but I suspect there are far fewer things NOT reported then reported.

Whitey, Whitey, Whitey, . . . Hold On A Minute Before You Go Into Assume Mode.

I saw the link to the video this morning. I thought it would start a good coversation. I began downloading it and put the link up here. I figured that about the time I could view it, others would have a chance to see it, too.

You know what Whitey ? My dial-up modem connection and my internet provider haven’t come through yet, I’m embarrassed to say. It hasn’t successfully downloaded. I have not had a chance to see it myself, don’t know if blame is even appropriate or anything. However, I’m still trying to see it and meanwhile I thought those who could watch it would fill me in on content. I have not reached any conclusion or even formed an opinion.

"Being a conservative, I am surprised your attitude isn’t of the laissez faire and caveat emptor variety. Aren’t your people against government regulation of businesses?"
What ? . . . Sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have offered no comment or opinion, yet. Besides, what does “your people” imply here that in any way relates to this video I haven’t seen ?


I haven’t been able to view it, either. The “paper”, or whatever seems to have it designed in such a way as to only be viewable in certain browsers. I cna’t see it in IE nor FireFox. I refuse to run Chrome.

Whitey, I emphatically agree with your statement that a Carfax report is a good indication of problems but not an indication of a lack of problems. Unfortunately, CarFax represents themselves as being some sort of accurate and complete representation of the history of vehicles. As you suggested, most of us know that…unfortunately, there are only a dozen of “us” denizens of the forum and over 40,000 used car sales every year. A large portion of that 40,000+ people believes CarFax to provide an accurate depiction of a used car’s history. I’ve stated many times that I believe it’s time for someone, perhaps the FTC (CarFax is involved in interstate commerce), to investigate this organization. I suspect that the finding would be that CarFax is grossly misrepresenting themselves.

It’s an even more serious problem with the flooding. Post-Katrina, there are countless used cars that were flooded that were simply allowed to dry out, gotten running again, and resold without any record that they were flooded. Even where state laws require “salvage titles”, many of these cars are shipped to and reregistered in states that carry no such indication on the title. It’s called “title washing”. The feds were at one point attempting to pass legislation to establish required data on titles, and even a national database, but I don’t know what happened to the bill.

CSA, are you saying your posting of this video isn’t an expression of sympathy for this woman’s plight? My mistake. I thought it was a tacit expression of concern. I took it for granted you would at least watch the video before posting it. Oops!

Hay, this video advocates a position, and you posted it. I guess I gave you more credit than you deserve.

I was finally able to view the video in IE9, but only after leaving the site and then returning about 30 minutes later. When I first opened that link, nothing that I did was successful in getting the video to run.

Whitey, Thanks !

She buys a dozen years old car from a salt water location (Tampa, FL) without an inspection and thinks that CF is supposed to be the automotive equivalent of the Psychic Friends Network? Not.

Would it be CF’s fault if a timing belt snapped, the master cylinder or fuel pump failed, an ignition module went south, or a tire blew out? No.
Journalistic malpractice is the key phrase on this story.

A partial cut and paste from CF’s site is pretty clear cut to me. Even CF states repeatedly their service reduces, aids, helps avoid, may prevent, etc, etc problems but there is no guarantee.

The exclusive CARFAX Buyback Guarantee reduces the risk involved in buying a used car. If the CARFAX Report fails to include a DMV-issued branded title (such as salvage, fire or flood damage, and odometer problems), CARFAX may buy the vehicle back for the full purchase price*. You can also use the free CARFAX Lemon Check to help avoid cars with problems.

In addition to getting a CARFAX Report, before you buy a vehicle we recommend taking a test drive and having the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic.

"She buys a dozen years old car from a salt water location (Tampa, FL) without an inspection and thinks that CF is supposed to be the automotive equivalent of the Psychic Friends Network? "

Actually it WAS the equivalent of the Psychic Friends Network…They couldn’t even predict their own demise.

OK4450, Thanks For The Synopsis And Perspective.

When I bought our last car I was given these reports whether I wanted them or not. I never put that much stock in them, but I found that I would be foolish not to read them. I actually let a pretty good deal slip away because I couldn’t get past the fact that the car had 2 owners in its relatively short life (and the spare had been on the ground). Neither owner had the car a year. Too many unanswered questions.

I went with a lower miles unit that had 1 distinct and identified owner. It’s not what the report doesn’t contain that is useful, but what it does contain can be. The service records can be enlightening, too, for the same reason.


Note that the buyer drove the car for some time with strange noises coming from the back.
She was negligent for ignoring sound of the gas tank rattling around.

I feel sorry for the lady; she was took by the used car dealer who terribly overcharged her. But she can’t blame Car Fax, it reported what HAD BEEN reported…which apparently was nothing. It IS “buyer beware” in the used car world. Funny everybody doesn’t know that by now.

I feel bad for the lady too, seems like a lot of misunderstandings. If chunks of stuff is falling off your car, be it new or used, clean carfax or not, you have it checked before the whole thing goes up in flames.

As others, I have looked at these reports when buying cars. Recently I let go of a great deal on a used car just because of rapid cycling through 3 owners. I just couldn’t live with the thought of having a lemon and thinking that I will know what the problem was at some inconvenient moment/way.

Psychic Friends Network? Hilarious! If only I hadn’t bought that car from Dionne Warwick!