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Undisclosed frame damage

Six months ago, I purchased a used 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid, from a local dealer. Prior to purchasing I was shown a ?carfax? report, that stated that there were no prior issues with the vehicle. Since owning it, it has become apparent that my family needs more room and I started looking for a used small suv or crossover.

While I was out test driving a car the dealership ran the vin of my accord through the carfax site for trade value. It came back as having been in an accident in 2007 in which the airbags had deployed. I was furious, thinking the original dealer had shown me an incorrect report, turns out they use autocheck not carfax, however, when the salesman handed me the report he referred to it as a carfax report.

Since I could not get what I needed on a trade in I decided to go to carmax where they have a program that they will purchase your car even of you don?t buy from them. They do a thorough inspection and run an autocheck report.

The appraiser said there was major frame damage at one point, she even took me out side and showed me where the entire trunk was welded and that both rear quarter panels had been replaced. She also said after damage the frame will no longer crumple as intended and it could be very dangerous for any rear passengers, while I drive with my two children in the rear all the time and this causes me great concern.

I have two questions. First, is it in fact unsafe to drive with my children in the rear?

Second, do I have any case against the dealer? The welding work in the trunk was really messy and I find it hard to believe anyone who knew what to look for would miss it (of course I did not know what to look for at the time) and it was even in their body shop to have a small dent in the rear door replaced when I bought it, so it was around auto body repair men.

This is intresting seeing how the accord is unibody and everything

I can only reiterate past posts, get an inspection by an independent mechanic before purchasing a used car. The independent analysis could make you aware, it is hard to spend the extra bucks but as you have found it could have been money well spent. There is no complete answer at this point. Child safety seats are very important, unsafe is a matter of definition, you probably have no recourse against the dealer.

Thanks for the replies. I?m gonna chalk this up to another one of life?s lessons the hard way. I?ll probably trade it in at a loss and I?ll make sure to have the other vehicle inspected 1st!!

That being said muster up all your anger and facts and go to the dealer telling him you will tell everyone you know and have them tell everyone they know that unless you treat me right and resolve this unpleasant state of affairs by giving me a car of comparable standards inspected by my mechanic I will have no alternative but to tell my friends and have them tell all their friends to avoid your dealership. I am sorry things worked out as they did, but I am giving you the opportunity to work with me here, the choice is up to you.

You will probably have to cover this problem yourself if you bought the car “AS IS”. As to whether the car is unsafe that could be debateable. This appraiser may have a vested interest in making this problem appear worse than it really is so take her statements with a few grains of salt. Job One for her is to cheapen your car.

Whether the dealer knew of this damage or not is also debateable. The body men are concentrating on the job at hand (they get paid on commission so no dilly-dallying around with peripheral issues) and they may never have even looked in the trunk or given it more than a casual glance.
You should keep in mind that reports from CarFax, AutoChek, etc. are often incomplete and sometimes flat out wrong. Their main purpose in life is to serve as a sales aid more than anything else. Reliable they’re not.

I’m always amused how people think that Carfax sees all and knows all. It does not. Apparently Autocheck isn’t infallible either.

CarFax and Autocheck create the impression that they’re reporting data from some mandatory database. They are not. None exists. For all of these companys data is spotty and very often inaccurate.

Unfortunately, in most states automobile purchases are specifically “as-is” unless otherwise specified in writing. Did the salesman commit fraud? Perhaps. But good luck proving it.

The person appraising for the tradein value is motivated to find thing swrong with the car, and even to convince you that they might be unsafe a make the car virtually valueless as a trade…but creat an impression that it’s imperative that you trade immediately. Their evaluation of the car cannot be trusted any more than the word of the guy that sold you the car. The only way to find out of it’s unsafe is to pay to have it evaluated by a reputable bodyshop with no vested interests in the outcome.

Sorry to hear this happened. I’m guessing that it’s been a learning experience. Trust but verify.

Unibodies still have frames - the difference is that you don’t build the frame and then bolt a body on top of it. The frame is integrated with the body.