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Wikipedia: Carfax (company)

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Headquarters: Centreville, Virginia, USA

A provider of vehicle history reports founded in 1984.


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Carfax (company) page on 9 August 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Carfax, Inc. is a commercial web-based service that supplies vehicle history reports to individuals and businesses on used cars and light trucks for the American and Canadian consumers.

In 1984 Carfax was founded in Columbia, Missouri, by a computer professional named Ewin Barnett III working with Robert Daniel Clark, an accountant from Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The company is now headquartered in Centreville, Virginia, with a data center operation in Columbia. Barnett was initially trying to combat odometer fraud. By working closely with the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association, in 1986 he offered the early version Carfax vehicle history report to the dealer market. These reports were developed with a database of just 10,000 records and were distributed via fax machine. By the end of 1993, Carfax obtained title information from nearly all fifty states. In December 1996, the company's website was launched to offer consumers the same vehicle history reports already available to businesses. In the fall of 1999, Carfax became a wholly owned subsidiary of R.L. Polk & Company. In 2013, IHS acquired Polk and Carfax, which added to its Automotive offerings. In 2013 Carfax introduced a free service to help vehicle owners keep their cars well maintained – myCARFAX. Car owners can track their service history, receive automatic service alerts and get critical information about open safety recalls reported for their car.

Carfax claims to have access to fifteen billion records from more than 91,000 sources, including motor vehicle departments for all 50 U.S. states and all 10 Canadian provinces. The company's information sources include U.S. state title and registration records, auto and salvage auctions, Canadian motor vehicle records, rental and fleet vehicle companies, consumer protection agencies, state inspection stations, extended warranty companies, insurance companies, fire and police departments, manufacturers, inspection companies, service and repair facilities, dealers and import/export companies.

CARFAX lists only information that is reported to them and consumers should not take this report to be a complete accident history. Not all accidents are disclosed and CARFAX uses the language "no accidents have been reported to CARFAX, the emphasis being on "reported". Consumers should not rely on CARFAX alone when checking out a used vehicle.

Additionally, Carfax includes information without context, which has resulted in misleading information being included in Vehicle History reports. For example, minor incidents which result in paint scratches are not differentiated from serious incidents that necessitate major repairs. This can often be included without the vehicle owners knowledge, and can be extremely tedious and time-consuming to correct—particularly as Carfax refuse to engage in person, and insist that everything be discussed electronically.

Although Carfax continuously expands its database and resources, some information is not allowed to be provided. Under the 1994 U.S. Drivers Privacy Protection Act, personal information such as names, telephone numbers and addresses of current or previous owners are neither collected nor reported. Carfax does not have access to every facility and mistakes are sometimes made by those who input data. In the event information is disputed but cannot be verified, Carfax allows consumers and dealerships to add information to its reports.

Class action lawsuit

In a 2006 class action lawsuit, West v. Carfax, Inc., the plaintiff claimed that Carfax violated consumer protection laws by not disclosing the limitations of their service, specifically their inability to check accident records in 23 states in the U.S. while stating that their database contains information from all 50 states. The lawsuit was settled in May 2007 in the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in Warren, Ohio. Carfax spokesman Larry Gamache said more than 10 million consumers were affected. The company asserts that it has major accident information from all 50 states and it backs up its claim with a buyback guarantee. The settlement in the West v. Carfax, Inc lawsuit was overturned and the lawyers for the class never pursued the case after that.


17 December 2014
Automotive Digest
CARFAX Top 5 UCL Technical Tips

Duration: 1:44
This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Download Automotive Digest: CARFAX Top 5 UCL Technical Tips - 2.1MB
23 December 2014

Automotive Digest
CARFAX Top 5 Used Car Listings Tips

Duration: 2:36
This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Download Automotive Digest: CARFAX Top 5 Used Car Listings Tips - 2.8MB

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