JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When you're in the market for a used car, it's promoted as a report you can trust. But can you truly trust what's in your Carfax report?
The answer to that question is clear in the eyes of William Ireland: no.
The report he received from Carfax in March 2012 after buying his Ford Escape gave the vehicle a clean bill of health. But two years later when Ireland went to trade in the Escape, the dealer pulled a Carfax report that said otherwise.
"I was a little in shock because we knew that when we purchased the car, it didn't show any accident," Ireland said.
Ireland called Carfax and was told the accident happened in October 2011 – almost six months before he purchased the vehicle. So, he wondered, why wasn't it included in his March 2012 report?
"If we had known beforehand, maybe we wouldn't have purchased this vehicle," he said.
The company told Ireland via e-mail that sources of accident data are not required to report information, he said. But when they learn new information, they work as quickly as possible to update their database, the company said.
Ireland said that new information dropped the trade-in value of his car by $2,500. He's calling it a tough lesson learned.
"You can use it as a tool to help but it shouldn't be your only source," Ireland said.
Is Carfax responsible, though? Not according to the fine print.
In the terms and conditions of its report, Carfax says it depends on sources for the accuracy and reliability of the information in this report and therefore it can't be held responsible for errors and omission.