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  #1  
Old 08-12-2008, 11:07 PM
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dealer carfax scamming???

My brother has the bug for an AMG MB. He finally found a couple in the area, and since I've got the eyes for accident damage, I get dragged along. Today was the S-55.

Very obvious it was in a pretty hard wreck...trunk closed crooked, front and rear fender skits new and poorly repainted, nothing aligned right on the frontend, and then there were the pillars inside...looked like the airbags had gone off (assuming this car has pillar airbags, i dunno..but clearly they had been replaced).

But then the dead giveaway - blood stains on the seat belts (in the back seat no less!) and even more near the bottom of the rear seat. Wow, looks like i might get their detailing guy fired.

Previous AMG I looked at a week ago, a C class 55. This one also had an obvious wreck..but only to the frontend. But like the above example, the dealer handed over a "clear" Carfax. No mention of wrecks on either of these cars. The dealer w/ the C class fessed up to the wreck a day later though, as it was the owner's personal ride. The S class dealer played dumb, but just like the other car they had no problem handing out the "clear" Carfax.

So, either Carfax is completely worthless or we might have a couple of scamming dealers who print out phony Carfax sheets. I dunno..anyone else here want to join my Conspiracy Club? I did look at a BMW for a friend 2wks ago and it's Carfax didn't lie, i saw no signs of a wreck. But that was a private sale...might make all the difference.
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2008, 11:12 PM
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If the collision was not severe enough to warrant retitling the vehicle with a salvage title, how would CarFax know of the collision?
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2008, 11:21 PM
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A lot of insurance companies sell the info to carfax, and some dealer groups release info too, you'll see every oil change on the carfax sometimes. I used to work at a high end body shop, and always told my customers to pay for the repairs out-of-pocket if they were able, to avoid a bad carfax jumping up and biting them at trade in time. Some would spend $20K or more out of pocket to avoid getting a bad carfax.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
If the collision was not severe enough to warrant retitling the vehicle with a salvage title, how would CarFax know of the collision?
I've got a room temperature IQ...was hoping someone here could fill me in. I guess the Carfax people rely on local DMV's...and they in return rely on accidents that have been reported. I have no idea what that entails of course...like if repair shops are required by state laws to report damage over a certain value...or if police reports somehow make their way to the DMV. Would certainly be a red tape/data entry nightmare in either case, especially for a lowly repair shop.

Both the AMGs I looked over clearly had over $3k damage...that S-class probably closer to $12-15k in repairs. Seems to me neither car would go under "the radar"...if damage costs are even part of a DMV criteria/red flag.

edit - I guess the above poster answered most of my rant...if not all of it. Guess I'll never order up a Carfax then.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:26 PM
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I tell people a bad carfax can be damning, a good one doesn't mean doodly squat. Too many ways that the info doesn't get in the system, great tool for the preowned dept though...
1. you bring in your car to trade it in, you had a moderate wreck at some point, say $5000 damage. Even though it was repaired to a good standard, the used car manager says your car is now worth $7500 LESS because of a repaired $5000 wreck?!
2. they take the car in trade, a buyer gets on that car, sees a record in carfax of a $5000 wreck, the dealer assures him it was expertly repaired at their favorite body shop, but as a favor to the buyer, they'll knock $750 off the top of the deal.

Presto, $6750 instant money in the dealer's pocket. These are real numbers from real deals I observed at the dealership.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:43 PM
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For the record...and in case anyone from this area is looking for an AMG they should probably avoid:

- The S-55 was on Cermak Road in North Riverside, right across from Toys 'r Us. I think a Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealership.

- The C-55 was at the Honda dealer in Oak Lawn on 95th St.
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:39 AM
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I trusted Carfool when I bought my Vette. After I had it a while, I noticed signs of it having been crashed. Got it ripped out of me when I traded it in due to the "new" paint. Never use it again.
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  #8  
Old 08-13-2008, 08:58 AM
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CarFax is a tool, not a solution. You should still do a bumper to bumper and/or pay a really good mechanic who is familiar with the line to go over it. I spent $200 on my recent purchase with my indy who gave that sucker a hell of a going-over and listed all kinds of things I missed (but hell, I'm a botanist, not a mechanic, so it wasn't that big a deal!). All were minor but added-up to quite a lot for me that I'm taking care of gradually.

That inspection + CarFax was money well spent. I think I knew exactly what I was in for and feel really good about it.
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:59 AM
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Carfax is just another tool - not the end-all and it shouldn't be taken for truth.
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  #10  
Old 08-13-2008, 09:03 AM
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It's a better investment to pay an hour or so at a known shop or dealer to to a "pre-purchase" inspection then to simply rely on Car-Fax, particularly when buying a car from long distance. We charge 1.5hrs - $190 for that. We check engine, suspension, brakes, run codes, electrical, a/c, give the body a once over.. If the dealer or individual isn't willing to bring the car here at your expense for an inspection, I'd walk away..
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:11 AM
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I was looking at a 1993 Honda accord with 99,000 miles that came up clear on carfax. I noticed that the tach worked funny and the car had paint overspray still on the windows. I took it to a mechanic and he said he was just about 100% sure it had been wrecked and even had the odometer rolled back. Carfax showed a nice clean vehicle though. I did not buy the car.
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  #12  
Old 08-13-2008, 10:16 AM
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CarFax is only as reliable as the information they've been given.

Years ago I had a car with self-inflicted damage by a tree that I was able to drive away from, no other cars involved, no police called. Not wanting to deal with increased premiums I repaired the damage myself and drove it that way for a long time until trading it in on another car. That damage would never show up on a report.

You'd think one significant enought to have blood stains and obvious repairs would show up. With the owner's ride, I'm sure he was able to keep things hushed and got it towed to his own dealership for repair.
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2008, 01:09 PM
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Cafax is useful for screening potential cars - to eliminate the ones with obvious problems like accidents or ownership in unfortunate "salty" states.

So, with Carfax you can eliminate about 80% of the candidates right away.

The rest you have to go see in person.


Also, I will suggest that you get a better deal for your money with AUTOCHECK instead of Carfax. Carfax is known to actively hassle people for what they might consider "excessive" requests. Such as screening EBay cars.

Autocheck gives you a longer subscription run for the dollar.

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  #14  
Old 08-13-2008, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
If the collision was not severe enough to warrant retitling the vehicle with a salvage title, how would CarFax know of the collision?
Blood stains in the back seat?
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