Glendale man shocked to learn Carfax misreported his truck's odometer mileage
GLENDALE, AZ (3 On Your Side) - Michael Silva needed a truck for his new pressure washing business. “I was desperate for a truck, and it served its purpose,” he said. “It got me the jobs.” But after several months, the Glendale man and his wife, Maria Valles, tried to trade it in for a newer model.
“They pulled a Carfax and indicated in the Carfax [the odometer] had been rolled back,” Valles said. In February 2014, the reported mileage on the vehicle topped 100,000, according to the vehicle history report. A few months later, it tumbled back to about 61,000 miles. “It was a shock,” Valles said.
The couple contacted 3 On Your Side. “Just because there’s suspicion of it, no matter if these are the correct miles or not, it depletes the value of the vehicle quite a bit,” Silva said. In fact, Silva was offered thousands less than what he still owed on the truck because it had been flagged for potential odometer fraud.
3 On Your Side’s first call was to the dealership where Silva purchased the truck. The dealership uses a Carfax competitor called Autocheck by Experian. On that report, there was no indication of odometer rollback on Silva’s vehicle, so we went back to the Carfax report. If you take a closer look at all of the entries, everything is consistent. The truck was registered and regularly maintained in Nevada. All of a sudden, two entries in Virginia pop up with that much-higher-than-expected mileage, and then entries resume in the Southwest with lower mileage. We asked Carfax to investigate.
“In this particular case, our team was able to review the data, and they were able to remove those service records from Virginia,” said Emilie Voss, a spokesperson for Carfax. “They were found to be in error, and so we removed them from the report immediately.”
According to Voss, Carfax has about 27 billion records and loads an estimated five million new records every day. She acknowledges mistakes are possible. “It is incredibly rare, but it does happen, so that’s why we have a team in place to research these cases and see if there is a correction that needs to be made,” Voss told 3 On Your Side. A review can typically be completed in days, but sometimes the research may take up to a month or more. Car owners who request a review should be prepared to provide documentation. The mistakes can be as simple as a human error with the vehicle identification number or VIN.
“It’s a long number, and it’s pretty easy to transpose numbers or get one wrong, so just because it’s on your report doesn’t mean it’s for your vehicle,” said Jim Garnand, the owner of Hi-Tech Car Care in Phoenix.
For drivers, it is also important to remember that vehicle history reports only show the services that have been reported. “Most businesses will report. Almost all the car dealerships report. But if you do your own maintenance or were in a small accident and repaired it yourself, it’s not going to be reported anywhere,” Garnand cautioned. “But it is a pretty good guide and gives you a pretty good idea of how well the vehicle was maintained.”
With 3 On Your Side’s help, Silva’s Carfax is fixed, and if he still wants to trade in his truck, he will get what it’s actually worth.
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