Dispute Carfax errors before trading-in your vehicle


Before you visit a dealership to buy a new car, make sure you know what Carfax says about the car you're trading in.

If you like a used car and the Carfax report is clean, you still shouldn't buy the car until you have a trusted mechanic inspect it to make sure the Carfax report was accurate. Errors are common, but it's not only buyers who need to beware.

Susan Wozniak loves her new Nissan but feels she got burned on her trade-in. It was a high-mileage Impala she says she owned and loved for 15 years. The car dealer offered her $1,000 for it.

"They pulled up a Carfax report and that's how I was told that they base all their trade-ins based on whatever Carfax says," Wozniak said.

The Carfax report said the car's airbag had deployed in one accident, and the car was "totaled" after another. Wozniak says that was dead wrong.

"I did have the accidents on these two such dates, but nothing like that happened; there was no airbag deployment, and there was no 'total' on my car," Wozniak said.

Wozniak says her insurance claims back up her statements. Carfax also said the car had another owner but Wozniak says she's the original and only owner. The report concluded that the car should get $670 below Kelley Blue Book value in trade due to all the problems. Wozniak knew what was coming next.

"The car dealer told me that they couldn't give me more than $500 based on their information," Wozniak said.

She filed a dispute with Carfax to have the errors removed but says the company was unresponsive and couldn't instruct her on how to proceed. She worries about others who could have a lot more to lose than she did.

"If there's a guy out there, or a person that's going to trade in a fairly decent, brand-new car and they're expecting $10,000 and they only get $30,00 based on your report, I think it's a shame," Wozniak said.

Here are steps to take to make sure this same problem doesn't happen to you.

Pay around $40 and get a Carfax vehicle history report before trading in your car.

If you find mistakes, dispute them at support.carfax.com. You must do it via email online; disputing is not available by phone.

Click on "consumer support" in the lower right-hand corner and use the easy upload link to attach your insurance claim to support your position.

Carfax says you will hear back from them within 24 hours and the error should be removed within 48 hours.

Carfax reports are a great tool, but they're not always 100 percent accurate, and they don't claim to be. So take action if you find a mistake regarding your car.


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