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At Lefkoff Law, we’ve seen customers allege that a dealer told them the car wasn’t in an accident when in fact it was. This begs the question: where do car dealers get this information? Third-party vehicle history reports from services such as Carfax or Autocheck. Using these services comes with its own risks. In this article, we discuss how to navigate vehicle history reports and ways to protect yourself as a dealership.

If you are more of an audio/visual type, click below to watch the YouTube version of this blog.

How Reliable Are Vehicle History Reports?

Now, let’s talk about Carfax, Auto Check, and the other available options to verify a vehicle’s history. First, most of the time these reports are accurate; however, they come with a number of disclaimers, making them unreliable. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve any recourse from Auto Check, Carfax, or similar reporting businesses for any incorrect disclosures or incorrect information. Most of these reporting businesses have disclaimers on their reports absolving them of responsibility. In other words, the dealer cannot come back to Carfax later and say, “if you had this on your report, I wouldn’t have made this mistake or I wouldn’t be being sued by my customer.” Carfax is insulated from all that.

Tips for Communicating a Vehicle’s History

To protect yourself as a car dealer, it is helpful to:

  1. review a vehicle’s history report as part of the disclosures to the customer of everything relating to the history of the vehicle
  2. have customers initial each page of the history report and sign it
  3. as the dealer, you should also initial and sign the report

We’ve seen many cases where only the last page of a Carfax or vehicle history report is signed, which only shows us that the customer signed the last page and not that they necessarily read/reviewed the entire report. So if a Carfax is provided, it is important to get the customer to sign each page of that Carfax so later on, if proof is necessary, they can show that the customer was advised and was knowledgeable of the history of the car (at least as much as the dealer knew). That’s what the Carfax would indicate, unless, again, the dealer has superior knowledge of other issues.

How We Can Help

If you are looking for more support when it comes to understanding vehicle history reports or you are currently navigating an issue related to vehicle history reports, you can book a strategy session with us here. We’ll personalize your counsel and guide you through everything to ensure your business is protected. You can also find more information at

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Steven Lefkoff

Steven is the founder of Lefkoff Law and is committed to providing legal educational resources for businesses. Lefkoff Law serves Georgia-based small businesses and specializes in supporting car dealers.

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