Dealers and customers regularly rely on CarFax and Autocheck when evaluating the purchase and sale of a car. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen customers allege that a dealer told them the car wasn’t in an accident when in fact it was. Where does the dealer get this information? Third-party vehicle history reports. Watch the video below to learn how Georgia law treats reliance on those reports. Here’s a hint…it isn’t in your favor.
Below is a transcript of the video:
Now, let’s talk about Carfax, Auto Check, and the other available options to verify vehicle history. First off, they’re inherently unreliable. Are they accurate? Most of the time they are accurate. However, they come with a number of disclaimers. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve any recourse from Auto Check, Carfax, or anybody else for any incorrect disclosures or incorrect information. Carfax, they all disclaim all of that, meaning that 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. So that’s number one. I’m using Carfax as an example, but it applies to all of them. Number two, if the dealer is showing a history report as part of the disclosures to the customer of everything relating to the history of the vehicle, it’s really important to get the customer to sign that history report. I recommend that the customers initial each page of the history report and the dealer save that. Too often, I have seen in my practice dealers show me as proof that the customer knew. The dealer shows me a signed Carfax from the customer indicating that the customer acknowledged receipt of the Carfax, reviewed it, and sure enough, there is an accident listed on the Carfax. Too often I see just the last page, just the signature page, and not the entire Carfax report. That’s not particularly helpful because it doesn’t show me, the judge, or a jury what exactly the customer saw on the Carfax.
All it shows us is that the customer signed the last page of the Carfax. So if a Carfax is provided, it is important to get the customer to sign each page of that Carfax so that 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, like we’ve talked about in prior videos.
Signing each page of the Carfax report and maintaining that in the customer file is very helpful.
For more videos on the Georgia Car Law Authority series, please visit www.georgiacarlaw.com.
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