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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just a curious question. My friend was looking for an 07/08 M5. He ran across a few in Autotrader and I told him I would help him look at the car history in BMW's system through a friend of mine in Florida at a dealership.

We saw one in Manheim that sold for $38K - 2008 with 16K miles. Alpine White/Red. You know what flag that sent.

Anyways he called on it and they said the car is perfect and asking $47.5K for the car. Clean Car Fax History is being reported.

So back to my question. How can a car that has suffered a lot of damage(17K) and reported in the BMW system not show up on CarFax? What is the point of their service if they cannot catch MAJOR DAMAGE like this one. Here are the notes.

COLLISION DAMAGE DATED 06/14/09 INSURANCE AMT:$16,951.59 MI: 7,941 PER DOC. 09/09 NAT.VEH.FILE. ***NOT QUALIFIED FOR CPO & ORIGINAL OWNER PROTECTION PRO- GRAMS*** REPAIRS/DEFECTS DUE TO SUCH DAMAGES ARE NOT COVERED BY BMW WARRANTY. DATE POSTED 09/17/09

This is twice it has happened as there was another one in Florida with 12K miles asking 48K for the car. Alpine/Tan - car has MAJOR DAMAGE history as well. My friend called the previous dealership for service history and they happened to know the car very well. It was only by calling did he find out the Damage was extensive and was in the body shop for over 7 months. Hence the low miles. Over 15K in DMG yet a clean car fax.

If that is to be relied on as a starting point I would never use them.

Since he lives in Florida sometimes you have to rely on any reports that you can get when shopping.

Here is the sad part. The car in Florida was inspected and the damage wasn't caught.

Just thought I would rant about it :)
 

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That's completely absurd that a service that exists to report stuff like this is unaware of such huge repairs.

However, they rely on stuff like insurance and body shops to report the damage. If the body shop was never reported, they would never know, unless they had someone following every car on the road every day, but that isn't possible.
 
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I know a couple BMW's in SoCal which had horrible track/canyon accidents and nothing was reported to carfax when we looked at the vin for there cars. Just open the engine and start looking for welds somewhere, Car Fax buy back, not sure how well that works either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just makes you think that many people rely on this service and most consumers to be honest are not like many of us on this forum or other forums like this one. It's good to have forums like this to help each other out but many people are caught unaware.

When you have BMW making notes and the cost of the damage and CARFAR can't even catch that? I would hate to see their buy back policy. I am sure it is very strict. I heard it's near impossible to get a claim that large with them.

Accidents happens and if documented well will not deter future buyers. A fender or a door - not really that big of a deal. But MAJOR collision damage well thats another story.
 

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Well as most of you know i just purchased a M5. Me anxious to buy one and not really looking close at the vehicle i noticed that there was alot of front damage to the vehicle and the bumper/hood was not lining up no mater what adjustment i made. there was overspray everywhere and it was evidet that there was a front collision along with the rear that the carfax already mentioned. well today i am returning the vehicle and buying a new one. im just glade i have the option to bring the vehicle back with no questions asked. hopefully the next one i pick up is perfect. i would not rely on the carfax at all.
 

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I purchased an '08 550 in March of '08 with a clean CARFAX.

Upon trying to trade it for my M5, I was told by the dealership that they would not accept it as a trade due to the immense amount of repair work they had already accomplished on the vehicle. This came as a total shock to me because I had a "clean CARFAX". (My first clue should have been that this extremely low mileage / good deal car was being sold by a wholesaler). The delaership had replaced all 4 wheels and the entire suspension package as it had hit a curb at a very high speed and destroyed all of it.

I told the dealership this was ridiculious because I had a clean CARFAX. They laughed and said the owner had paid to have the repairs done in cash, then the dealership sold it at auction becuase it wouldn't pass a BMW CPO inspection. Apparently, if it isn't reported to the insurance companies, it doesn't make CARFAX.

Just my experience.

Good luck.
 

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One thing you need to realize about Carfax is that they only have access to police records, not insurance records. If the police don't show up, then it will not be on Carfax (or Autocheck) for that matter.

Carfax does take 'advantage' of the general public by implying that a clean Carfax = a clean vehicle history, but that is NOT the case and is misleading. I'm waiting for one of those Dateline shows to do an expose on the fallacies of Carfax.

Your best tool for assessing a car is a paint thickness gauge and your own eyes. With these two things, it is quite easy to tell if a car has been repaired/repainted. This is why I stopped buying cars sight unseen.
 

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Apparently, if it isn't reported to the insurance companies, it doesn't make CARFAX.

Just my experience.
Actually, if it isn't reported by the police, it won't show up on carfax (see my post above). Here's a theoretical scenario that might have happened to your '08 550i:

- Guy hits curb hard and damages wheels/suspension.
- It is a one car accident on a lightly traveled road.
- A cop may arrive at the scene, but since there is one motorist, doesn't write a report seeing that there is no property damage and driver is ok.
- Guy calls a tow truck and has it hauled to the yard.
- Makes insurance claim, car is repaired, carfax is bypassed.

Instead of being say 30% effective, carfax would be closer to 80% effective IF they had access to those precious insurance records.
 

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Car Fax or any other reporting service is really not accurate at all... When looking to buy my car found so many with no reported accidents but since I have a bodyshop I was able to notice where the cars had been painted and so...

the best way is to take the car to a mechanic or really analyze the car from top to bottom....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just stinks that auto sellers tout and put so much weight on CARFAX yet simple things like asking can sometimes yield so much more. In the case of gnirouT he got lucky that they would take back the car. Otherwise he would have been left with something he could not accept. I know repairs are getting better and better but the lack of reporting in this industry cash paid or insurance paid is alarming.

I assume the insurance information is private and thus cannot be made public but then I don't get the service history then. It's the same info as the notes made by the dealership. In the case of the first car it was noted in the service history.

Well I am glad I do not have to deal with it because the more I know about this the more I don't trust. I hate being a skeptic but craigslist and ebay has taught be that people will go to extremes to lie or steal.

Mat I hear ya. But in the case of a limited production car like the M5 one cannot always look locally. I wouldn't trust an inspection company as I have had bad experience with that in the past as well. Glad I wasn't caught unaware but almost. Gut feeling had me question the deal and it turned out to be true after a secondary inspection.
 

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If an accident is not reported to the police, it will not show up on a Carfax report. However, many people believe that a clean Carfax means a clean car, and this is not the case. In fact, there are many dealerships that I know of that simply go to auctions and pick up damaged cars with clean Carfax reports for cheap and then sell them at normal prices to uninformed buyers. It is really important to know your stuff when buying used, as things like Carfax that seem so helpful can really be completely misguiding.



afc1
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just a shame that's all that companies like CARFAX can make money on unsuspecting consumers thinking and misguiding them into thinking that a clean CARFAX is a good CARFAX and consumers have nothing to worry about.
 

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Your right...sometimes you just gotta go with your gut feeling...but your right even if you pay garages to do an inspection at times they miss alot of things...mainly cuz they dont know the car as well
 

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+1 to afc1

Carfax is simply a buying tool. It's is and can be very useful, by no means should it be considered fact. I find it helpful in the initial stage of buying but would hardly base my decision on it...unfortunately they way it's advertised many do.
 

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Just a shame that's all that companies like CARFAX can make money on unsuspecting consumers thinking and misguiding them into thinking that a clean CARFAX is a good CARFAX and consumers have nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately it goes beyond just carfax. It's the guiding principle in marketing overall - to lure the public to a product knowing they won't do the due diligence associated with really uncovering what it is all about.

In the case of Carfax, they know that 90% of all car customers are ignorant, or simply don't care to go the extra mile to confirm they are getting a good vehicle.

I'm telling you, someone needs to do an expose on the 'sham that is Carfax' (or Autocheck).
 

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Car Fax buy back, not sure how well that works either.
I could be wrong but I think their guarantee is that the car doesn't have a salvaged title and that's all. They do not guarantee the car hasn't had major damage, just that it hasn't been major enough to cause salvage status. Although they report other damage if they are aware of it, they do not guarantee any element of the report besides the salvage title status.
 

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I just returned a car because there was damage that was not stated in the carfax. Dealer took it back with no problem.
 

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I just returned a car because there was damage that was not stated in the carfax. Dealer took it back with no problem.
Nice! I would have thought the dealer would basically blow you off. What kind of damage was done? How did you find out about it?
 

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We need to get the sentimental aspect out of the equation. Somehow it all makes sense to me. I may not agree with it at all but the economics are all in check. The insurance company is in the business of making money. Before reporting damages on a wrecked vehicle they put their gem (wrecked car) on an insider auction so that they (and their insiders) can make the most $$. If and only if the insiders aren’t interested, the car may then go thru the business as usual process. All carfax and others alike tell you is what was actually reported and nothing more (example: Title Check: No record Reported to ***).

I don't blame Carfax. I blame the insurance companies, dealers and insurance companies and/or all of those involved in the scam.
 

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I just returned a car because there was damage that was not stated in the carfax. Dealer took it back with no problem.
Yea guess who is sleeping with the fish?!

Don't assume you noticed the damage and the professionals (dealer and his svc dept) missed it :nono:
 
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