Carfax (company)

Carfax (company)

CARFAX, Inc. is a commercial web-based service that supplies vehicle history reports to individuals and businesses on used cars and light trucks for the American and Canadian marketplaces. Infobox_Company
company_name = CARFAX, Inc.
company_type = Private (subsidiary of [ R.L. Polk & Co.] )
foundation = 1984
location_city = Centreville, Virginia
location_country = USA
slogan = The most trusted provider of vehicle history information
key_people = [ Richard Raines, President]
industry = Information Technology Services
products = Vehicle history reports
num_employees = 201-500 employees
homepage = []
footnotes =


In 1984 Carfax was founded in Columbia, Missouri by a computer expert named Ewin Barnett III. [ [ Consumer News, October 10, 2006] ] Barnett was trying to combat odometer fraud, and -- working closely with the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association -- in 1986 he offered the early version Carfax vehicle history report to the dealer market. These reports were developed with a database of just 10,000 records and were distributed via fax machine. By the end of 1993, Carfax obtained title information from nearly all fifty states. In December of 1996, the company's website was launched to offer consumers the same vehicle history reports already available to businesses. In the Fall of 1999, Carfax became a wholly owned subsidiary of R. L. Polk & Co. [ [ Town and Country Auto Sales website] ]

Products and services

Carfax offers several free products and services and charges a fee for more comprehensive reports.

Free products and services

The company offers four vehicle research services -- [ Lemon Check] , [ Record Check] , [ Recall Check] and [ Problem Car] . While these services are helpful, they do not contain all of the information provided in a full Carfax vehicle history report.

Additionally, the company offers [ Hot Listings] , which provides a free search of local used cars for sale, including access to Carfax reports. [ [ CBR Online, January 2, 2008] ] Finally, the company provides [ Car Safety and Reliability Ratings] , which provides access to reviews and other data from sources such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, J.D. Power and Associates, IntelliChoice and others.

Vehicle history reports

The Carfax [ Vehicle History Report] is the company's core product. Users purchase either a single report or create an account for building multiple reports for different vehicles, allowing consumers to utilize Carfax over a period of time as they search for a vehicle. Additionally, buyers can request Carfax reports free-of-charge from auto dealers, and some automakers routinely provide Carfax reports as part of their pre-owned vehicle programs. [ [ Legacy Owners Association, "Carfax Expands Relationship with Subaru," July 27, 2007] ,] [ [ Ad Hoc News "Saturn Selects Carfax for Certified Pre-Owned Program" November 16, 2007] ] Online retailers such as [ [ " Cars Forms Alliance with Carfax" April 26, 2007] ] and Auctions International [ [ Financial News USA "Auctions International Forms Strategic Alliance with Carfax" December 5, 2007] ] have integrated Carfax reports into their websites.

Carfax reports provide different types of information. [ [ Beware of Flood Damaged Cars!] Auto Trends, September 3, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2008.] For example, reports might indicate if a car was ever titled as salvage, was flood-damaged, was reconstructed or rebuilt, or had its odometer rolled back. [ [, July 2007] ] To use the service, buyers enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for a car or light truck into the Carfax website. The service will not work for any vehicle that has a VIN of less or more than 17 digits, which includes vehicles older than 1981. Reports are broken down into nine categories: report summary, vehicle specifications, lemon check, accident check, mileage accuracy check, ownership check, recall check, warranty check and vehicle history. [ [, "Buying Tips -- Your Key to a Good Used Car"] ] Carfax guarantees customer satisfaction; however, buyers should be aware that while Carfax offers perhaps the most comprehensive data on used vehicles available, [ [ "New York Times", July 29, 2001] ] the company recommends its reports be used in conjunction with inspections by certified mechanics. [ [ "NBC4-TV" news, Washington, DC, June 1, 2007] ]

Information sources

Carfax has access to five billion records from more than 20,000 sources, including motor vehicle departments for all 50 U.S. states and all 10 Canadian provinces. The company's information sources include U.S. state title and registration records, auto and salvage auctions, Canadian motor vehicle records, rental and fleet vehicle companies, consumer protection agencies, state inspection stations, extended warranty companies, fire and police departments, manufacturers, inspection companies, service and repair facilities, dealers and import/export companies. [ [ CARFAX website/information sources] ] [ [ Carfax website re 5 billion records] ]

Although Carfax continuously expands its database and resources, some information is not allowed to be provided. Under the 1994 Drivers Privacy Protection Act, personal information such as names, telephone numbers and addresses of current or previous owners are neither collected nor reported. [ [ Drivers Privacy Protection Act, 18 USC Section 2721, Public Law 103-322] ] Carfax does not have access to every facility and mistakes are sometimes made by those who input data. In the event information is disputed but cannot be verified, Carfax allows consumers and dealerships to add information to its reports. [ [ "ABC7-TV" news, San Francisco, January 12, 2006] ]

Corporate overview

Carfax prides itself on providing a challenging and creative work environment, where t-shirts and jeans are favored over suits and ties. [ [ "Washingtonian" magazine, "Great Places to Work: Who's Best," November 2005] ] Staff events have included go-carting, scavenger hunts, softball, trivia games and other activities. A large company cafe seats 300 employees at weekly catered lunches, a company tradition that encourages better communication. [ [ "The Washington Post", "Bon Appetit for Company Morale," January 6, 2008] ] Walking through Carfax offices might reveal basketball hoops, putting greens and dartboards. [ [ "Washingtonian" magazine, "Great Places to Work: Be Part of a Team," November 2007] ] Carfax has been featured in "Washingtonian" magazine's "Great Places to Work" series. [ [ "Washingtonian" magazine, November 2005] ] [ [ "Washingtonian" magazine, November 2007] ]

In 2007, the company launched a carbon-neutral campaign at its Carfax 250 NASCAR Busch Series race, billed as the first-ever carbon-neutral stock car race. Working with the [ Conservation Fund] , Carfax has sought to offset carbon emissions generated from its day-to-day business operations, including company-supported events, corporate travel and its marketing and sales operations. [ [, August 17, 2007] ]

To keep the cost of its products affordable, Carfax has invested a new generation of customer support software that provides responses to customer questions. [ [ "Inc." magazine, "What Seems to be the Problem?," February 2008] ]

West v. CARFAX, Inc

In a 2006 class action lawsuit, [ West v. CARFAX, Inc.,] the plaintiff claimed that CARFAX violated consumer protection laws by not disclosing the limitations of their service, specifically their inability to check accident records in 23 states in the U.S. while stating that their database contains information from all 50 states [ [ West v. Carfax, Inc. and Polk Carfax, Inc.] ] . The lawsuit was settled in May 2007 in the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in Warren, Ohio [ [ It’s the Truth, but Not the Whole Truth] ] [ [ Deal in Carfax lawsuit draws fire] ] . Carfax spokesman Larry Gamache said more than 10 million consumers were affected. The company asserts that it has major accident information from all 50 states and it backs up its claim with a buyback guarantee.

Delayed History

It is also claimed that there may be delays in having the incident being reported in the CARFAX data. Fact|date=September 2008


See also

* Used car - List of vehicle history services
* Vehicle title branding
* Vehicle identification number
* Lemon (automobile)

External links

* [ website]
* [ Dealer website]

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