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Carfax is one of the most well-known names in the vehicle history report industry; in fact, a large majority of used or certified pre-owned vehicles come with a standard Carfax report these days, due to the company’s prolific reputation. The company was founded in 1984 in Missouri, but is currently headquartered in Virginia. It provides both private individuals and businesses with service records, accident reports, and other history on cars and light trucks that are sold in both America and Canada. Their information comes from over 90,000 sources across North America, including government agencies, auctions, registration records, inspections, warranty information, dealer reports, and service and repair facilities.


REVIEW

Like all vehicle history reporting services, Carfax relies on the accuracy of the reported information on any given car. If an accident or service was never recorded on an official document, then Carfax cannot show the entire picture of a vehicle’s history. For this reason, cars can be rated as higher than they should be by Carfax. This is something that can and does happen frequently, but at no fault of Carfax itself. In fact, Carfax itself warns consumers to use their service as one of many tools when choosing the best car to purchase.

One of the main concerns that many consumers have with Carfax is how expensive it is when you just want to check one or two vehicles for comparison. While purchasing a monthly plan option may work for those who are just beginning their hunt, if you’re using Carfax to double check on your dream vehicle before signing the papers, the price may not be worth it. However, many dealers provide Carfax reports free of charge, so this major downside could be avoided altogether by simply asking the dealer.

Another complaint is that Carfax’s customer service seems to be lacking. An overwhelming number of consumers report disappointing or outright shoddy customer service when they tried to contact Carfax.

However, for the vehicle history reporting industry, there’s no denying that Carfax has the most sources, and the most information overall on a vehicle. They have the ability to check far more data to get an accurate picture of a vehicle’s history than just about every major competitor, and that leads them to presenting a longer list of information that can help compare vehicles more accurately. In addition to standard service and accident histories, Carfax can also provide information on title changes, odometer readings, and even information on whether the car was ever rented or leased out.


RATINGS

6.4 Total Score
Great

Carfax has the most sources, and the most accurate information overall on a vehicle, but the reports on the more expensive side.

6.6Editor's score
Price
4.5
Features
9.6
Sources
9.2
Customer Care
3
6.1User's score
Price
5.6
Features
6.3
Sources
6.3
Customer Care
6.3

BRAND REPUTATION COMPARISON

Carfax
88 %
Competitors
50 %

USER ENGAGEMENT COMPARISON

Carfax
83 %
Competitors
50 %


POPULARITY TREND COMPARISON

Carfax
90 %
Competitors
50 %


PROS:
  • Large database of sources that helps inform far more points on any given vehicle
  • Most dealers or manufacturers offer a Carfax report for free when selling a vehicle

CONS:
  • Poor customer service reported frequently
  • Prices are high for individuals who just want to compare one or two cars
  • Information is limited to only what the official sources have on file; accidents or service records that the owner never reported to an official channel won’t show up





CONCLUSION

It’s hard to say if Carfax is worth it for the individual. If you can get a free report from the dealer, then by all means check out the information on the report. It’s likely to be the most detailed vehicle history report you can find from any company in the industry. While no company can promise 100% accuracy, Carfax comes as close as possible. But don’t skip the inspection or the test run on the word of the Carfax report; and if your dealer won’t offer you one for free, you may be better off sticking with the inspection and test drive results rather than shelling out for the expensive report that may not reveal the whole story anyway.

Have you had an experience with this company?  Please share your Carfax reviews below.


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  1. jordan May 14, 2016 at 9:48 pm
    3.85
    Price
    70
    Features
    80
    Sources
    80
    Customer Care
    80

    I got a carfax report with the last car I purchased. It seemed very comprehensive but I found out carfax (or any other vehicle report for that matter) does not include accidents that were not reported to police. I guess this makes sense. If the accident was not serious enough to get a police report I guess it was not serious enough to do much damage. Still, it would be nice if we could know everything that happened to the vehicle.

    + PROS: Detailed report on maintenance history of vehicle.
    - CONS: Missing some information like minor accidents.
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  2. Aaron June 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm
    4.85
    Price
    90
    Features
    100
    Sources
    100
    Customer Care
    100

    My most recent used car purchase came with a carfax. It was a great tool and made me feel good about the purchase. I could see all the maintenencce the previous owner did.

    + PROS: VERY COMPREHENSIVE
    - CONS: NO COMPLAINTS
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  3. Lan Van April 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm
    0.5
    Price
    10
    Features
    10
    Sources
    10
    Customer Care
    10

    CARFAX reported that there was structural damage done to my vehicle from an accident. This is completely false information as there was zero damage to the frame or unibody of my vehicle yet they still incorrectly reported this as an issue with my vehicle. I did not know until last week when it was pointed out to me by someone interested in my car. I have been trying to sell this vehicle for over a month unaware that CARFAX had done this and consequently I have lowered the price of my vehicle by $3k because I was getting very little responses which I blame on CARFAX incorrectly listing damages to my vehicle. I will lose $3k from selling my vehicle which is how much below the value Edmonds and Kelly Blue Books suggests the car is worth based on the features and condition of my vehicle. I have sent them several emails, called and tried to get help via chat and they have never responded. They report false information and when the I repeatedly tried to contact them to get that information corrected with documentation including a letter from the repair facility, a complete report of the work done that does not show any frame or unibody damages, photos of the damage to my vehicle and a police report the still will not respond. If you have this happen to you take them to small claims court and you will win if you can provide the proper documentation. It is a fairly simple process to file your complaint with your local county court and very inexpensive as well.

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