CARFAX uses smoke and mirrors to lure people to fork over their money for virtually useless reports.
On their main page, banner after banner proclaims "*FREE* CARFAX record check, just enter VIN". When you enter the VIN, interestingly you get to a page that will say "there are xx number of reports filed for this vehicle", with all these little reds flags next to the comment.
Thats all you get for your 'FREE' report. If you want to know what those reports say, then you have to 'PAY' for a 'DETAILED' report. This is CARFAX.COM's idea of 'FREE'. So much for 'FREE'.
When you get to the point of thinking about paying for your 'FREE' report to see what these RED FLAGS mean, your lulled and coddled into a "100% Money Back if not Satisfied". These little banners are all over the place, so you think, if I'm really not happy with this report, I can simply get a full refund. So much for the smoke, now for the mirrors.
When I received my 'FREE' report that I had to pay for, it was 90 % in error, vauge and general in content, and basically in 2 words....VIRTUALY USELESS. Only after I paid, was I able to see the 'TRUE' terms and conditions for this service. Trust me, I went back after the fact to their main page, and you can't tell what this report can and can not see.
Basicaly, only after paying, is when you see the narrow scope of information that CARFAX searches for. The vehicle I was looking up was in 2 'BIG' accidents and was 'REBUILT' 2 seperate times. CARFAX gave this car a clean bill of health. After looking at their terms and conditions, (again, only after paying can you see this) CARFAX says it mainly looks for 'totaled', 'salvaged', 'flood damage' etc...etc... .
Let's face a simple fact here, MOST cars DO NOT fall under these descriptions. Most cars have maybe an accident or two here or there if anything. You think CARFAX is giving you a detailed report, yet it can only give you the forementioned information. Certainly, your not going to get 'owner' information, that's private.
In my opinion, thats VIRTUALLY USELESS information for just about 98% of the people out there. Certainly I was NOT happy with this useless generic report.
Now comes the time for me to get my money back. It was very easy to see the many banners proclaimng '100% money back' when I was giving CARFAX my money, now? I searched link after link for information to get a refund. After looking for 30 minutes, I finally got a general phone number. I called and was told, they ONLY handle refunds via email. ARGH!!!! I emailed them and waited a few days. I do have to say CARFAX did refund my money after about 4 days, but they still have some racket going here.
In closing, please let me say, unless the vehicle your looking up was in a flood, or was totaled, your not going to get much more information than that. Yes, they 'try' to cover some other things, but again, rare and very useless. If you have the average vehicle, then save your money, these reports are not worth anything.
Free is rarely ever free.
Rochester, New York