COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – You need a good ride to get from point A to point B, but if you're buying a used car you might be buying its baggage too.
Robert Lowe bought a used 2007 Toyota Camry from Car City in Whiteville last summer.
Lowe said the car was in his price range and the dealership provided him with a free Auto Check report showing the vehicle had never been in an accident.
"I didn't have air conditioning in my car, so I bought the car from him," said Lowe.
Once Lowe owned the vehicle and the air conditioning kicked in, he started noticing problems. He said the paint didn't match, the tires were out of alignment, and there was something wrong with the headlights.
The problems got so bad Lowe took the car to a local Toyota dealership to be checked out. The mechanic there said the car had clearly been wrecked before and printed out a Carfax® report confirming that.
"If [Car City] had shown me a Carfax® that showed the airbags had come out on that car, I would not have bought that car," said Lowe. "I felt cheated."
Carfax® has only been around a few years, but experts say its reports are generally reliable. Still, consumer advocates say you should never make a purchase based solely on any vehicle history report.
"Nothing, nothing, nothing will beat going to a certified mechanic and having a vehicle checked out before you purchase it," said Kathy Graham with the Better Business Bureau.
Delays in inputting accident data, human error and other issues can prevent Carfax® and Auto Check from having all the data about a particular vehicle's history. The BBB considers both companies to be reputable and they each have an A+ rating with the consumer protection agency.
Car City said they offered to let Lowe trade his car in for another vehicle. They said they have been using Auto Check for two years without a problem.
We should point out the company pulled all of its advertising with WECT after we called to ask about history reports.
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