Ask for the ‘fax? Prove it with Pruitt’s

Don’t fall for the “‘fax” – Tell them to prove it and take it to Pruitt’s!


By now, everyone is familiar with Carfax – the company that prides itself on empowering customers with the “facts” of a vehicle’s history. With catchy commercials and a sleek report featuring a simple green box or yellow caution symbol, is it any wonder that used car dealers proudly tape such print outs to the driver’s windows on every car in their lot?



But what happens when vehicle histories are incomplete?  The short answer is car owners don’t really know what they are buying. 


The truth is companies like Carfax and Autocheck do not always get it right. For various reasons, none of these companies that specialize in tracking auto history can ever compile a complete record for every car. In some cases, car repairs are done at home or by a mechanic who does not report to these agencies. In others, timing is a factor: the car hits the lot before information makes its way to the report. In any event, for what it’s worth, auto history companies don’t claim to have the full record to begin with. 


Sure, their advertisements do a good job of implying such claims. But when you look more closely, you’ll notice they stop short of making the assertion that their report represents the full story. The problem, as Consumer Reports and ABC indicate, is that some car lots conveniently assume the report is accurate. At times, a salesman might outright (and wrongfully) say the report is the “facts.” Sometimes, when confronted by the truth, they might pass the buck and put the onus on the reporting agency. 


This game of “enthusiastic reliance” on auto reporting agencies and backpedalling (if caught) can be more than frustrating to car owners. It is one thing to discover your “new to you” car was previously damaged. It’s entirely another to learn the damage was so severe that your car is unsafe. 


Not only is there potentially lots of money at stake – lives could be on the line. 


So, what is a buyer to do? Are we really living in an era when we cannot trust dealerships and reporting agencies at their word?


Well, as the Latin phrase caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) reminds us, such an era has never really existed. Aside from laws designed to ensure goods are fit for their intended use, it is common for used cars to be sold “as is.” Unless there is evidence a seller actively concealed damage, remorseful buyers won’t have many options.

Customers who are wary of the inherently lopsided balance of information related to the car up for sale should ask specific questions and do more than simply kick the tires. 


It is common to take a potential auto purchase to a trusted mechanic for an inspection.  Mechanics are experts when it comes to, well, the mechanics of a vehicle. But they aren’t necessarily savvy at spotting body damage – especially in this age of easily-replaceable fenders and bumpers. Indeed, what is required is a trusted auto collision repair expert. 


Unfortunately, most folks don’t encounter an auto collision repair shop until they are in an accident. Only then, once the experts have a chance to assess the damage, does the truth come out. And this situation can be frustrating for the owner. 

Sometimes, the damage can be so severe that the car shouldn’t have been sold in the first place. In minor cases, it could mean extra repairs that insurance will not cover (since it isn’t related to the most recent incident). 


Pruitt’s Auto Collision has a team of experts who are trained to spot previous damage. Don’t wait until an accident to have your vehicle inspected. Pruitt’s offers free inspection services for customers in the process of buying a car. So, just as you would schedule a mechanical inspection with a test drive, remember to schedule a body damage inspection, too. 


Next time you’re on the car lot don’t bother falling for the Carfax. Tell them to “prove it” and take it to Pruitt’s.