Calgary man urges caution when using vehicle history reports like CarProof and CarFax

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WATCH: A Calgary man is urging others to be cautious of only using vehicle history reports like CarProof or CarFax when buying a vehicle. Tomasia DaSilva has details on how to avoid trouble – Oct 25, 2018

A Calgary man is urging other car and truck buyers to avoid relying solely on vehicle history reports such as CarProof or CarFax, after he said his report didn’t show an important claim on the truck he recently bought.

“I viewed the car report online, which was made available by the dealership,” Mike Etienne said. “Everything seemed OK at the time.”

But a few months later, he suspected something was off with the vehicle, so he asked for another CarProof report.

“To my surprise, there was a $10,200 insurance claim on the report that wasn’t there when I purchased the truck.

“And it was dated back to May of 2017, so we’re talking 16 months later.”

READ MORE: Alberta brings in new rules on car repairs, purchases

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CarProof didn’t specifically comment on Etienne’s case, but told Global News this kind of situation is very rare.

Shawn Vording, the vice-president of automotive sales, said the company checks four sources for damage history: provincial reports, police reports, estimates from body shops and insurance company claims.

He said the likelihood of not catching an incident such as this is very low, but it can happen.

“There are situations when the insurance companies are settling a claim and the vehicle has been repaired but it hasn’t been paid yet,” Vording said.

Sherwood Dodge, the dealership that sold Etienne his truck, said it paid for a CarProof report, which showed no insurance claims.

“The dealership buys that report from CarProof and obviously, we hope it is accurate,” president Scott Held said. “But we can only rely on CarProof’s level of accuracy.”

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AMVIC, Alberta’s automotive regulator, says CarProof is a very reputable company, but it too cautions about solely using its services.

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“The caution I would put out there is that a report can change, as it’s time-sensitive. So I think it’s important for consumers to check the date.”

Burnett added consumers should get a report as close to the purchase date as possible, and try to get a third-party inspection to be 100 per cent sure the vehicle is in perfect operating condition.

Etienne wishes he had done that, and said if he had to do it all over again, he probably would have avoided the particular truck he bought.

“The system itself is great, but it’s not a crystal ball.”

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