7 On your side: CARFAX correction when the vehicle history report has a big error

NEW JERSEY (WABC) — It was last-minute CARFAX confusion when a New Jersey car owner discovered his vehicle history report had a big mistake that was costing him thousands of dollars.

It’s a great reminder in this age of runaway inflation that it’s more important than ever to fix errors in everything from a CARFAX to your credit report that could cost you dearly.

“We were working on our deal and then the manager came out and said, ‘Are you aware your car was destroyed? ‘” Yvonne McMahon said. “And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?'”

McMahon went to sell her Toyota 4Runner and was offered $15,000 for the 12-year-old car, until a “total loss vehicle” appeared on her history report.

“He says, ‘Yeah, in 2012 your car was flagged as total,'” she said.

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Ten years ago the car was hit on the way to Sesame Place with the kids, but it was a minor fender problem, not totaled, and it wasn’t even covered by the McMahon insurance.

“I was like, ‘This isn’t okay,'” she said. “He’s like, ‘Well, that’s going to cause you a problem.'”

This issue dropped the price from $15,000 to just $10,000 for the SUV.

With two children to raise and the price of everything rising, it was a loss McMahon was not prepared to take.

She immediately tried to contact CARFAX to correct the report.

“They can’t tell me who it is,” she said. “All they can tell me is that it’s not my insurance company.”

It takes a lot of work to correct errors on the car and credit history. You must contest each of them, in writing, with the declaring company.

When it comes to credit scores, a few points difference could mean a higher credit card or interest rate. And a mistake like a declared total loss on your vehicle could cut the price almost in half.

“Mistakes don’t happen often, but when they do, we want to improve the report, it’s true, and we don’t want to have any errors,” CARFAX spokeswoman Emilie Voss said.

Voss said they download reports from around five million sources a day, sometimes getting multiple reports on a single event.

CARFAX tells consumers to alert them to errors and check three sources for proof.

1) Your car insurance
2) Damage repair invoice or receipt
3) Police report

“Often on a police report it will say that other insurance companies are involved besides yours,” Voss said.

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CARFAX double checked and saw that the incident was just bumper damage.

“There was no total loss to the vehicle as originally reported,” Voss said. “So we removed the total loss from the vehicle history report.”

Removing that added $7,000 to the value of the car.

“We were able to put more money on a new car,” McMahon said. “Oh my God, you guys are amazing. Thank you so much, 7 On Your Side. Without you, I don’t know what I would do.”

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