Johnny Cochran, famous for his defense in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, is now taking on Carfax Inc.
His Los Angeles-based law firm filed a class-action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Shelby, County, TN, against Carfax and its owner, R.L. Polk and Co.
The lawsuit allege Carfax exaggerates claims for a database service it sells to consumers and dealers that tracks whether a used-car has been involved in an accident or otherwise sustained damage.
Cochran's firm says Carfax lacks access to accident records of at least 20 states, meaning its database is incomplete and unreliable. The law firm also claims Carfax fails to disclose that to customers.
“Carfax's true abilities certainly are not what it says it has,” says Cochran colleague David McLaughlin.
Scott Fredericks, vice president-marketing for Carfax takes issue with those allegations.
“I don't understand the basis of the claims, because we do have the major accident claims in all 50 states,” he says. “We pull our data from more than 4,000 sources.”
In addition, Carfax guarantees its reports for 10% of the vehicle's wholesale value — up to $5,000 if its reports miss any major items.
“We also state right on the report that dealers and customers should have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchasing it,” Fredericks says.
Single-vehicle history reports cost customers $20, while an unlimited report costs $25.
The lawsuit was initiated by a client who purchased a Carfax report that showed the car he was purchasing to have no accident history, when, in fact, the vehicle had been in a collision.
Approximately 25,000 car dealers, both franchise and independent, use the services of carfaxonline.com and sell vehicle history reports to their customers.