“Just the Carfax, Ma’am.”


By: Michael Wolak 
While Dragnet’s Joe Friday was interested only in “the facts,” more than 530 automotive dealers throughout the country are interested in the “Carfax.”  As of March 2014, the number of auto retailers joining the $250 million antitrust lawsuit filed last year against Carfax – the provider of used vehicle history reports – has quadrupled.  The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York City, alleges that Carfax is preventing competition and has become a monopolist in the sale of vehicle history reports through its exclusive alliances with automobile manufacturers and web-based auto retailers such as and  According to the complaint, Carfax is the provider of vehicle reports for 37 out of 40 manufacturers’ certified pre-owned programs and has a 90 percent market share, resulting in higher prices for dealers who must use Carfax reports if they wish to participate in the certified pre-owned programs.  The number of plaintiffs is expected to continue to grow as the case proceeds into the discovery phase within the next three months.  While Carfax has commented very little on the case, consumer advocate groups are encouraged by the lawsuit because increased competition will keep prices in check and ensure that vehicle history reports are more reliable.  The lawsuit could also fare very well for AutoCheck, Carfax’s main competitor.  In the meantime, though, dealerships will have to rely on “just the Carfax.”