Dang it, I hate when this happens to me! But it just goes to show you that if an experienced Internet user can be scammed, just imagine how easy it can happen to Internet newbies. As I’ll show you in the screenshots, there was nothing whatsoever to alert me.
So it looks like I am going to have to get a “new” vehicle. For me, that means used. I would need to have won a million dollar lottery before I would consider buying a brand new car. That’s beside the point.
When you buy a used vehicle, it is prudent to get some background information on the vehicle and when Mr. A found a couple of vehicles he thought we should look into I started doing some research online.
Being that I’m a tightwad, I wasn’t looking forward to spending $39.99 to get one report from Carfax.com (speaking of Carfax.com I have a bone to pick with them, too) so I wondered if there was anything else available. What I found was this site… too bad they didn’t have a big warning plastered across the front page.
If you click on the image you can see a larger version and I’ve circled where it says that it will cost $1 as compared to Carfax.com costing $35.
The man at the bottom is blathering on about how this site is such a great deal, go ahead just enter your VIN. So I did.
Here is the next screen:
I’ve circled the amount which I’m agreeing to pay.
After I paid my DOLLAR, I received an email which stated that I would see a charge on my statement for CARINFO2.COM.
And that’s when I learned that instead of $1.00, I had been charged $19.95 – and my statement did not say CARINFO2.com but “CAR HISTORY”.
I logged into my account and started looking through all the areas to find why I had been charged $19.95, to find a copy of my invoice, to find how to cancel. I found nothing to answer my questions.
Eventually I found the terms and conditions of the site, and found that they are planning to charge me *$20* in six payments over the next year. Go ahead and click on the image to read the fine print.
So what should you do?
First, start out at www.vehiclehistory.GOV. This is the official site and you can find companies that are approved and legitimate. Do be aware that even the “legitimate” companies have questionable practices. For example, as I mentioned earlier my complaint about Carfax.com is that right on their front page it says “FREE VEHICLE SEARCH” — now this is completely worthless. The only thing this “search” will get you is to confirm that the VIN you have entered is a valid number and matches the car you are inquiring about.
If you want to know ANYTHING about the vehicle, you have PURCHASE a report. Read the fine print!
- One report will cost you $39.99.
- 5 reports will cost you $49.99 and you have 60 days to use
- You can get UNLIMITED reports for only $54.99!!!!! The only thing is this is limited to only 5 reports by VIN and it must be used within 30 days. The trick here is you can run “unlimited” reports if you have a license plate number.
We have used Carfax.com in the past before buying a used vehicle, I think it’s good to learn the history of a car before you buy it, and I guess when people are looking to buy a car they usually make a decision within a month’s time. I’ll be sharing more with you on this car search as we go through it.
When I visited VehicleHistory.GOV, there was one place that indicated it would cost $4.95 for a report, but it is unclear what you will actually get for that report. If I find another car I want to check into I will probably try this company.
Have you ever used Carfax.com?