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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

CARFAX Canada: understanding the icons, lien check and accident damage sections

Feb 12

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, February 12, 2021  RssIcon

Understanding a vehicle’s history can be challenging, but CARFAX Canada reports offer easy-to-understand icons summarizing the vehicle highlights corresponding with each section in the VHR, including liens, accident damage, branding, service records, open recalls and whether the vehicle has been stolen. The icons make the report easier to understand so you can feel confident in your purchase.

A CARFAX Canada history report offers consumers an overview of a vehicle's condition and value. We've asked Shawn Vording, Vice President of Sales at CARFAX Canada, to guide us through each section, starting with report summary icons, lien check and accident damage.

Nissan

Says Shawn Vording, "Our report is reader-focused. We always test it with consumers to ensure that the design is easy to understand for first-time buyers or someone who's never seen our report. It's very consumer-centric."

While the icons are a quick reference tool representing the vehicle's highlights, the sections after allow a deeper dive into its history and condition.

For our 2011 Nissan Altima example, the icons don't alert the consumer to anything needing immediate attention. If there were serious issues, like open recalls, the icon would be highlighted in red with an exclamation mark beside it.


Understanding the lien check section

CARFAX Canada uses the car's Vehicle Information Number (VIN) to search for liens in each province and territory excluding the Northwest Territoriesꟷwhere the vehicle is and was registered.

According to Vording, the CARFAX Canada lien check is comprehensive: "if we're looking at an Alberta car that came to Ontario, we would check Alberta for a lien to make sure that somehow when the car entered Ontario, no one forgot to transfer the lien with it."

If there is a lien on the vehicle, Vording advises consumers to ensure it has been discharged. Otherwise, the consumer is assuming the responsibility of that debt.


Understanding the accident damage section

CARFAX Canada gets accident damage information from the police, past vehicle service records and government data. Collecting accident data is an evolving process. Says Vording, "We have a commitment that if data is available, it's CARFAX Canada's role to acquire it and put it into our report. As the data landscape changes, we're always adding new sources. We have a full team at CARFAX Canada dedicated to data acquisition because our goal is to try to paint the most comprehensive historical picture of a vehicle."

If the source provides CARFAX Canada with the cost of accident damage, it's listed in the report. Vording says in his twelve years with CARFAX Canada, he's seen everything from $35 damages all the way up to catastrophic events costing six figures.


Reviewing the registration and service records sections next week

Come back next week where Vording explains why some service records are detailed and others are blank, and how CARFAX Canada's open recall section differs from government-issued recalls.


Need help now?

If you need help with interpreting your CARFAX Canada's history report, contact the CARFAX Canada's support team at 1-866-835-8612.

Have questions about your car-buying rights? Contact OMVIC's Consumer Support Services team at consumers@omvic.on.ca or call 1-800-943-6002. We are here to help.


About OMVIC

As the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, OMVIC’s mandate is to maintain a fair and informed marketplace by protecting the rights of consumers, enhancing industry professionalism and ensuring fair, honest and open competition for registered motor vehicle dealers. Visit omvic.ca to learn more about your car-buying rights as well as additional tips for buying a car in Ontario. For car buying tips, check out the OMVIC Academy. You can view other resources such as multilingual videos and download the OMVIC Car-buying Guide


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