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Carfax seeking access to dealers’ customer service records

November 18, 2010

Carfax is soliciting dealers or perhaps their service mangers to obtain authorization to participate in a program that would enable the company to access a dealer’s customer service records, attorneys for the NADA said.


The authorization would permit Carfax to access a dealer’s Dealer Management System (DMS) and extract service repair information, Jim Moors and Bill Price said in a letter to dealer association presidents. Apparently, Moors and Price said, Carfax intends to use the information in its vehicle history reports. In exchange for providing this information, dealers reportedly would receive advertising and other benefits from Carfax 

The NADA advises dealers to review the program carefully, noting that access to dealer data and its use by third parties have been issues of concern. If customer information is involved, federal and state privacy laws must be complied with.


In its materials, Carfax suggests that its program complies with applicable federal and state laws. With respect to the latest data it is seeking, Carfax states that no "personal information is used."  

Nevertheless, Moors and Price said dealers should note that they are also being asked to agree to waive and release any claims against Carfax relating to the use of the inventory and service records or the Service Link program.


The attorneys said each dealer needs to make an independent decision about whether or not to participate in this program. Information about a vehicle’s history is important to dealers and consumers.  

However, dealers need to be vigilant in reviewing agreements that provide third parties with access to information in their DMS.  Therefore, Moors and Price said dealers with questions about the Carfax program should consult their professional advisors.


Dealers also should make sure that they have a policy in place that makes clear which officers or employees at the dealership have the authority to enter into agreements that allow access to dealership information.