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Dealer’s Voice: Internet useful tool in used car research

Vehicle lien searches didn’t include accident reports. It’s a feature that insurance companies didn’t provide but do now.

Published July 20, 2012

One of the benefits in buying a pre-owned vehicle from a registered car dealer in Ontario is the quality and extent of information that is available on all vehicles offered for sale.

In today’s marketplace, a vehicle’s true condition and history are revealed to prospective buyers before any transaction takes place. This type of complete transparency is a modern phenomenon in the retail car business — prior to 2000, it didn’t exist.

At our GM dealership in the 1980s and 1990s, vehicle lien searches were confined to Ontario and didn’t include accident reports. This is a feature that insurance companies didn’t provide during that era (they do now).

In 2000, an Ontario car dealer named Paul Antony purchased a number of vehicles from outside of the province. He subsequently learned that those vehicles had liens. At that time, no service existed for providing Canada-wide lien searches. Province-wide lien searches were available, but they didn’t include other provinces or the U.S.

Antony recognized the need for a service that provided transparency and communication for pre-owned vehicles in Canada. So, he and his partners launched CarProof, which happened to coincide with the dawn of a new era of greater compliance, accountability and regulations in the retail car industry.

Since 2000, CarProof has grown into Canada’s leading provider of comprehensive vehicle history reports to consumers, car dealers, provincial governments and vehicle manufacturers.

For consumers, CarProof has given car shoppers added assurance and peace of mind when buying a pre-owned vehicle. A CarProof report adds transparency and confidence to the used car buying process and helps buyers select a vehicle that’s right for them.

CarProof allows consumers to know critical information about the vehicle they’re buying, whether they’re buying from a registered dealer or from a private seller. When consumers have identified a pre-owned vehicle that interests them, they should always ask for a CarProof report.

Pre-owned vehicle inventories at new car dealerships will often promote CarProof reports in their advertisements, and CarProofed vehicles are often clearly identified on dealership lots.

For inventories that are posted online, CarProof reports are available on many vehicles directly from a dealership’s website, which is an added convenience for consumers.

CarProof offers three main vehicle history reports (Claims, Verified and Verified BC) as well as a screening tool that can be used to screen vehicles 10 years old and older for damage. CarProof searches over 100 data sources for each report and provides fully bilingual, real-time data including critical accident data, registration and branding info, full U.S. history (if applicable) and cross-Canada lien and/or security interest information in their “Verified” reports.

Readers may be unaware of the “branding” component of the report. In 2003, the Ontario government introduced a mandatory vehicle branding program to indicate whether a vehicle has been severely damaged in the past.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, “insurance companies, auto recyclers, salvagers, auctioneers, dealers and individual vehicle owners must assign a brand type to vehicles that have been damaged to the point of total loss and meet this branding criteria.” The four brand types are irreparable, salvage, rebuilt or none.

A CarProof vehicle history report can be purchased by anyone — all you need is the vehicle identification number (VIN). To get started, consumers can visit www.carproof.com, click on “Order Report.” They’ll have the choice between three vehicle history reports and one screening tool and they can select a product based on the amount of information they’re looking for.

Once the consumer has entered the VIN and payment information, they’ll instantly receive their vehicle history report or screening product by email.

Although there are other companies that provide vehicle lien and history searches, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association endorses CarProof as the most comprehensive accident and lien reports available in Canada.

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