Woman learns hard way car history reports not always up to date

A woman says she got a big surprise about the history of her car after bringing it in for repairs at the same place she bought it
April 22, 2014 8:28:16 PM PDT
Think about this the next time you purchase a used vehicle. Do you really know what you're buying? One Houston woman says she got a big surprise about the history of her vehicle, after bringing it in for the same repairs.

Buying a used car from a name brand dealership should give you peace of mind. But in this case, one woman says the place she purchased her Cadillac from wasn't up front about the history of repairs made to her car before she bought it.

October of 2012 was an exciting time in Eddrea McKnight's life.

"I purchased a 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe from Stewart Cadillac," McKnight said.

But soon after buying her dream car, McKnight says there were problems.

"I began to notice that the steering wheel was violently shaking to the point where I was afraid to drive the vehicle," she said.

McKnight tells us she brought the car back to Stewart Cadillac for repairs.

"They informed me that the steering wheel column had to be replaced," she said.

Repairs were made, but when she got it back from the shop...

"The steering would actually shake while I was driving it. So I took it back again," she said.

McKnight says over the course of a year, she was back at Stewart Cadillac eight more times for various service issues, including her repeated complaint about the shaking.

"The more I drove loaner vehicles from Stewart Cadillac, the more I realized that my car wasn't driving correctly," McKnight said.

Then in February of this year, McKnight says she discovered a bombshell after requesting to see the vehicle's full service history from the dealership.

"Approximately three weeks before I purchased the vehicle, it had been in a serious collision with over $10,000 worth of damage, and a 103 hours worth of body work that was performed on the car by Stewart Cadillac," she said.

McKnight tells us the dealership never disclosed the car was in an accident before she bought it. A CarFax provided at the time of purchase did not show the accident as well. However, after learning the car's full service history, McKnight got another CarFax this year to compare records and the accident was noted on that report.

We reached out to CarFax and they told us they didn't receive information about the accident until December of 2012, two months after McKnight purchased it and three months after accident happened. They said a CarFax is a good tool to start with, but also recommend having a mechanic inspect any used car before buying it.

So did the dealership have to disclose their knowledge of the accident and repairs at the time of sale?

"What has to be disclosed are things that the seller knows, would matter to the buyer," said The People's Lawyer, Richard Alderman.

Alderman says in this case, the law could be on McKnight's side.

"If the seller knew, maybe this isn't completely fixed, maybe this is something buyers would care about, then the seller has to disclose it," he said.

McKnight tells us she's very well aware of the law, and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which could entitle her to three times the damages if she were to bring a successful claim.

When we reached out to the dealership's attorney, we were told, "Stewart Cadillac has no comment at this time."

As for McKnight, she says she is driving a different car because she's too afraid of getting behind the wheel of the Cadillac. She is also looking into pursuing further legal action.


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