Neither Caygle’s collision repairer nor her insurer reported the $8,781.59 repair three years ago to CARFAX, according to KUTV. (It doesn’t elaborate on how it ascertained this.)
“It is your car, you pay for it, don’t you think that maybe entitles you to some right to know who’s saying bad things about it on CARFAX?” KUTV reporter Matt Gephardt says on the broadcast.
CARFAX refused to reveal its source and pointed out that the car had indeed received a structural repair and its disclosure was a matter of “safety,” according to KUTV, which covered the story in a broadcast and slightly different article posted June 30.
We’re not going to get into the ethics debate over what is appropriate to report to services like CARFAX and what those services owe a vehicle owner in terms of transparency. We point out KUTV’s coverage because it highlights two important issues related to collision repair and technology.
In a similar scenario to the one reported by KUTV, a collision repairer in 2015 faced getting suspended from a direct repair program after a VIN database obtained a customer’s loss information. The VIN service confirmed it didn’t get that information directly from the information provider or the repairer, leaving that shop off the hook “but it further reinforced the need for collision repair business owners to have protocol in place to maintain control of information and data generated by their business,” according to SCRS.
KUTV reported that Cagyle thought that the damage was minor; “It was just like a fender bender,” she told the station. And yet, there was structural damage, both CARFAX and the $8,781.59 repair bill itself indicate. If the general public — or worse, adjusters lacking a background in modern collision repair — doesn’t understand that you can’t judge a wreck by its cover, it’ll create more insurer-repairer friction and potentially lead to more vehicles considered driveable that shouldn’t be.