Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
The Mineola law firm of Bellavia, Blatt, Andron & Crossett filed a $50 million anti-trust lawsuit for 120 auto dealerships that allege Carfax, a company that provides dealers with vehicle history reports for used automobiles, has unfairly and illegally precluded them from using the vehicle history report provider of their choice and negotiating a fair price, according to Leonard Bellavia. The lawsuit was filed on April 23 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, he said.
The plaintiffs claim that dealers have been overpaying for Carfax vehicle history reports because of the provider’s practices of tying its products to competitors such as Autotrader.com, Cars.com and nearly all of the manufacturers’ certified pre-owned programs, according to Bellavia. He thinks the reliability and integrity of Carfax’s VHR data are in question, and that as a result, dealers and consumers are hurt.
“For years, Carfax has had a stronghold on dealerships and consumers in the automotive industry by gouging dealers,” said Bellavia.
“Dealers have reached their boiling point, and this lawsuit seeks to break up this monopoly and obtain refunds for dealers, allowing for competition, so that prices go down and the quality of vehicle history reports goes up.”
representative from Carfax could not be reached for comment at press time due to a corporate event that closed its offices on May 22.
If the auto dealers win the suit, plaintiffs participating in the could recover treble damages, or three times the overcharges, for six years, as well as legal fees, Bellavia said.
Bellavia said he plans to open the case to dealerships across the country that may be interested in joining the suit.