Giving out VIN for carfax

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Anyone else feel apprehensive about giving out the VIN through email when selling a car? Like someone emails, wants to see your car, and ask for the VIN to run carfax first? Is it like a SSN for a car? Can someone use the VIN to file a fake insurance claim or get a replacement title to claim the car is theirs? It's not like you cant just walk up to a car and read the VIN anyway. Am I being overcautious?
 
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You're being overly cautious. It's the same distorted reasoning as "blank out your license plate in photographs".
 
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Originally Posted By: FL-400S
Anyone else feel apprehensive about giving out the VIN through email when selling a car? Like someone emails, wants to see your car, and ask for the VIN to run carfax first?
Nope, never. Better still, just put the VIN in the ad itself and save your potential buyers and yourself the hassle of the email/phone call Q&A.
Originally Posted By: FL-400S
Is it like a SSN for a car?
Yes.
Originally Posted By: FL-400S
Can someone use the VIN to file a fake insurance claim or get a replacement title to claim the car is theirs?
No.
Originally Posted By: FL-400S
Am I being overcautious?
Yes.
 
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Do you cover the VIN when you park your car in public? What would prevent someone from snapping a photo of your VIN with their smartphone? If there was big VIN fraud, wouldn't you have heard about gangs that collect the VINs of cars at the shopping mall and steal the car's ID?
 
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Originally Posted By: FL-400S
Anyone else feel apprehensive about giving out the VIN through email when selling a car? Like someone emails, wants to see your car, and ask for the VIN to run carfax first? Is it like a SSN for a car? Can someone use the VIN to file a fake insurance claim or get a replacement title to claim the car is theirs? It's not like you cant just walk up to a car and read the VIN anyway. Am I being overcautious?
I've sold plenty of cars privately and have been asked to send the VIN through an e-mail before and refused to. Most arranged a meeting to look at the vehicle without any squawking, as for the others it was their loss. Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them. You need to trust your instincts, failing to do that is a self-betrayal. If you feel uncomfortable revealing the VIN in that way then don't do it. If someone is a serious buyer, and not just a looky-loo, they'll come out and take a look at it.
 
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Originally Posted By: KB2008X
Originally Posted By: FL-400S
Anyone else feel apprehensive about giving out the VIN through email when selling a car? Like someone emails, wants to see your car, and ask for the VIN to run carfax first? Is it like a SSN for a car? Can someone use the VIN to file a fake insurance claim or get a replacement title to claim the car is theirs? It's not like you cant just walk up to a car and read the VIN anyway. Am I being overcautious?
I've sold plenty of cars privately and have been asked to send the VIN through an e-mail before and refused to. Most arranged a meeting to look at the vehicle without any squawking, as for the others it was their loss. Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them. You need to trust your instincts, failing to do that is a self-betrayal. If you feel uncomfortable revealing the VIN in that way then don't do it. If someone is a serious buyer, and not just a looky-loo, they'll come out and take a look at it.
I think it's the other way around, people who use Carfax are doing their research, remember it's buyer beware. Auto dealers don't seem to have a problem disclosing it, pretty much every car on Autotrader has a VIN on it. The reason it comes in handy is if you can find a vin decoder for a particular car. For some reason, most listings like to say that it has ac, power locks, etc, but pretty much every single model of that particular model has that, they don't list if it has naviation, ABS, traction control or some other model specific item. If there's a vin decoder, you can figure all that out before you even bother wasting your time contacting the seller.
 
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Originally Posted By: KB2008X
I've sold plenty of cars privately and have been asked to send the VIN through an e-mail before and refused to. Most arranged a meeting to look at the vehicle without any squawking, as for the others it was their loss. Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them.
I have no experience with CarFax, so I'm intrigued by its service but also know we've survived without it. In any event, up here, the police have an online tool where you can run a VIN to ensure the car isn't reported stolen anywhere, and SGI allows one to check if it's been involved in collisions here. If someone does wish to run a CarFax or a check with the police or the insurer, the VIN is essential. Nothing else will do.
 
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I prefer not to give out VINs. Most of my cars are well past ten years old when I put them up for sale. They are either safe, and state inspected, but full of little bugs, or unsafe, disclosed, but full of other little bugs that may or may not bug people. Either way, a potential buyer needs to come see the car in person and make their own decision. A carfax shopper is barking waaaaay up the wrong tree. Someone who asks for the VIN is the kind of person who will show up in six months complaining about a burned out headlight, then playing the "you said" or "you sold..." game. When selling a car, you have to pick your buyer. I still sometimes give out the VIN, because it will amuse me. People who email one sentence emails asking for VIN or "whats your rock bottom price" tend to not follow through, or tend to create all sorts of issues. A person gets about three questions with me before they have to set up a time and look at the car.
 
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I never sell a car to the general public. Too many wackos. I don't want to deal with the trouble. I trade all vehicles.
 
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I don't post it in the ad, but will share it if asked. I'd rather the potential buyer do their homework before they come, rather than kick the tires then tell me they want to look that up and come back later. The last sales I've done I've already had the Carfax or AutoCheck report on the car I'm selling, so I know what they will find (and if any of it is in error) - I usually end up with some extras anyways from buying the vehicle that is replacing the one I am selling...
 
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Originally Posted By: KB2008X
Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them.
I totally disagree with this. You're only a fool if you place 100% faith that CarFax (or similar service) will reveal 100% of the vehicle's history and you stop your investigation of a specific vehicle at that. But if you approach it as another way to try to fill in the blanks and drawing a picture of the car's history and how it was treated, CarFax can be a very valuable tool. A CarFax report on top of a documented service history is a pretty powerful statement regarding the vehicle's condition and value.
 
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there is no reason not to give the vin. if a seller refuses, i consider it stolen and notify the police immediately.
 
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Originally Posted By: cptbarkey
there is no reason not to give the vin. if a seller refuses, i consider it stolen and notify the police immediately.
Really, now. How does that go over?
 
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Originally Posted By: Mykl
Originally Posted By: KB2008X
Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them.
I totally disagree with this. You're only a fool if you place 100% faith that CarFax (or similar service) will reveal 100% of the vehicle's history and you stop your investigation of a specific vehicle at that. But if you approach it as another way to try to fill in the blanks and drawing a picture of the car's history and how it was treated, CarFax can be a very valuable tool. A CarFax report on top of a documented service history is a pretty powerful statement regarding the vehicle's condition and value.
Bingo. When looking for the truck, I was particular in what I wanted (Max Tow). Some places didn't list it, left out equipment or just plain had bad data in their listings. The VIN allowed me to generate the original window sticker to see exactly what the vehicle had. That way I didn't have to rely on a dealer's word - I had the word of the manufacturer! The car fax helped me on the truck I bought to see where it came from (it was a local truck vs something from, say Ohio, Upstate NY, etc.) and some of the work that was done to it in the first few years. It also allowed me to piece together the history of it as best as I could. While I didn't rely on it 100%, I found out that the original owner changed the oil at the dealer, had an alignment done, and a few other things. I found out that in year 1 he barely put on 10k and in year 2 and 3 he did 20k. I wouldn't rely on it 100% but it was a good tool to help me feel more comfortable with my purchase.
 
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Carfax can also help if you're buying a car that's 3-4 years old and Carfax tells you when it was registered so you can determine if it still has any of the manufacturer's warranty on it. I bought a car sight unseen just from the VIN number. It was from a dealer that got it at an auction plus it had a couple weeks on the factory warranty left.
 
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Originally Posted By: KB2008X
I've sold plenty of cars privately and have been asked to send the VIN through an e-mail before and refused to. Most arranged a meeting to look at the vehicle without any squawking, as for the others it was their loss. Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them.
Originally Posted By: cptbarkey
there is no reason not to give the vin. if a seller refuses, i consider it stolen and notify the police immediately.
I didn't realize we had such nuts on this website?
 
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Originally Posted By: D189379
Originally Posted By: KB2008X
I've sold plenty of cars privately and have been asked to send the VIN through an e-mail before and refused to. Most arranged a meeting to look at the vehicle without any squawking, as for the others it was their loss. Folks who use CarFax and similar services are fools and you're better off without them.
Originally Posted By: cptbarkey
there is no reason not to give the vin. if a seller refuses, i consider it stolen and notify the police immediately.
I didn't realize we had such nuts on this website?
Care to explain that ?
 

mjk

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Nothing disgusts me more when selling something, than the short email stating 'what is you rock bottom price?'. Honestly, I put things out there TO SELL at the listed price. I hate negotiating, and time must mean something to both parties.
Originally Posted By: eljefino
I prefer not to give out VINs. Most of my cars are well past ten years old when I put them up for sale. They are either safe, and state inspected, but full of little bugs, or unsafe, disclosed, but full of other little bugs that may or may not bug people. Either way, a potential buyer needs to come see the car in person and make their own decision. A carfax shopper is barking waaaaay up the wrong tree. Someone who asks for the VIN is the kind of person who will show up in six months complaining about a burned out headlight, then playing the "you said" or "you sold..." game. When selling a car, you have to pick your buyer. I still sometimes give out the VIN, because it will amuse me. People who email one sentence emails asking for VIN or "whats your rock bottom price" tend to not follow through, or tend to create all sorts of issues. A person gets about three questions with me before they have to set up a time and look at the car.
 
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Calling potential buyers "fools" for using carfax or other services is nuts. How terrible that someone would want to do a little homework on what they were going to look at. Verify if the equipment mentioned in the ad is correct or that the car isn't a insurance wreck, etc... I will state it is not the be all end all of determining whether a vehicle is good or not, but with the information from it, you can piece together some type of history. Where its been sold, registered, usage, etc... The buyer is going to get the VIN if they look at it. Withholding it from them just makes your buyer pool even smaller. In my last used vehicle purchase, that turned up two vehicles in my search that were rentals out of the northeast, had accidents, and when I looked at one of them, the repair work was easily spotted in the area noted. As for someone calling the cops because someone won't supply a VIN, well, I don't know that even dignifies a reply.
 

FL-400S

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When I bought a used car, I got a carfax. However I also got one on a car I had sold 2 years prior, and it still didn't show the accident it had been in (and I had disclosed to the buyer). Definitely not be all end all. Guess I wont be so uptight about the VIN any more. I think one of my cars has it etched in the windows in addition to the usual location.
 
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