In December 2012 Automotive News published a piece on dealers unhappy with Carfax, alleging that the most well known used vehicle history reporting company had maneuvered itself into a monopolistic position. Dealers were paying the price for it by being charged more for Carfax reports than they'd have to pay for those from similar agencies, and there was nothing they could do about it. Now it will be for a judge to figure out: Automotive News reports that 120 dealers have joined a class-action lawsuit against Carfax over anti-competitive practices and violations of anti-trust law, and more are signing up to join the suit.

As to that alleged monopolistic position, Carfax is the provider of record for the certified pre-owned programs of 37 out of 40 manufacturers, so if a dealer wants to be part of the program he has to buy Carfax reports. Carfax also has exclusive deals with Cars.com and AutoTrader.com, so when a dealer lists a car on either site he can only use reports from Carfax. That's how, even though there are ten companies accredited by the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to provide used vehicle reports, some that are less expensive than Carfax, it isn't in a dealer's best financial interest to consider them.

Leo Bellavia out of Mineola, NY, who also handled cases for Saab dealers trying to compel the Swedish firm to enter bankruptcy and Chrysler dealers fighting their involuntary franchise terminations, is the attorney of record for the plaintiffs. The dealers want more than $50 million in damages. Carfax has said it can't comment on the suit.