400 auto dealers join lawsuit against Carfax

Lawyer Leonard Bellavia of Bellavia Blatt Andron & Lawyer Leonard Bellavia of Bellavia Blatt Andron & Crossett, a Mineola firm that often represents car dealers, is representing the firms that are suing Carfax, which reports on a used vehicle's history. (March 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

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More than 400 additional auto dealers have joined a lawsuit filed in May claiming that Carfax Inc., the provider of vehicle history reports, is violating federal antitrust laws by unfairly excluding competition.

Plaintiffs' attorneys Bellavia Blatt Andron & Crossett of Mineola said the additional dealers bring to 530 the number of auto retailers nationally seeking a total of $250 million in damages in the suit, which was filed in federal district court in Manhattan. The firm said 54 of the dealerships are in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

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The suit claims that Carfax impairs competition through its exclusive and allegedly illegal alliances with Internet car buying sites Autotrader.com and Cars.com, as well as with the majority of automobile manufacturers' certified pre-owned auto programs.

The suit claims that the near absence of competition for Carfax results in higher prices for dealers who furnish the reports to car shoppers and for consumers who purchase the reports on their own, while discouraging the sales of what the suit claims are more reliable reports from competitors.

The law firm expects the number of plaintiff dealerships to continue growing as the lawsuit garners increased attention nationally.

There was no immediate comment Wednesday from Carfax. The Virginia-based company declined to comment when the suit was filed.

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