Frequently Asked Questions

About VINs

Where can I find the car's VIN?
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The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found on the car. It's either on the dashboard, engine plate or on one of the doors. The vehicle's VIN is also displayed on the registration certificate and insurance policy documentation. The VIN is always 17 characters long.

Why is the VIN not working?
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It's one of these reasons.

  • It's typed in incorrectly.
  • It has the letters O, I or Q in it. VINS cannot have these characters in them.
  • It's 8 characters long which means it is pre 1989 and we cannot produce a report on it.
If you do have an older vehicle and we have no information stored on the car you may be able to locate it via the PPSR government website using the car's chassis or serial number.

Why is Car Story asking for additional details when you have my VIN?
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A VIN on it's own doesn't always give us all the information we need to identify your car. In order to give you as much information on the vehicle as possible we may ask a few additional questions to locate the vehicle through our many databases of information.

About Car Story Reports

Why should I get a Car Story report?
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Car Story reports are comprehensive, we have data that the other reports do not have. We are a feisty start-up who is taking it to the big boys finding ways to make the information free or cheaper than the other comprehensive reports.

How long to get a report?
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They are provided online and are instant. We also email a copy to you and you can come back later, login and retrieve a copy.

Where is my report? I can't find it.
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If you can't find the email that contains your car story report, it may be because your security preferences are super strong and the report might have been sent straight to your junk or spam folders. If you check your spam and junk folders and you still don't have the report you can contact the Car Story support team via the contact form here.

Where do I find a report I previously ordered?
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Click here and login using your email address and date of birth as the login and password.

Do you provide reports on motorbikes?
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Sadly not yet. We are launching cars first, then motorbikes then rocket ships.

Why is there missing information on my report?
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The physical vehicle details, including make, model, engine number, colour, fuel type, registration status, odometer reading, and registration expiry date will only be returned and displayed on the Certificate if they have been recorded and are available. In addition, Car Story's databases are composed of many different data sources which combine to present a comprehensive vehicle history. We do rely on the data being available and the systems of those providers being.

Why are there no odometer readings on my report?
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Our odometer information comes from a range of sources. Sometimes we do not have any odometer readings on cars because they have been serviced at workshops where the data does not flow to our databases. We hate this as much as you do.

What does it mean the car shows a stolen status?
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Don't buy the car. The stolen status indicates that the VIN, Engine or Plate Numbers associated with the car are recorded as stolen by one of the state or territory police departments. If you find that the car is recorded as stolen you should not buy it. If you buy a car from a private buyer which is later found to be stolen, you may lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it.

If you see a stolen status on the car, you should contact your state or local territory. Congratulations, you may have just solved your first crime!

What does it mean if the reports show finance owing?
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This is really common and easy to work through. It just means that the person selling you the car still owes money on it. You need to make sure that the registration of finance is removed before you buy the car. If you do not do this, you may be liable for the money owing on the vehicle and the car could be repossessed. That would be seriously uncool.

Make sure that once the seller tells you that the finance has been removed, you do another check yourself to make sure it's gone.

Why not tell the seller to take the cost of the report off the purchase price of the car? It's only fair right.

What does it mean if the report shows the car is a write off?
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There are two main descriptions to look at here.

  1. Statutory Write Off – The car is unsafe to drive – DON'T BUY IT!
  2. Repairable Write Off – The car may have been repaired or is considered able to be repaired.
If it's a repairable write off, it may be a great car to own still and generally a whole lot cheaper than a car that has not been written off. You just have some more work to do.

Cars can be written off for a number of reasons that include Fire, Collisions, Vandalism, Hail, Flood and Water Damage. The Car Story report will show you which reason the car you are looking at was written off.

The first thing you need to do is, ask the seller if repairs have been made and the car has been passed by your state or territory government to be reregistered. Ask for physical evidence of this and then call your local roads authority to double check. If everything checks out, negotiate hard for a better price.

If the car hasn't been repaired and made roadworthy, you will need to do some investigating to find out how much it will cost to fix the car to a point that it can be registered again. If you buy it without the work being done, you will need to spend your own money on the repairs and approval process. If you still want this car then make sure the repairs, approval, registration costs and your time come off the standard market price for this car. If not, go back to the market and find another one.

One last thing, if there has been water damage make sure that you check for rust under the car, seats and lower parts of the car. Also check for goldfish, finding fish under the seat is a real indicator that there are serious problems and maybe you should reconsider your purchase.

What if there is a strange odometer reading?
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It's hard to collect odometer readings however we collect as many as we can and are always on the lookout for more.

If you do see a strange odometer reading it may be that the car has been wound back. Crazy that this stuff still happens, but it does!

If this is the case, the best thing to do is ask the seller for the logbook or service history. The weird odometer reading we have could simply be a typo so it's best to check the service books. You really should do that anyway.

What does the price check mean?
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We collect loads of sale prices and try to show you where the price your seller is asking is compared to the recent market.

If the asking price is higher than what we show, you can do 2 things:

  1. Ask for a better price and show them the Car Story report; or
  2. Go back online and see what else is available.

About Car Story Free Reports

How do I get a free car history report?
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Simply enter the VIN or Registration details of the car into Car Story and follow the instructions. If we have a partner providing the reports the free option will be available.

What's the catch with free reports?
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There's no catch. It's as simple as a company who wants your business, is willing to pay for your report and in exchange wants to speak to you about their services. It's generally car loan providers.

Why are free reports not available?
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Our partners only provide a set number of free reports each month and sometimes we run out. The good news is that you can still get the full report and we don't charge $36 for our reports like some of the others.

About Recalls

What does it mean if the report shows a recall notice?
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There has been a recall on nearly every car that has ever been released. From fancy pants Volvos through to the mighty utes of our great land.

Recalls do however have a serious side and some people have lost their lives because they have ignored them. Ignoring a recall could result in something as simple as the windscreen wipers not working anymore to more life-threatening consequences such as a car fire or breakdown.

So, if you find a recall notice on your Car Story report this is what to do:

  1. Ask the seller for evidence that the reason for the recall or recalls have been resolved. If the seller does not have physical evidence of this, you can contact the car's manufacturer. All car manufacturers are able to check this for you. Our reports may provide contact details for the car manufacturer however, if the information isn't available simply use Google (or Bing or Netscape) and type in the name of the manufacturer and the word “recall”. For instance, “Volvo Recall”. This will give you the contact details.
  2. Give the manufacturer a ring and give them your VIN which you can get from the Car Story report.

How do I get alerts on recalls?
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Once you have purchased your report, simply login. You will be able to then register to receive alerts whenever a recall on that car has been notified in the future.

On Personal Information and Property

What is the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)?
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In Australia, PPSR stands for the Personal Property Securities Register. This is a database that stores information on items of personal property (other than real estate). The register contains information on finance owing on personal property, items that have been written off as well as any other important information. A Car Story report can access this register along with a variety of other data registers in order to provide you with the most relevant and current information.

Do you sell personal information to other companies?
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No we do not. We only pass on your personal information if you have agreed to be contacted explicitly through the free report process. We only pass on your information to the company you have agreed to have it passed on to.

What is an ANCAP Rating?
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An ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) rating is a crash test performance that is performed on the car as it enters the market from the initial manufacturer. You can learn more about ANCAP ratings here.

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