Naples, FL asked in Small Claims and Consumer Law for Florida

Q: Can I sue an automotive manufacturer in small claims court in Florida to obtain the service history for my vehicle?

Can I sue an automotive manufacturer in small claims court in Florida to obtain the service record history for my vehicle? The automotive manufacturer claims that the service history of the used vehicle I now own is "proprietary." I understand they need to protect the previous owner's information, but I see no reason why they cannot redact the previous owner's personal information on the service records. I own the vehicle now and it is my right to know what the service history of my vehicle is in order to properly maintain it going forward. Not having access to this information impairs the safety and value of my asset.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: There is no law which entitles you to obtain the service record of a used car from the manufacturer. Moreover, a manufacturer likely only has records for warranty and recall service. It is unlikely any service record it maintains is complete.

Many dealerships and auto service companies systematically report service by VIN which can be obtained by a subsequent owner via services like CarFax. Having needed maintenance records in litigation before, my experience is that CarFax almost always has more comprehensive information than other sources since it pulls from a variety of vendors. But it isn’t perfect.

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