Buying and selling a car has just become a whole lot easier for South African consumers, thanks to a newly-launched vehicle-checking app which gives consumers access to a range of information previously reserved for car dealers, banks and insurance companies.
The app, which is run by TransUnion and FirstCheck, gives consumers the current market value of the car, its full history and the legal status of the vehicle. This includes a link into bank and SA Police Service databases to check if a car is currently being financed, or is flagged as stolen. It also allows consumers to instantly check their creditworthiness by purchasing their credit report.
Kriben Reddy, head of Auto at TransUnion Africa, says the app aims to empower consumers by giving them the information they need to make better, more informed decisions around buying, selling and insuring cars.
“Knowing the real value and full history of a car means you’re far more empowered when you enter the buying cycle,” says Reddy. “With this app, you’re not only able to put a fair price on the car upfront, but you’re also far less likely to fall victim to fraudsters by having insight into the full history of the vehicle.”
Popular scams include people who sell cars with hidden faults, accident-damaged vehicles or vehicles that are still under finance with a bank – which means the bank is still the legal owner, and will report that car as stolen or attempt to take back the car. “We see a lot of people being caught out this way, and the financial consequences are devastating,” says Reddy.
The app offers two major pieces of information. The valuation report provides both current trade and retail values to ensure the price being asked reflects the vehicle’s true market value. This also helps consumers ensure they are paying the correct insurance premiums. It also offers a view of how much the vehicle has depreciated over the past 12 months, and projected future values.
The first part of the verification report provides the car’s original manufacturer information, including vehicle identification number (VIN), engine number and colour, and highlights any discrepancies. The second part follows the vehicle through its lifecycle, as it were, with full financing information, legal status and even mileage at certain points.
The verification report also tells a purchaser if a car has been “microdotted” – where a car is marked with thousands of dots. If so, potential buyers can use a microdot scanner to check if body panels and even engine parts have been replaced.
Another key addition to the app is the ability for consumers to get an up-to-date credit score. “If you’re in the market for a car, you’re in a far stronger position to negotiate terms if you already know that you’re creditworthy, and can show your latest credit score,” says Reddy.
- You can visit the www.firstcheck.co.za website, or download the app (iOS and Android), to buy a Car Value Report (Valuation), a Car Check Report (Verification), or check your credit score. The website/application provides instant, anywhere, anytime access on the value and status of a specific vehicle. The Car Value Report costs R19, and the full Car Check Report costs R99.