Car buyers can spot any hidden faults in their next purchase with a full-pedigree check
Buying a car may not only cause distress, but it can also hurt a consumer’s pocketbook when the right checks aren’t completed. To this end, TransUnion and FirstCheck have partnered to launch South Africa’s first consumer-focused vehicle checking app. The app contains information on vehicle that were traditionally only available to dealers.
“Buying a car is one of the most important investments anyone makes, and if it goes wrong, it can have a devastating ripple effect on quality of life and finances,” said Kriben Reddy, head of TransUnion Auto in South Africa. “A lack of knowledge of hidden faults, fraud or a suspect service book is generally caused by a lack of insight into the full history of a vehicle. We want to put the right information in the hands of consumers so they can make better, more informed decisions.”
The new FirstCheck app will help consumers learn from the past to navigate the present. One of these key features is a valuation report, which can be easily accessed to learn the estimated value of the vehicle. A full vehicle verification report, meanwhile, covers the full history of a vehicle – which is important if a buyer wants to know if the vehicle they are looking at is the vehicle that has been registered as such, and has not been stolen. This check will also provide information if a vehicle is being financed – another crucial piece of the puzzle as this is becoming a common way to defraud buyers.
“Access to information is levelling the playing field and putting power back into the hands of the consumer. A bank may still be holding finance on a car that has been sold – meaning that bank is for all intents and purposes the owner. People are then tricked by a fraudster into paying cash and they drive the car away only for the bank to report that car stolen. A lot of people are being caught out this way, with devastating consequences,” said Reddy.
The app also has a direct link into the SA Police service database, so a would-be purchaser can check in real-time if a car has actually been reported stolen.
Price remains a common stumbling block for many, and the app provides both trade and retail values to ensure the price being offered on a car as a trade-in is its true market value. “This assures a car buyer that the car they are interested in buying is being offered to them at a fair price. They are also able to monitor the car’s value on a monthly basis in order to ensure that their insurance premiums are always in line,” said Reddy.
Apart from notifying them if the car is stolen or not, the report also highlights any discrepancies from the manufacturing specifications. FirstCheck matches the VIN and Engine number supplied to a manufacturer database and provides results based on the match.
“A car buyer will receive one of the following confirmation results: Match, No Match or Partial Match. A No Match could mean that FirstCheck does not have a record of the car on the database or incomplete information has been provided,” explained Reddy.
The report also tells a purchaser if a car has been “microdotted” – this is a marking system where thousands of dots, invisible to the naked eye, act as an enhanced car theft deterrent.
Industry risks are real, so greater awareness is the solution.
“We firmly believe if consumers keep building on good choices, they will continue to create solid opportunities,” concluded Reddy.
Anyone can visit the www.firstcheck.co.za website or download the mobile application to buy either a Car Value Report (Valuation) or a Car Check Report (Verification) or their own personal credit score. The website/application provides instant, anywhere, anytime access on the value and status of a specific vehicle.
Register by setting up your account and choose the report that you would like to purchase. You can pay for the report via credit or debit card according to your requirements.
Car Value Report (Valuation):
1 report @ R19
12 reports delivered monthly @ R150
Car Check Report (Verification): 1 report @ R99
Personal Credit Score: 1 report @ R19