Guiding consumers since 2009

Gumtree launches safe private car seller tool

By Staff Writer
Motofinn Verified Private Seller has been launched on the Gumtree website to enable users to buy and sell cars in hassle free and safe manner.
Jeff Osborne, head of Gumtree Automotive, said: “Selling or buying one’s car (particularly when done privately) can be daunting. There is a fair amount of paperwork that has to be completed, vehicle inspections to ensure that the car is in good order and of course, there are large sums of money involved. It is extremely time-consuming for both parties.”
The introduction of this verification service, in partnership with Motofinn Solutions, follows the launch of a new portal on Gumtree which offers car buyers and sellers tips and guides to assist them when entering into a negotiation involving a vehicle.
How does it work?
The new Motofinn Verified Private Seller platform will allow car buyers and sellers to enter into transactions with less risk.
Buyers and sellers who are interested in making use of service can submit an application online, via email or fax.
After submitting an application, you will be contacted by a representative from Motofinn who will assist you in making sure that all is in order with the vehicle and the selling/buying process, whether you are the buyer or the seller.
The buyer provides Motofinn with the contact details of the seller and the details of the vehicle being sold.
“Your Motofinn consultant will obtain all the necessary documentation and information from the seller, as well as validating the information pertaining to the vehicle for you. This includes a full HPI (hire purchase inspection). [The consultant will] Check to confirm the vehicle's service history, insurance claims on the vehicle, whether it is under finance and what the settlement amount is.”
Once both buyer and sellers agrees to the deal, a seller’s fee is paid and Motofinn will arrange a roadworthy test, inspection and full colour photos.”
The service is currently available at a launch price of R795, however, the usual fee is R1 995, according to a Gumtree spokesperson. Gumtree was not able to confirm when the discounted launch fee will end..
For more information on the Motofinn service from Gumtree, click here.
Buying a car online
Former car sellers using Gumtree have complained about fraudsters who’ve made off with the car without paying. “[This] is why we’ve teamed up with a new service that securely facilitates the process between buyer and seller to minimise the risks,” said Osborne
“But if you opt not to use such a service, we urge our customers never to hand over a vehicle until the money is cleared in their accounts. We also urge customers to meet in public and preferably never to meet a seller/buyer alone.”
When buying a car online, Osborne pointed out that at the very least you should insist on getting a vehicle clearance certificate, a letter of settlement proving that the vehicle is no longer under finance, as well as the license and registration papers.
“The vehicle will need to prove roadworthiness, but a certificate is only valid for 21 days, so it’s not unusual for the buyer to arrange this himself. Make sure that the vehicle has its number plate, VIN (chassis number) and engine number intact. It is well worth insisting on the full service history of the vehicle.  Also ask them [sellers] to disclose any errors they are aware of in writing,” advised Osborne.
Transferring ownership
When purchasing a second hand vehicle, the vehicle’s registration information will need to be transferred from the seller to the buyer.
Osborne noted: “Both parties should assume responsibility. If you are the seller, you will need to bring a completed Notification of Change of Ownership/Sale of Motor Vehicle form to your nearest MVR (motor vehicle registration) office. The vehicle remains your responsibility until you notify the MVR office of the sale. 
“The buyer then needs to hand in his/her application for Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicle form in, along with his/her roadworthy documentation, application fee, ID, vehicle registration certificate (in the sellers’ name) [and any other required documentation].”
Tips to follow when buying or selling online
Osborne offered several tips to help buyers and sellers when purchasing a car through Gumtree or similar websites.
·         Do not rush a vehicle purchase: Take the time to contact your local police station to make sure that the vehicle hasn’t been stolen.
·         Check the vehicle’s accident history: Osborne highlighted that it is important to make sure that the vehicle you are looking at buying doesn’t have a hidden accident history. “It may be worth your while to do an AA Autocheck* at your nearest station,” suggested Osborne.
·         Meet the seller before paying them: “Always insist on meeting in person and viewing the car before making a payment,” advised Osborne. He added that you should meet the seller on your terms, at a place of your choice.
·         Meet in a public place: For your own safety it is best to meet in a public place where you feel comfortable. Osborne suggested the local police station.
·         Get copies of all documentation: Osborne stressed that you should insist on having copies of the service record and registration papers.
·         Don’t let the seller accompany you to get the funds: If you decide to buy the car, you should not allow “the seller to accompany you to the bank, ATM, or other source of revenue,” noted Osborne.
·         Don’t provide personal banking information over the internet.
*To contact AA Autocheck, call 0861 601 601

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