AutoTrader is one of South Africa’s largest platforms for buying and selling new and used cars. However, in a world where a lot of communication, and wheeling and dealing is done online, how can you ensure you are not falling victim to a scam?
According to AutoTrader, South Africa’s online vehicle trading market is booming, with hundreds of private vehicles advertised online at any one point in time. However, as the online vehicle market grows, so too does crime. Recent South African Police Services (SAPS) figures indicate that there has been a significant increase in electronic media fraud.
To help combat this, AutoTrader has launched the AutoTrader Marketplace, offering “a revolutionary all-round safety solution.”
AutoTrader CEO George Mienie noted: “Entrusted with South Africa’s largest automotive online audience, we felt obligated to address the issue of online fraud when buying or selling cars once and for all, shifting online trading safety from a dream to an absolute necessity. We’ve tried to create a really simple solution, combining the real world premises and expertise of Bosch Service Stations with our online know-how and finance partners. We now offer customers a safe place to buy and sell their used cars privately with confidence.”
This platform uses a number of tools to help reduce fraud in online trading, while streamlining the process. These include:
- Deal facilitation: This is offered at any of the 165 Bosch Service Stations across South Africa. This offers buyers and sellers a safe place to meet, with the assistance of a deal manager to help the negotiation process.
- Financing: All vehicles on AutoTrader are pre-approved for finance through the company, as well as its finance partners. This means guaranteed payment straight to the seller’s bank account.
- All vehicles are technically inspected.
- All sellers are individually vetted before introduction to a buyer.
According to AutoTrader, the success of the AutoTrader Marketplace is the scrutiny of every car for sale, as well as every buyer. This sees the introduction of standards and facilitation in what is otherwise a dangerous private car market that is unregulated, unmonitored and can be unsafe.
Securing the private car sales market
Derek Menday, sales director of DataDot Technology SA, a company specialising in securing the identity of vehicles and stolen car recovery technology, pointed out: “Used car dealers are governed by the Second-Hand Goods Act whereas the private car sales sector does not have the same checks and balances. One in every two vehicles hijacked or stolen are rebirthed or cloned and sold as used cars. This revolutionary new platform (AutoTrader Marketplace), if it also complies with the Second-Hand Goods Act, could provide leadership in safe trading practices within the online private car sales sector. It could give consumers peace of mind that the car they’re buying is not from a criminal or previously stolen.”
Furthermore, Rick Crouch, a forensics and criminal investigator adds: “AutoTrader's Marketplace gives both buyer and seller a sense of security and a guarantee that they will receive their money or the vehicle. Most fraud I deal with happens on websites like Gumtree who I believe now need to follow AutoTrader’s efforts.”
According to AutoTrader, the initial feedback from users of AutoTrader Marketplace has been positive.
“Our preliminary results show very satisfied customers. To create a service that not only addresses the issue of safety but also balances it with a seamless and simple process, is a proud moment for us,” stated Mienie.