Having recently ended its print publication, switching to a digital only strategy, AutoTrader, the company that connects vehicle sellers and buyers, has expanded its online offering by targeting increased safety of online transactions through its AutoTrader Marketplace.
The car deal facilitator launched this product in response to the flourishing private vehicle online market, which has also unfortunately seen an increase in crime. The latest South African Police Service report detailed 55 010 cars stolen in one year, with a significant number arising from electronic media fraud.
AutoTrader decided to tackle the problem head on, introducing an all-round safety solution to their almost five million monthly visitors.
“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,” said CEO George Mienie. “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.”
Increasing security and tackling crime
The new service tackles fraud head-on and streamlines the online trading process using a few effective tools:
- Deal facilitation is offered at any of the 165 Bosch Service Stations throughout the country giving buyers and sellers a safe place to meet, with assistance from a Deal Manager to help consumers better negotiate.
- All vehicles are pre-approved for finance through AutoTrader and finance partners, meaning guaranteed payment straight to the seller’s bank account.
- All sellers vehicles are technically inspected ensuring the vehicle is sold in the advertised condition.
- All sellers are individually vetted before introduction to a buyer.
AutoTrader says the key to its new offering’s success is “scrutiny of every car for sale and every buyer, thereby introducing standards and facilitation to what is currently a very dangerous private car market – that is largely unregulated, unmonitored and an unsafe industry”.
“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,” says Derek Menday, sales director of DataDot Technology SA who specialise in securing the identity of vehicles and stolen car recovery technology.
“One in every two vehicles hijacked or stolen are rebirthed or cloned and sold as used cars. This revolutionary new platform, 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.”
Forensics and Criminal Investigator Rick Crouch agrees. “I receive daily calls from victims who have received fake proof of payment for goods sold, or who have bought and paid for an item they have never received,” he comments. “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.”
Positive reviews so far
AutoTrader says “initial user feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for Marketplace”.
“With all the documents that the seller needs to provide, I had peace of mind that everything was as it should be, with no hidden surprises that might pop up after the keys have been handed over,” said Cape Town resident Kurt Stassen, who recently sold his car through AutoTrader Marketplace.
“The Deal Manager provided great advice with regards to holding out for the right price,” agreed Lureshran Naidoo, JHB resident and attorney who sold his BMW X5 last month.“Without this assistance, I would have probably settled on a much lower selling price and would have wasted time dealing with random buyers.”
Mienie says 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.”
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