South African consumers can now check if a car they may be buying has been stolen or is wanted by the police for any reason.
A would-be buyer can simply log onto www.myautoinfo.co.za, register and purchase an Auto Check report, which now includes information from the South African Police Services (SAPS).
in the Auto Check report is the latest enhancement to the popular myautoinfo.co.za website which went live last year.
The site was established by TransUnion to give consumers access to important information when buying or selling a used car, light commercial vehicle or motorcycle.
Mike von Höne, CEO of TransUnion Auto Information Solutions, says that with South Africa's high crime rate, consumers considering purchasing a used vehicle cannot be too careful.
According to the latest available SAPS crime report, a total of 94 467 motor vehicles and motor bikes were reported stolen or hijacked across South Africa between April 2007 and March 2008 – and its likely that many of these were sold to unsuspecting consumers.
Now, South African consumers can use their own ID numbers, together with the vehicle's VIN and engine numbers – to find out if SAPS is looking for a particualr vehicle.
Once the enquiry is done the report with a "Stolen Interest" indicator will be emailed to the enquirer within 48 hours.
The enhanced Auto Check report permits a consumer to check:
* There is currently no stolen interest in the vehicle. This information does not replace a police clearance certificate;
* The vehicle is "clean" – that its identifiers (VIN, engine number and make) are as originally specified by the manufacturer; that the colour is original and the year of manufacture is correct;
* There are no security/industry alerts on the vehicle;
* Whether there is outstanding finance applicable to the vehicle; and
* The vehicle is not reported to be illegally in South Africa or otherwise in transit. Such vehicles can be subject to confiscation by Customs & Excise or SARS.
"Buying or selling a vehicle is one of the largest financial transactions most individuals will ever undertake," says Von Höne. "If not carried out with due thought and care it's also one that can be fraught with potential pitfalls. myautoinfo.co.za gives consumers critical information they ought to know before buying a used vehicle."