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SA firm unveils car verification app

Lightstone, specialists in spatial and data driven insights, has announced the launch of a new application for computers and smart devices geared towards car verification.

Its makers say the app could significantly enhance the car sales industry by enabling car dealers, banks and insurers to generate instant car verification reports.

Royden Volans, commercial director at Lightstone, says the new Vehicle Verification and Information (VVi) app – a first-of-its-kind in South Africa – can generate instant vehicle validation reports by scanning the VIN number on the vehicle’s licence disc with a smartphone.

“The app utilises state of the art technology and links directly to our in-house and various 3rd party databases to produce up-to-date and accurate validation data for any vehicle. By scanning a vehicle’s license disc, the report, providing vehicle verification, can be downloaded directly and immediately onto a smart device,” he says.

According to Volans, the major benefit of the app for car dealers is that they are able to validate the car while the customer is still on the shop floor, thereby mitigating some of the risk they take on when accepting a vehicle.

“Banks stipulate that the onus of correctly verifying a vehicle lies with the dealer, which is known as the Master Dealer Agreement. This means the risk of fraud sits with the dealer and the bank can claim the full value of the finance back if they prove the dealer did not conduct accurate checks.

“In addition, dealers have previously also had to wait sometimes for days to receive this information, potentially leaving them massively exposed when accepting a used car or at risk of the customer simply going elsewhere. Having immediate access to validation reports enables them to mitigate the risk of accepting a misrepresented, stolen or severely damaged vehicle,” he says.

Volans explains that as a result of new regulation such as The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), car dealers are under increasing pressure to ensure complete transparency on all transactions.

He says an additional benefit of the app is that the validation data made so easily available through the VVi app would assist dealers in fulfilling their regulatory obligations as a result of this legislation by making transactions more transparent.

He explains that according to the CPA, the onus is on car dealers to ensure that the cars that they are marketing are bought and sold at the correct price for the make, model and history of the vehicle – and that the consumer is aware of all of these details.

“The validation report produced by the VVi app provides details of the car’s make, model, year of registration and colour. It also provides details of previous insurance claims on the vehicle and any major work that has been done on the vehicle as a result. Therefore, being able to produce validation reports instantly, allows car dealers to assure customers of the good condition of the vehicle that they are purchasing,” he says.

Volans also added that in light of new legislation such as CPA and TCF new technology such as the VVi app enables companies to transform their regulatory requirements into strategic marketing tools.

“There is an excellent marketing opportunity for those businesses that are able to find innovative ways through innovation and technology to make sales and product information easily available to the consumer,” he says.

“We believe that this technology is the first of many new developments in a suite of innovative solutions aimed to service the car sales industry,” he concluded.

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