Jeff Osborne, Head of Gumtree Automotive, says that South Africa may well be a pioneer when it comes to implementing and discovering safety solutions for the private classifieds market.
Osborne says private sales can present challenges for the uninitiated, whether buying or selling.
"There are thousands of individuals who use our site to sell their cars privately and have done so for years, but if you aren't familiar with cars or the process, there are some pitfalls to beware of. From the selling side, there are obviously risks associated with dealing with large amounts of cash as well as the ordinary risk of transacting with individuals you don’t know.
"From the buying side, you might not have the technical know-how to determine whether or not the car has undisclosed faults or been damaged in an accident. Because these deals aren't protected by the Consumer Protection Act, the new owner will have very little legal recourse after the purchase to demand repairs.
"There are also other considerations. What if the owner hasn't settled financing at the bank, or in the worst case scenario, what if the vehicle was stolen? How does one approach financing for a private deal? Or transfer ownership? The administration can be mind-boggling if you haven't actually completed such a deal in the past," said Osborne.
He explained that such factors had spurred the demand for private automotive sales facilitation, such as the Motofinn solution endorsed by Gumtree.
"We've formalised our relationship with Motofinn in July not only because the demand for assistance grew significantly, but because of our greater strategic focus on continuously improving the automotive offering on our site.
"This service not only takes care of the administration surrounding a private car deal – it also ensures that the seller receives their payment in full and that the buyer is assured that the vehicle is cleared mechanically, legally and financially before purchase."
Andrew Sutherland of Motofinn added that the solution was born out of a need for safety as well as convenience from both buyers and sellers.
"Buyers and sellers are being steered towards the informal motor trade due to financial pressure, but they would still be willing to pay a small fee for the benefits that have traditionally been limited to professional dealerships alone. Financing, a full HPI check, secure payments, a full service history, police clearance, administration – all of these services can be accessed easily and without delaying the transaction," said Sutherland.
Osborne said that he expected this sort of service to eventually become commonplace.
"At the current rate, making use of third party facilitators could very well become the norm for private sales. In many ways South Africans are pioneers when it comes to implementing and discovering safety solutions for the private classifieds market.
"We do, however, urge customers to only make use of endorsed services that have the backing of respected industry bodies. In Motofinn's case, this includes DEKRA Automotive, TransUnion and Deloitte."