MFC and Gumtree protect online car shoppers

With a spike in online shopping scams, Gumtree has partnered with MFC, a division of Nedbank, to offer consumers an added layer of protection when buying or selling vehicles on its platform. This offering is aimed at individuals interested in buying or selling privately owned vehicles instead of using more traditional channels such as motor dealerships.

Through a unique digital process, the solution hopes to address the concerns people have when buying or selling their vehicles privately, by allowing users to have their vehicles verified by MFC and attach a ‘Verified by MFC’ badge on the advert.

‘With people relying more on online shopping lately, opportunists have emerged to prey on unsuspecting individuals through a variety of scams locally and abroad,’ says Douw Leadley, Head of Sales at MFC.

‘For instance, in a buyer scam, a false proof of payment is generated and sent to a seller, usually for high-value goods such as laptops, gaming consoles and even vehicles. Seller scams are generally focussed on the sale of substandard or counterfeit goods at full price and the buyer only becoming aware of the inferior quality of the goods after the conclusion of the deal,’ says Leadley.

To get the ‘Verified by MFC’ badge, sellers must share specified information on the Gumtree platform, which then sends the information to MFC to conduct the following checks:

Police checks – to verify that a vehicle is not stolen or reported missing.

Accident checks – to verify whether the car was in an accident or not.

Finance checks – to confirm whether the car is still being financed, and if so, if the finance is in good standing.

Once the vehicle passes all these checks, the badge is added to the advert, giving potential buyers the assurance that both the vehicle and seller are legitimate.

When browsing the advert, potential buyers can click on the MFC finance application link and apply for finance through MFC online. This, in turn, offers protection and credibility to the seller as the transaction is done through an established intermediary.

Once the buyer has been approved for finance, with the assistance of MFC, the seller takes the vehicle for a technical and roadworthy inspection. This ensures that both parties are comfortable with the condition of the vehicle and allows the ownership of the vehicle to be transferred.

Following this, the buyer signs the finance contract, and the arrangements are made with both parties to deliver the vehicle.

The MFC team ensures that the funds are transferred to the seller. If the vehicle is financed by another financial institution, the team ensures that the outstanding finance is settled. MFC will also help the buyer to transfer ownership of the vehicle through the licensing department.

‘Although the Gumtree platform is popular and generally trusted, the advantage of having vehicles verified before advertising them is that it gives potential buyers comfort that the vehicle exists and is not stolen, and that they are dealing with a reputable seller and not a conman,’ says Leadley. ‘The seller has access to potential buyers who qualify for finance, and the process ensures that these buyers exist and are legitimate.’