TransUnion to help combat vehicle crime

TransUnion Auto Information Solutions said on Friday it had introduced a significant enhancement to its vehicle verification reports, which seek to combat vehicle crime and protect motor dealers from falling foul of the provision of the Consumer Protection Act.

TransUnion Auto chief executive officer Mike von Hone said this enhancement would make it considerably difficult for crime syndicates to reintroduce stolen, hijacked or other illegally obtained vehicles to the South African market.

The new enhancement identifies vehicles that may have been “cloned” or given a new “clean” identify; are in transit and not legally available for sale in South Africa; or involved in “round tripping” fraud.

Von Hone said these identifiers would help protect motor dealers from falling foul of the provision of the Consumer Protection Act.

The new Consumer Protection Act, which has been hailed by many for making the South African consumer one of the most protected in the world, has a profound impact on the liability of dealers who prejudice consumers by selling them faulty goods.

The latest South Africa Police Service crime statistics indicated that there were 13 900 car hijackings and 71 776 reported vehicle thefts in the country in the past year, Von Hone said.

It was estimated that only about 20% of these were chopped for spares, he added.

“The rest either get exported to other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or are re-circulated back into the market—and often on to the floors of unsuspecting dealers—after they have been issued with a new ‘clean’ identity by sophisticated vehicle crime syndicates. This is known as ‘cloning’,” Von Hone said.

He pointed out that the nature of vehicle crime in SA was constantly changing.

“Those of us who are involved in the fight against vehicle crime have to constantly update our methodologies to counter the growing sophistication of the crime syndicates. TransUnion believes the latest enhancement to its vehicle verification reports is one of the most significant developments in this regard in recent years,” he said.

“By identifying illegal or illegitimate used or previously eNatis-registered vehicles, it will provide greater protection for the legitimate motor industry and potentially lead to a dramatic reduction in vehicle-related crime,” Von Hone said.

With effect from May, all TransUnion vehicle verification reports issued to the trade have been expanded to include information obtained from the International Vehicle Identification Desk database.—I-Net Bridge

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