Commercial & Industrial News South Africa

SAIA decision deals new blow to South African used-car buyers

According to the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (Sambra), the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) has confirmed that its VIN-Lookup website will not include Code 2 for potential used-car buyers.
84-year-old Leon Bredenkamp | image supplied
84-year-old Leon Bredenkamp | image supplied

This means that a potential buyer of a used car can't check on the website if a vehicle is too uneconomical to repair as a consequence of an accident.

At present, SAIA's website covers cars when it comes to Code 3, Code 3A, and Code 4. Code 3 vehicles are involved in an accident, and subsequently unfit for use as a motor vehicle.

Code 3A vehicles have the status of permanently unfit for use and are not to be re-registered after deregistering as being permanently unfit for use.

Code 4 vehicles are scrap cars that are no longer fit for the road.

Marcia Modiba, acting national director for Sambra, said:

“On 15 April, Sambra met with SAIA once again regarding the publication of Code 2 cars that had been deemed uneconomical to repair.

“SAIA confirmed that after extensive internal engagements by the relevant SAIA Committee structures, they have decided that Code 2 vehicle salvage information will not be included in the VIN-Lookup website.

“SAIA is of the view that providing general access to Code 2 salvage records would compromise those who buy these vehicles and safely undertake repairs to the manufacturer's specifications.”

Sambra has called on SAIA to consider adding Code 2 to its website and has highlighted a recent scenario where an 84-year-old pensioner was alleged victim of an unscrupulous dealer.

“An 84-year-old pensioner in Bela Bela has not only lost his original Toyota Corolla which he trustingly traded into a dealer online, but has also been unwittingly sold a 2021 Suzuki Brezza with just 28,525km on the clock for R230,000.

Image supplied
Image supplied

“What looked like a dream car at the initial physical inspection in Johannesburg, has been found, on subsequent inspection, not only to be a Code 2 vehicle which was previously written off but literally a rolling deathtrap on wheels," said Sambra.

According to Sambra, A full report by a specialist independent forensic inspector was commissioned by an accredited repairer and it found that the car had been declared a Code 2 insurance write-off in 2022 and subsequently handed contractually to a salvage yard.

“Based on the current example Sambra questions again why SAIA is not equally concerned about compromising the safety of the end consumer.

“The bottom line is that once a vehicle has been declared uneconomical to repair by an insurer and ends up at a salvage yard, it is then fair game for anyone and that is where we lose total control,” Modiba concluded.

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