Juliet McGuire

Never buy a bad lemon car with this app

I hate that we use the term ‘lemon’ when referring to a bad or faulty car. Only because I love lemons. And they are so good for you. Rich in Vitamin C and other game-changing nutrients. Before I get in to how you will never have to worry about this term again, I want to know why we call a bad car a lemon.

According to many weird and wonderful websites, the reason we use the term ‘lemon’ to describe a car that has many faults that were unseen when purchasing the car, isn’t all that clear. Some say it dates back to early 20th century American slang, where a ‘lemon’ referred to “a person who is a loser, a simpleton,” as a lemon. Another possibility is that the term originated from British pool hall slang, where a ‘lemon game’ was a game played by a hustler. It could be because a lemon, although it looks harmless and smells great, “leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth,” but I cannot agree to this, I love the taste a lemon leaves in my mouth. The most obvious for me is from the British slang term from the early 1900’s in which “to hand someone a lemon” was “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.”


Because I have heard far too many stories from readers who bought a second-hand car only to find out, once payment was issued, that the car was an absolute dud and the seller had been hiding something. I even bought a car that, unbeknownst to me, had been in an accident. I thought I had done all the checks, but even the wise can be fooled. 😉

Speaking of checks, we all know what to do before buying a used car, right? You ask for a full service history and the book value, we take it for a test drive, look for any uneven paint surfaces, scratches or dents, we perhaps take a petrol-head friend along who ‘knows his/her cars,” and we make sure that the car is priced accordingly to the sites we have checked online beforehand. What more can you do? Drum roll please…


Imagine if private buyers and sellers could access the same kind of information that’s previously been reserved for car dealers, banks and insurance companies? All the stuff I just mentioned; the book value of the car, its full service history, its legal status. You don’t have to imagine anymore because finally, there is an app that will do all of this for you, and more. It is going to change the South African car-buying landscape and I cannot wait.

The FirstCheck app, which is powered by TransUnion, is an absolute game-changer. It gives private buyers and sellers the information they need to make better, more informed decisions around buying, selling and insuring cars. With this app, you’re not only able to put a fair price on the car upfront, but you’re also far less likely to fall victim to fraudsters by having insight into the full history of the vehicle.


The question should be, “What doesn’t it do for you?”

The app offers two major pieces of information. The valuation report provides both current trade and retail values to ensure the price being asked reflects the vehicle’s true market value. This also helps you make sure you’re paying the correct insurance premiums, and offers a view of how much the vehicle has depreciated over the past 12 months, and projected future values.

The verification report provides the car’s original manufacturer information, including vehicle identification number (VIN), engine number and vehicle colour, and highlights any discrepancies. The second part follows the vehicle through its lifecycle, with full financing information, legal status and even mileage at certain points.

The verification report also tells a purchaser if a car has been “microdotted” – where a car is marked with thousands of dots. If so, potential buyers can use a microdot scanner to check if body panels and even engine parts have been replaced.

The app links into bank and SA Police Service databases to check if a car is currently being financed, or is flagged as stolen. It even allows consumers to instantly check their creditworthiness by purchasing their credit report.

Didn’t I tell you it is a game-changer? I mean, come on! How good is this? Let’s face it, we can’t all afford to buy brand new cars and there are some fantastic deals on the used car market. The only downfall has been the lack of guarantee when it comes to buying a used car privately. The little scumbag scammer has been able to disappear in to thin air the minute the sale has gone through and you could do sweet bugger all about it. This app takes away that worry and I cannot wait for you all to praise me for introducing this app to you and therefore change your lives for the better.

If you must, you can thank me via my social media channels: YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. I won’t judge you.


You can visit the firstcheck website, or download the app (iOS and Android), to buy a Car Value Report (Valuation), a Car Check Report (Verification), or check your credit score. The website/application provides instant, anywhere, anytime access on the value and status of a specific vehicle. The Car Value Report costs R19, and the full Car Check Report costs R99.


Source: Texas Lemon Law Blog


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