Cost: The amount or equivalent paid or charged for something. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cost
Automated: To apply the principles of automation to a mechanical process, industry, office, etc. . . http://www.dictionary.com/browse/automated
Reference Check: The process of getting information about a person from his/her previous employers, schools and other available sources. http://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/human-resources-hr-terms/16590-reference-check.html
Pretty simple by definition, not so simple by choice.
Additional Questions to ask to get the answer:
Is this a service or software solution?
Is the process truly automated, or is the process of calling references outsourced?
What do I have to do to initiate the service or solution?
How are references contacted?
Are there multiple methods being used to contact references or just a single method? www.reflynk.com
If only one method- what if it does not work?
How many attempts will the service or solution make on a candidate?
How long will it take to get results back to me?
In what format will the results be presented ?
Is the price: per candidate or subscription based? www.reflynk.com
Are reference questions customized to fit our company needs or standard by default?
Is this solution part of a bigger solution (ATS,HRIS) or a stand alone?
Is the solution compliant with current HR standards and regulations? www.shrm.org
Many questions need to be addressed to simply reach this conclusion: The Cost of an Automated Reference Check is a fraction of the cost of a traditional reference check