How a car auction works
A Motor Auction is an agency, operating between people wishing to sell vehicles and those wishing to purchase vehicles.
However, there is more to understand about an auction than just this. Hopefully, the following information will give you a clearer understanding of today’s Motor Auctions.
Motor Auctions are in invaluable service within the motor industry, and have been around almost as long as the car itself. Auctions allow organisations of all sizes to dispose of, and hence replace, many tens of thousands of vehicles each year and with auctions being entrusted to dispose of surplus vehicles on behalf of Local Authorities, Police Forces, utility companies and numerous other organisations and businesses, you can be sure of an extremely wide choice indeed.
The bulk of the cars sold at an auction reflect all popular makes and models on the road. Price, choice and convenience are important to remember when visiting an auction; in terms of price you will be paying the same price as the trade. The choice of the makes and the models of the vehicles at an auction are tremendous, as auctions are not tied to any particular manufacturer. Convenience, simply because it would take weeks to view as many cars as you can view in one sale. It is advisable to use your first trip to the auction to familiarise yourself with the fast pace at which car sales are dealt with. This is merely to give every vehicle a chance to sell within the allotted time. The auctioneers themselves are experienced and can be invaluable should you require advice.
If you know what you’re doing you can pick up a bargain at a car auction – but the real emphasis is on the last part – you really have to know what you’re doing, since vehicles are sold as-is.
The best vehicles appear at dealer auctions, rather than those open to the public, though. So where can an ordinary person find a good car at auction? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the answer’s on eBay. They’ve had a vehicle auction arm for several years, and with due care you can find a real deal.
HOW IT WORKS
The auction process is the same as anything else on eBay. You place a bid, and can keep on bidding, hoping you win the vehicle at the end of the auction. That’s simple enough, but a car isn’t a book or a dress. Photographs and a description alone aren’t going to tell the whole story.You can search cars for auction by make or model, or you can refine the search by looking for vehicles within a radius of your own address – you decide how far. This is an important factor, unless you really want to travel to the other end of the country for a vehicle.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The great advantage of searching listings close to home is that you can easily inspect a vehicle that catches your attention. A cardinal rule is never bid on a car you haven’t examined – preferably with a mechanic, unless you’re very able in that field yourself. Test drive it, so you can not only get a feel for the vehicle and whether it suits you, but also its handling and faults on the road.
If you’re searching for a vehicle to buy, you’d do best to contact the seller early in the auction, to allow plenty of time for viewing. Take care to view the documents pertaining to the car too – the service record, if available, and the registration certificate, to be sure the seller really is the owner (the last thing you want is to spend money only to discover the vehicle’s stolen; if that’s the case you’ll receive no compensation).
The more thorough you are in your examination, the less likely you are to end up either scammed or with a lemon. Beware, too, of any signs that the person selling the car is a dealer. Check his feedback; if many of the entries concern car sales, then you’re looking at a dealer. Also check the feedback for buyer satisfaction, as an indication of the seller’s general honesty.
IF YOU WIN THE AUCTION
The people at eBay prefer buyers to pay via Paypal. Generally that’s a good idea, for the protections it offers a purchaser. But when you’re buying a car from someone, it might not be the best solution.
You might well do better to pay cash when you pick up the car. However, don’t just hand over the money. Inspect the vehicle again (and check the VIN – unscrupulous people have switched cars before!) before you pay.
The problem is that this method of payment negates your protections through eBay. However, an in-person inspection can save you a lot of problems later, so it becomes six of one and half a dozen of the other.