Guide To Auto Auctions
Consumer Tips for Buying Cars at Auctions and Avoiding Scams
We'll review the basic types of car auctions, give the pros and cons of each, the scams you may encounter, how to tell if a car has been damaged, totaled or flooded. We'll help you answer the question "should I try to buy a car at auction?" We'll cover buying cars from online auto auctions like eBay Motors, Manheim, Police Seizure and Salvage Auctions.
At Auctions, it's Every Man for Himself
At some auctions you can pay a fee to guarantee the engine, frame and body for 30 days. But the phrase "Buyer Beware" is most important at auctions, because you don't have time to take the car to a mechanic, the cars are usually sold "As Is" with no warranty, and the deal is final unless the title turns out to be fraudulent. Sellers are free to make all sorts of verbal promises, without putting it in writing. Without a written contract, it's your word against theirs, and they always win. So especially at auctions, assume the worst case.
Two Things You Must Do
- In the game of buyer beware, knowing a car's history is king. An AutoCheck Report is one of the most powerful weapons that you have to protect yourself against fraud. Get more information in our complete Vehicle History Report chapter.
- Buy a extended warranty. Click here to read our complete article on buying an extended warranty. We'll review extended car warranty companies like CARCHEX and WarrantyDirect.
The Price You Pay is Always Higher Than What You Bid!
Don't forget that on top of your winning bid, there is usually a buyer's premium. Sometimes the premium is only a few hundred dollars, sometimes it's 5 or 10 percent of the winning bid.
Auctions can be dangerous because that's where the junked, flooded and rebuilt cars are most likely to be found.