We have all heard of eBay right? Online car auctions are actually very similar to the bidding process you will find at eBay. Almost anything tangible can be auctioned off online and it sure is a great way to find bargains indeed.
One of the benefits to buying cars through online auction is that the inventory of possibilities is endless so you really have the opportunity to shop and bid smart, there is never any reason to rush into a purchase considering the availability of supply.
When it comes to buying cars at online auction, there are some potential drawbacks one of which is the all important fact that you really can’t inspect the vehicles yourself. Other than that buying cars at an online auction involves the same process from registration on through to bidding and finally settlement should you take a bid.
Another important consideration is shipping; this is the other major difference between “online”auctions and “live” auctions, at a live car auction you can drive your new car away once you have settled your balance.
If you win a bid at an online car auction you’ll have to arrange shipping of that vehicle which will involve additional costs, don’t forget to add this cost as well as the auction houses 5% commission into your “max bid” figure.
Advantages of online car auctions
1) Online auctions give you a much wider “catchment area” so you have the ability to search available vehicles, makes and models within a nationwide radius. If you are buying a car from an online auction and plan on having it shipped to you, who cares where the vehicle is coming from?
2) If you are planning on going the online route and do not plan on attending live auctions than I STRONGLY recommend that you stick with Government auctions since the vehicles found here are less likely to have been seized. The majority of the vehicles up for bid are retired Federal vehicles so they will likely have clean titles and available time stamped service records….This is a very important consideration…
3) Keep in mind that the vast majority of Government car auctions are the traditional live auctions however you can gain access to legitimate “online” Government auctions if you are a member of a Government car registry. Membership fees are typically a one time ordeal and generally range between $30-$50.00 dollars for a lifetime membership.
4) Government online car auctions will make a full disclosure of the condition of their vehicles and will provide lots of pictures detailing all of the known trouble spots. You will also have full access to customer service and auction consultants as you would at a live auction.
5) Online government car auctions are no different than live car auctions in that the auction itself will generally require a 5% buyer’s premium so make sure that you read the online registration policies and bidding rules so you don’t go in half hazard. Most online car auctions will require you to make a refundable deposit before you can begin bidding, keep in mind that all bids are final as they would be in the case of a live auction.
The majority of Government online car auctions make a real effort to ensure that the cars they have listed are high quality well maintained vehicles. Just remember that all car auctions weather on or offline are a buy “AS IS” environment so it is critical that you do your homework.
Personally, I prefer live Government car auctions versus online car auctions; I just don’t feel comfortable buying a car that I haven’t inspected myself. Also keep in mind that there are many more live traditional Government car auctions available than there online counterparts. I look at this as fishing where the fish are, there is far more supply on the traditional side than there is on the online car auction front..