You’ve probably seen in the news that the US government is stepping up its seizure of cars, boats and land from suspected criminals. Raids on drug dealers and other mobsters have seen many high-end luxury cars seized by the government. Add that to the huge numbers of cars that the government already has and you get a recipe for savings.
Government auto auctions are held all across the country in nearly every city. Information regarding the auctions is available from a variety of sources including sites that charge small membership fees.
Buying at auction can be a great way to buy a quality used car. Like most things, though, information is key. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers that you will find helpful if you are interested in buying a car at auction.
Frequently Asked Questions about Government Auto Auctions
Q. How do I make my vehicle preferences known so the auction can inform me as to when they might be for sale?
A. Dealers can submit “profiles” to auction marketing departments, describing the types of vehicles they are interested in purchasing. Dealers can indicate the make, model, price range, condition and supply source for vehicles they would like to receive pre-sale notification on. This “Want List” can be submitted electronically, by mail, by fax, phone or in person to an auction’s marketing department.
Q. Can a dealer bid on a car before the sale begins?
A. No, unless it is offered on an Internet venue.
Q. Is there a minimum purchase requirement?
A. No. Dealers can purchase as few or as many vehicles as they need based on their credit limits.
Q. What should a dealer do if he wants to purchase a vehicle that went through the lane as a no sale?
A. The dealer should communicate to the dealer representative, ringman or other auction official in the lane to facilitate a potential purchase.
Q. How does a dealer establish floorplan financing with the auction?
A. Most auction chains have in-house financing departments that can help independent dealers arrange for credit. Most franchised dealers use their manufacturers’ captive finance companies to establish a line of credit with auctions.
Q. What’s the difference between auction certification and post-sale inspection?
A. Auction certification is requested by the consignor and takes place before the sale. Post-sale inspection takes place after the sale and is requested by the buying dealer.
Q. Can a dealer buy a car at auction and resell it at auction the same day?
A. Yes. The dealer will have to re-register the vehicle.
Q. Do all auctions use electronic registration?
A. Most do, but some auctions do not yet have this technology in place.
Q. How long in advance does a dealer need to register for an auction?
A. The sooner the better, but dealers can register at any time – even on sale day.
Q. How do I register one of my employees or a representative who can bid for me?
A. Dealer principals can authorize representatives to bid for their organization at the time of registration or via a Letter of Authorization. Authorized representatives must have a valid driver’s license.
As always, information is important. Arm yourself with good information before you head out to the auctions and you may find a Great Deal.