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Five Mistakes to Avoid at a Public Auto Auction

Five Mistakes to Avoid at a Public Auto Auction

2003-toyota-camryWhen visiting an auction, there are certain mistakes that many car buyers make. The most common ones are listed below with tips on how to avoid them. Buying a car or truck from an auto auction can be a positive experience as long as you come prepared. The auction process itself is a lot simpler than one may think since most public car auctions are designed for first-time auction buyers.

#1) Arriving to the auction late or just before it starts

This is an easy way to have a bad experience at a car auction. By not arriving early, a buyer would miss the important opportunity of inspecting the vehicles for sale ahead of time on the auction lot. Public car auctions move at a much slower pace than dealer auctions, but this is still not enough time to fully assess the value of a car one wants to place a bid on. It is vital to look over the vehicles closely before the auction starts.

#2) Do not expect to receive the car title the same day of the sale

While there are some exceptions, one should not be surprised if it takes 1 to 3 weeks for the title of a vehicle won at an auction to be sent to the buyer. Keep this in mind if you are planning to ship the car overseas or any other situation that would require the title for the newly purchased vehicle.

#3) Do not rely on state car “lemon laws” as buyer protection

In most states, lemon laws do not apply to the purchase of a used vehicle. Especially in the case of an auto auction in which the car is not likely to have been sold with a warranty. However, many auctions do offer optional third-party warranties to public buyers.

#4) When determining your budget, do not forget to account for auction’s fees and taxes

While the amount varies greatly from auction to auction, it is important to obtain a copy of the “auction fee schedule” to help determine how much fees are involved for a certain price range. Also, most states require that tax for the vehicle be collected by the auction at the time of purchase. One exception to this is if buying as an out of state resident. In this case, the tax would be paid at the state of residence when obtaining the tag.

#5) If planning to pay with a credit or debit card, be sure to clear the large purchase with your bank so that it does not trigger a fraud alert or daily spending limits

Most auctions are held when banks will be closed so be sure to contact the card issuer to inform them of an intended large purchase.

Do not let these warnings make you feel intimidated about the auction process. They can be a lot of fun and are a great way to buy a cheap used car or truck for a lot less than you would at a car dealership.