These programs are meant to benefit taxpayers as a whole, but could they benefit you, the individual taxpayer? Can you bag a bargain at a government auction? "GSA's goal is to maximize return to the federal government," the GSA spokesperson said. So they're not giving this stuff away. In fact, the government sets "reserves" or minimums for the most valuable property it auctions off. But judging from a wide tour of current government auctions and bids, there are still opportunities to walk away with valuable goods for a great price. Here's a look at who's selling what, where, and for how much.
To bid, you'll mostly need to go to an auction house on the day and bid in person. However, some auction houses now offer live internet or telephone bidding. You'll have to register to bid with the auction house, whether you're bidding in person or not. You should be able to find out when the next police auction will be held by visiting the auction house's website.
Locating your nearest public car auction locations might be a question of doing some real detective work. They are usually hidden away in web searches because they are unaware of search engine optimization keywords which can get them onto the front page. You can try a search at specific sites which you know to be for repo, government car sales or police auctions. You will have to register your interest prior to the sale and you will be given a bidder number. All auctions work on similar principles, but each have their own way of doing things. You may also be asked for other personal details and will have to show proof of ID when you attend. Do some investigating before you attend. They may be able to send you an information pack and will usually have some tips for first time attendees.
Cars at government and public auctions sell on visual inspection alone. So look at everything and look for telltale signs of repairs such as paint overspray, less than smooth sheet metal, puddles under the vehicle, scored brake discs, an uneven stance and a million other details. Use your nose, hands and legs, too. If a car smells musty or the carpeting is wet, run away.
It is strongly recommended that you attend the open houses/inspections that are scheduled prior to sale. The bidder is invited, urged, and cautioned to inspect the property prior to submitting a bid. Failure to inspect property shall not constitute cause for cancellation of sale. Property will be available for inspection only at the times specified. At their own expense, potential bidders may have property inspectors examine the property during regularly scheduled open houses.
You could tell that most people knew each other. It felt like these few dozen bidders were part of an exclusive network of junkyard owners and flip-artists who have been bidding on cars against each other for years. Every now and then, when one guy outbid another, you’d see the losing bidder lean over to a friend and talk shit on the winner. “He just buys cars for the sake of buying them. He probably makes no money,” I heard one guy whisper. Police auctions are full of mysteries and secrets.
Almost every day law enforcement agencies from all across the country seize a wide range of properties that are connected to criminal activities. After the property has been used as evidence for the criminal trial and has been processed, the government will no longer need to hold this property, those properties are auctioned off to raise the money for administrative works and development. Seized auction are also resulted due to custom seizures, tax seizures and criminal seizures. For instance, when a trafficker's or drug dealer's home is raided by the government authorities, their possessions are confiscated as a result of being obtained from illegal activities. When a person doesn't pay tax as well, his/her possessions such as real estate, jewelry and cars are also confiscated and they are auctioned off to meet the outstanding tax liability. Similarly people who smuggle into the country without paying any kind of import duty or the items people are failed to prove as theirs when returned from foreign countries are also seized by the government and placed in the auctions.
High-end classic car auctions like the Barrett-Jackson events are common on cable channels with three-digit numbers, such as Speed and HD Theater. Perfect Shelby Cobras, Ferraris with long racing pedigrees, glorious Duesenbergs, exceedingly rare muscle cars and old Mercedes roadsters so gorgeous that your eyes water cross the block and sell for insane prices.
You can find some information online, on government websites which will let you search your area for a particular vehicle. These sites are not limited to cars, either. You can find SUVs, trucks and motorcycles on many of them too. Doing a ZIP code search and choosing a specific model will show you all the vehicles within a certain distance from you. Police specific auctions can be found by other websites like gov-auctions, which tells you when and where the local auctions will take place.
But the competition at county auctions is brutal and it's only getting stronger. "Taxi companies want the old cruisers to use as cabs," Lang says. "And often there are government employees who are going after a vehicle that they used on the job and grew fond of. A lot of the school buses and trucks get bought by brokers looking to ship them overseas to poorer countries that will use them for public transportation. These are guys who go to government auctions all the time, know what to pay and know a lemon when they see it. You won't be the only bargain hunter out there."
You will be required to bring all of your paperwork (Bill of Sale/Receipt and Dealers License, if needed), Identification, and gate fee of $30 to your assigned pickup date and time. Important note: If you are sending someone else to pick up your vehicle (including a shipping company), you must call Corona’s Auto Parts and Towing to inform them of who will be picking up the vehicle, and you must send a notarized letter of authorization that the individual picking up the vehicle must have with him/her upon pickup.
As the action at public auctions has grown hotter, the cars have grown shadier. "I've personally seen cars with over 300,000 miles on their clocks rolled back to 120,000 and sold as 'Miles Exempt' meaning no guarantee of mileage," he says. "Most of the cars at a public auction are the worst trade-ins or very rough repos." And as in a government auction, you can't drive a public auction vehicle before you bid on it.
Visit websites of government agencies that hold public auctions. At the federal level, you can find auctions online or listings for live auctions held across the country by visiting the GovSales.gov website. GovSales.gov has consolidated listings of assets for sale across the federal government. A variety of state and local government agencies also hold public surplus property auctions. Links to many local government auction sites are listed at USA.gov, under Shopping.
PLEASE READ THESE TERMS OF SALE CAREFULLY, AS THEY HAVE BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED. THIS IS AN INTERNET-ONLY AUCTION! AUCTION CLOSING DATE: Tuesday, March 12th, beginning at 1:07 pm. Bidding closes on the first item at 1:07 pm, then closes at the rate discussed in these Terms and Conditions of Sale. INSPECT: Monday, March 11th, 1 - 3 pm, [ View Full Listing ]
If for any reason, Auctioneer is unable to make available or deliver any purchase or clear title to the same, or documentation required in respect of any purchase, whether before or after delivery, Auctioneer’s sole liability shall be the return of monies paid in respect of such purchase upon its return by purchaser. Any such purchase shall be returned or surrendered upon demand by Auctioneer.
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When you’re in need of a reasonably priced used car, your best and easiest solution is to come to one of our used car auction events — either in person or online. Because our inventory is always being updated, there are lots of options available. Plus, because our prices are so good, you can save a great deal. At our auctions, we sell hundreds of cars for less than $1000 and are always open to the public — the bargains are just waiting for you.
What items are available for sale - You can expect to find various items at police auctions. This could be clothing, jewelry, electronics, art work, cameras, computers, tools, watches, furniture and many other items. You can also purchase vehicles at police auctions, as well as boats and even airplanes. The seized vehicles that are used in committing crimes are placed for sale where minimum bids and reserved prices are extremely rare. This means that you would be able to get these items even if your bids are low and nobody else is bidding against you.
Government auctions are a great way to snag a retiring cop cruiser on the cheap, and being owned and run by the feds, you better believe it’s going to have records of every oil change, spark plug, and water pump that went into the damn thing. Nevertheless, it’s always best to remain objective, because even though it’s being sold by the United States government, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been thrashed. The competition at these things can also be pretty fierce at times (cab companies love old Crown Vics), so if cop cruisers and confiscated drug trafficking cars aren’t your thing, there are probably other options out there for you, like public auctions.
GovDeals is the official portal to government auctions, which range from land to computers to cars. The site's categories include surplus and confiscated items from various government agencies. The rules and regulations vary depending on the participating agency, and you deal directly with the agency after you are awarded your bid. The deals are great, but be sure to inquire about packaging and shipping of an item before you place your bid because most sellers do not ship, pack or palletize. You may be responsible for picking it up or paying someone to transport it.
GoodWill is a nonprofit organization that operates retail stores to raise money for people with disabilities or who otherwise need a helping hand. Its online auction site, ShopGoodwill, is a collaborative effort from GoodWill stores all across the United States and provides an impressive variety of all sorts of products, from cameras to tools to sports equipment.