"There are two types of public auctions," explains Steven Lang, who runs a used car dealership in the Atlanta area and once owned a dealer auction (not open to the public). "There are government auctions and there are public auctions." Both are full of potential pitfalls. Here's a quick rundown on both and 10 tips for getting the most out of either. That is, if you dare to venture into the auction pit.
Some items are being offered for sale to out of state or out of country bidders. Bidders are hereby notified that a VIN Stop has been filed with California DMV prohibiting the vehicle/equipment from being registered in California. Purchaser will be required to sign an ARB Out-of-State Verification Form acknowledging their intent to move the vehicle/equipment out of California, and an Out-of-State Sales Agreement indicating that the Buyer will inform future buyers that the vehicle cannot be registered and operated in California unless compliant with Section 2022.1(b). Bidders purchasing Out-of-State items must be registered as an out of State buyer with Bar None Auction prior to bidding.
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.
PLEASE READ THESE TERMS OF SALE CAREFULLY, AS THEY HAVE BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED.  THIS IS AN INTERNET-ONLY AUCTION!  AUCTION CLOSING DATE: Monday, March 18th at 11:07 am  Bidding closes on the first item at 11:07 am, then closes at the rate discussed in these Terms and Conditions of Sale.  INSPECT: Friday, March 15th 10am to 4pm REMOVAL:   [ View Full Listing ]
The US Department of the Treasury auctions off “seized and forfeited” general property (fancy a Rolex watch or a Fender guitar?), cars (how about a pimped-out Escalade?) and boats. Visit the Treasury’s website to find more information on where and when these auctions are held, plus sign up for alerts and research how much money items have sold for in the past. In addition, the Treasury has real property (RP) auctions for real estate seized through IRS-Criminal Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the US Secret Service.

PLEASE READ THESE TERMS OF SALE CAREFULLY, AS THEY HAVE BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED.  THIS IS AN INTERNET-ONLY AUCTION!  AUCTION CLOSING DATE: Monday, March 18th at 11:07 am  Bidding closes on the first item at 11:07 am, then closes at the rate discussed in these Terms and Conditions of Sale.  INSPECT: Friday, March 15th 10am to 4pm REMOVAL:   [ View Full Listing ]
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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.
U.S. Marshal's Service Auctions : And finally, the U.S. Marshal's service auctions off some true bling as part of its mission to "combat major criminal activity by disrupting and dismantling illegal enterprises" and "depriving criminals of the proceeds of illegal activity." Once again, there is real estate, but also businesses, cash cars, collectibles — and more.
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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.
Webstore.com is an auction site that is supported by donations and advertisements, so costs are kept low, and there are no membership fees. Although not everything is sold at auction at this site, the site's online auctions are highly rated for rare and collectible merchandise and state-of-the-art electronics. Auction categories include cameras, art, music, sports memorabilia, real estate and more.
Do the homework, sometimes even ‘bad’ car can be a great deal at an auction. I recently bought a minivan that was listed as having a blown transmission. A little research discovered this is a common problem for that make and year. At the preview, I had my mechanic (whom I trust) on speed dial and got an estimate on the spot to replace the transmission with a new, 5-year warrentied rebuilt one. The bids on the van were low (who’d buy a vehicle with a bad transmission?), and even with the purchase price, the cost of the new transmission and towing to my mechanic, it still came in way below KBB value. And I know it has a worry-free transmission for the next 5 years. So don’t let even a ‘problem’ car scare you off if you’re willing to do the homework and hassle of getting it fixed.
Inspect the items - Before you bid on anything, carefully inspect all of the items first. You would also like to get a better idea of what the items you will be bidding on could be worth. In case you are bidding on an online auction, you will need to rely on the picture and the description of the item. You need to do all of your research in advance, as all of the sales at the police auction are final once they accepted you bid. By doing your research in advance you will ensure that you are buying real bargains and not overpaying for the items that you are bidding on.
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