The Auction Catalog has been prepared as a guide, and should be used as a guide only. Although the descriptions are believed to be correct its accuracy cannot be guaranteed or warranted. The Bidder acknowledges that all auction items are available for inspection prior to the auction and it is the Bidders responsibility to have inspected the item before bidding. No sale shall be invalidated; nor shall auctioneers be liable as a result of defects or inaccuracies of any lot.
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."
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.
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Watch the mood and trend of the crowd in the bidding before your vehicle comes up for sale. I've noticed that at auctions there are frugal crowds and there are spendy crowds. I don't know why this is. I've seen furniture, tools, and kitchen cabinets sell for 10% of retail. But I've also seen them sell at what you'd pay for full retail in a store at the same auction house on different days. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Always be prepared to walk away. There'll be another auction in a week or two.
In economics we tend to think of auctions as a good way to get at the true price of an object. Of course, it isn’t quite perfect as there’s still problems with information asymmetries, and people can get a winner’s curse because the people who err in thinking the car is worth more than it actually is are the ones who are likely to win. On the other hand, the price can go lower if there just aren’t enough people at the auction for that to happen– you need at least two people over-valuing the object and willing to pay for it for one of them to over-pay.
The bidding started out fairly tame. Individuals there bought a beat up Impala for $525, a Chevy Astro van for $425, and the shittiest Chrysler PT Cruiser I have ever seen for $300. As for the awesome Ford Escort wagon? Well, it didn’t do so hot, in part, Kevin told me, because it’s so light and has low scrap value, and because parts are in low demand:
Interest in these auctions has boomed as the economy stays stagnated and credit rules have tightened. Buyers who formerly could qualify for auto loans on new or solid used cars now find they need to shop with cash. But the United States is a country built around the automobile, and it's a lot easier to get a job if you have a car to drive to the interview, so for many people car auctions are a way to fill the need.
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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.
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Pay a Parking TicketAffordable HousingAlternate Side Parking or Street CleaningSummer Jobs for YouthPublic School Calendar and ClosuresNew York City Housing LotteryNoise from NeighborParking Ticket Lookup and Copies Bulk Item Disposal Parking Signs and LocatorRecycling or Trash Collection ScheduleSNAP (Food Stamps)About NYC311NYC311 Mobile AppNYC311 TwitterNYC311 Facebook
Policeauctions.com is run by a private company and is not affiliated with the government. It provides information and links to government-run auctions, but the site itself is part of the wholesale liquidation auction market. Items are sold as is and sometimes there are fees. You have to register to bid and get information, but it doesn’t cost anything to join the site.
Depending on the agency, the government may use revenue from auctioned items to support crime-prevention programs, pay restitution to crime victims or purchase new equipment the department needs. "By providing agencies with the ability to dispose of excess assets, GSA benefits taxpayers by eliminating the need to maintain and store the unneeded property while also raising more than $300 million in revenue in just the last two years," a GSA spokesperson said.
“We usually send [PropertyRoom] our jewelry - since they appraise it - and things like high-end Coach purses,” said Robin Neal, property officer with the Fremont, Calif., police department. “My experience of them is that they are very honest with the condition of the item they put online. We have also had officers who work for our department utilize the site for purchase and were very happy with it.”
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.
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