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.
But ordinary folk typically don’t have the means to attend high-end events like these, so we have to settle for the local auction block, with all of its police impounded “perp-mobiles,” abandoned clunkers, and donated jalopies. But regardless of what kind of crap is being auctioned off, there are diamonds in the rough that can be unearthed, and as a bidder, you stand a chance of getting one for pennies on the dollar.
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.
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.

Although car auctions might help you in buying a dream car within your budget, it is a fact that these events are not publicized to larger extent. Experts feel that if there is an increase in the number of bidders at these auction, the final bid price will be affected. Again, dealership sale also gets affected with such flocking and it always slides down. Henceforth, you should expect that the auction information will always be hidden from the public. You should try to catch such data on websites that work as search engines for car auctions.
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.
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.

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From our early days as an online police auction site, there was one piece of property & evidence that we did not touch – firearms. However, recently for many states and jurisdictions it has become a requirement, and even mandated, for law enforcement agencies to auction off their seized, forfeited and unclaimed firearms just as they do with other parts of the property and evidence room.

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."

This is about auctions where the cars are the most ordinary of ordinary vehicles: Ford Crown Victorias coming off six years of patrol duty with the county sheriff's department. Toyota Tercels with so much mileage that their odometers have worn off the printed numerals. Plain sedans, base model pickups and early '90s Pontiac Firebirds confiscated in drug stings. Cars you can get cheap—maybe.
All diesel vehicles and equipment operated in California may be subject to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) regulation to reduce emissions of air pollutants. Therefore, these items could be subject to exhaust retrofit or accelerated turnover requirements to reduce emissions of air pollutants. For more information, buyers may visit the ARB website at http://.arb.ca.gov/dieseltruck. Compliance with these regulations and all cost associated with meeting ARB requirements shall be the sole responsibility of the buyer.
Any dispute arising as to any bidding shall be settled by Auctioneer at his sole discretion, and Auctioneer may put the lot in dispute up for sale again. Auctioneer reserves the right to refuse any bid, which it considers to be an insignificant advance over the preceding bid. No person shall bid on any lot of which he is the Consignor, agent, associate, or on behalf of the Consignor.
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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.
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."

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.


Cars at public auctions are often those that wouldn't sell at wholesale dealer auctions. Yes, some are flood vehicles, and Hurricane Irene should still be fresh in your mind. Some are cars quickly reconditioned in dealership shops to fill in slow periods when there's otherwise little work to be done. And many are just flat out junk. "A car that goes across the block at a public auction that isn't spewing smoke is often packed with thick racing oil to ensure it doesn't," Lang continues. "Everything at a public auction looks shiny, but shiny doesn't mean much about the quality of the car."
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