Many motorists have made the mistake of buying a bargain car at auction, only to find it was a shambles shortly after taking it for a drive. Cars, bikes, and other motor vehicles are popular at auction, but the chances of buying a worn out car is greater than other vehicles. First-time buyers keen to seek out a bargain at a car auction, either in person or through another medium, should learn a little more about the process before leaping in and making a hasty purchase that they may regret.
Types of auction
Before deciding on any purchase, consumers should first consider the type of auction that best suits their needs. Unbeknownst to many casual buyers and sellers, there are several types of auction, with government auctions proving particularly popular with buyers.
Unfortunately, while government auctions often proved reliable in the past as all of the vehicles often have a service history and have been professionally maintained, they proved so successful that bidding is often fierce. Indeed, many prospective buyers are often government employees who grew to like the vehicle in question or professional sellers seeking to buy a reliable vehicle and sell it for a profit later. Buyers should always carefully scrutinise any prospective purchase, be cynical, and if there are no bidders for a car that seems too good to be true, chances are there is a good reason why.
Public auctions are much less reliable than government auctions with many of the vehicles left untouched for years. Consumers should be aware of terms like "mileage exempt", which suggests that the car's mileage may have been tweaked or vehicles marked as "flood vehicles" that have been badly damaged internally but touched up for an easy sale. Sellers are well aware that bidders are unable to drive the vehicles before bidding, and may result to shady tactics to make a sale. Conversely, digital auctions may often prove a better way to shop at a public auction, because at least the buyer can usually check feedback and find out whether or not the seller is reliable, which is impossible to know at a real public auction.
Savvy auction veterans often warn laymen against making a purchase at auction if they know next to nothing about cars. This advice is not the best for someone keen to attend one or make a purchase, and there are many steps that consumers can take to mitigate the chance of making a poor decision. Perhaps the best way is to physically check the value of any vehicle before bidding. Checking the classified ads is a simple way of doing this, and there are several specialist books and magazines that methodically list the value of used vehicles by make, model, and year.
Licence plate checks
The Australian government adopted strict licensing laws in the 1950s that require all vehicles to be registered. A licence plate check is another must before making a purchase to check the history of the vehicle and make sure that the make and model are correct. Any doubts or suspicions about this process must always result in walking away from the vehicle, as these cars may prove to be "cut and shut" vehicles salvaged from wrecks and they are extremely dangerous. The Australian Department of Transport provides this information to any concerned buyers by way of the Vehicle Inspection System, an online catalogue of vehicles legally allowed to operate on Australian roads.
Avoiding a price war
If everything about a vehicle and its status seems to be in order, then bidding may commence, but novice buyers often get carried away during the bidding process and spend much more than they intended. Buyers should remember to remain cynical throughout the process and never place everything on any single vehicle. This results in a price war, and bidding against another consumer desperate to make a purchase is a sure way to spend more than intended. Buyers should consider the likely market value of the vehicle and always stick to it. Finally, consumers should not be in a hurry and should walk away rather than wind up with an expensive wreck.
How to buy a car on eBay
If you are concerned about attending an auction, one of the best ways to ensure that you purchase a car from a reliable seller is on eBay. Simply find the search box located on each page and type in the name of the vehicle you want to purchase. Simple entries, like "Ford Fiesta" or "Nissan Patrol," display a huge list of options, and you can narrow your search thanks to the handy filters to quickly find cars, parts, and accessories with ease.