Online Auto Auctions Are Fun!

With our lives already so stretched out, these days just about any service or trade is available online. With a few simple clicks, we can now buy and sell almost anything through the Internet. The online auto auction is no different. There are literally hundreds of sites online where you can buy and sell cars every single day.

Where do the cars come from?

This is a good question because you do not want to be scammed into sending money and receiving a dud. The cars come from finance companies, banks. These cars may have been repossessed for a variety of reasons and are now offered to the public for auction. The advantage here is that these finance companies wish to get some money back so for the consumer they can get a decent car for a cool price.

Why Online Auctions?

Seriously! No one has time to attend 5 or 6 car auctions to decide what car they want. Online auto auctions offer the flexibility of searching from many different sites, comparing prices, making a decision all without leaving your home/office!

Real-time , Live Bidding

This is an interesting feature on almost all good auto auction sites. There is a reserve price on almost every car and then you start bidding. The bidding is done from your computer whether you are at work or home. As the bidding is in Real Time, you are able to view other bids as if you are sitting in a real auction.

Auto Bidding

Sometimes, it is just not possible to be online and bidding actively. Some online auto auction houses have come up with a clever way where you can still bid. What happens is that you place your bid and state the maximum you are willing to pay. The auctioneer will determine the bid increments. If you are successful in the bidding, an e-mail will be sent to you with further instructions

Refund Guarantee

Now this is an interesting one. The thing with an online auto auction is, you do not see the car until your bid is successful and you go pick your car. Some sites offer a refund if what you expected or what was promised is not delivered.


It can get a little painful searching for a whole list of sites in your area. Some online auto auction sites offer a one-stop shop. For example, if you life in New York, than there will be a list of all the current and upcoming auto auctions in New York. As this is a special service, there is a small fee some sites may ask for. It is well-worth paying for it because there is nothing like having a ready-made list delivered to your e-mail box every week or fortnight. This increases your chances of bidding for something you like and if the opportunity goes away, you can always be assured there is another auction around the car.


There are many positives of online auto auctions but there are some things to be careful about as well.

  • Bidding war
  • Some bidders get carried away and not realize that they are going over the limit. It is the excitement of watching the prices change in the real-time bidding environment. Self-control is very important. Sometimes without realizing, one ends up paying even more than the actual price of the car!

  • Illegal
  • It is hard to make out sitting on your computer if the car you are about to buy is not stolen or used for something else. Where possible, try to purchase from a reputable online auction place. The last thing you want is to purchase a car and the police knocking on your door.

  • Fraud
  • Some techno wizards have known to create fake websites with a fancy homepage. You are lured to part with your money only to realize that you have been conned and there is no car waiting for you to be picked up at the location you were told of in the congratulations e-mail!!

  • Hold the bid as far as you can
  • An overeager bidder will kill the competition and end up paying too much. This is not about a ego trip but to save money.

  • No uncle or grandmother bidding for you!
  • There have been instances of getting relatives to bid for you only to have big misunderstandings when you realize that the wrong colour, wrong car, wrong price was bid.

  • Read the terms and conditions
  • Ultimately, you are responsible for what you buy. Make sure you read the conditions because some sites will not offer a refund or exchange once the car is sold. Some sites do not have cooling off periods so the cars is yours once payment has exchanged hands.

  • No Inspection
  • If you are someone who needs to see, smell the product before buying it, then online auto auctions are way out of your league as you will only see the car when you buy it. Some get disappointed with the colour or look of the car after delivery.

Still, online auto auctions can be fun once you get the hang of it. The best thing about it is that you can be relaxing at home in your PJ’s with a warm cup of coffee on a rainy day and bid for your favourite car!

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