Buying a vehicle at auction everything you need to know

В рубриках: Automobile | Автор: admin 22.06.2010

Buying a Vehicle at Auction – Everything You Need To Know

Although buying a car or van from an auction can save you a great deal of money and time, you must ensure that you are familiar with how car auctions work, before making any bids.

Make an Initial Visit

Make sure you attend the auction centre at least once before you make any bids, so that you can familiarise yourself with the way an auction works. You may be surprised at the number of vehicles on offer and the speed at which they are sold. Get a catalogue, and make notes of the prices the vehicles achieve; that way you’ll know how far your budget will stretch.

Terms and Conditions

Every auction company will have a copy of their ‘Terms and Conditions’ available. You must read these carefully, and ask the auction staff to explain anything that you don’t understand.

Selling Descriptions

When describing a vehicle, the auctioneer may use one of the following terms:

1. No Major Mechanical Faults (or Defects)

Vehicles sold under this heading should not have any major faults in the engine, clutch, gearbox, steering, brakes or transmission. You will have one hour after after you have paid for the car or after the end of the sale in which to find any faults to these parts. If you do find any, you should report them to the auction immediately, and they will either refund your money or negotiate a suitable reduction in price with the vendor on your behalf.

2. Specified Faults

Any particular defects notified by the seller will be read out by the auctioneer. Again, you will have one hour after the sale to report any major mechanical faults; however, you will have no comeback in respect to the particular faults specified the auctioneer.

3. Sold As Seen

Generally all older and cheaper vehicles are sold ‘As Seen’, and any such vehicles are bought with all their faults, whatever and however serious they may be. No complaints can be made after the sale, so you must inspect any such vehicle very carefully before making a bid.

4. On an Engineer’s Report

A vendor may request that an Engineer’s Report is prepared and displayed prior to sale. Any complaints after the sale may only be made if any items have been wrongly described by the Engineer.

Listen to the Auctioneer

Make sure that you listen carefully to what the auctioneer has to say about each vehicle as it is driven into the auction hall. This is an important skill; if you miss any information that would affect your decision to buy the vehicle, you will have little grounds for redress.


If the highest bid is less than the reserve, the auctioneer may provisionally sell the vehicle to that bidder, subject to the vendor accepting that bid. The auction centre will then negotiate between the vendor and bidder to agree a price acceptable to both parties.


The highest bidder will usually need to go straight to the rostrum to pay a deposit. You will then need to pay for the vehicle in full before it will be released to you. You will also need to pay an additional Buyer’s Fee on top of the hammer price. This fee is payment for the services the auction provides you, and offers you protection against any potential problems such as:

  • the vehicle proves to be stolen,
  • the vehicle has outstanding hire purchase finance,
  • the vehicle was subject of an insurance company’s total loss settlement prior to the date of auction sale and this fact was not disclosed,
  • the vehicle’s odometer reading is false (if it was said to be accurate at the time of sale).

The buyers fee depends on the hammer price of the vehicle, but will be approximately 30 pounds to 90 pounds.


At the fall of the hammer, the insurance liability will be immediately transferred to you, the new owner. You are required by law to ensure a vehicle is MOT’d, fully taxed and insured before using it on the road.

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