Do I Have to Be a Dealer to Buy a Car at an Online Auction?

By Mike Richards Updated: 01/30/2018 Posted: 10/19/2015

Traditionally, car auctions (both physical and online) have been the exclusive province of car dealers. Anyone else wanting to buy a car online has had to investigate ads on Craigslist or Kijiji or bid on eBay. Every once in a while you’d find a public auction online, but they were few and far between. Usually, buyers had to have a dealer license.

Thanks to the advent of proxy bidding companies, this is no longer the case.

What Is a Proxy Bidding Company?

These are companies that hold dealer licenses, and use them to allow non-dealers to bid at certain auctions. Essentially, you allow the company to use your available cash or credit to bid on your behalf for the vehicle that you want to own. That way, you get access to some of the online car auctions that would otherwise be off limits to you.

The Advantage

When you use a proxy bidding company, that means that you have access to all the deals and benefits that you would have if you were a car dealer yourself.

In days gone by, if you weren’t a dealer, you’d have to know one. It didn’t matter if you wanted to buy a new car, a lease buy-back, a repo or even a salvage vehicle; you’d have to be buddies with a dealer. At a physical car auction, that would mean that you’d have to represent yourself as an employee of the dealer who was there for the purpose of driving a car that was won at auction back to the dealership.

You wouldn’t have to go through that pretense online, because the dealer would be pretending to bid on his or her own behalf. Either way, you had to know someone.

With proxy bidders, you don’t have to be friends. You don’t even have to know each other. You simply hand over your cash or credit to the bidder, along with a fee (which is usually quite reasonable). The company bids under their license for the car that you want to buy, and then you pay them for the car plus the fee, which will usually include delivering your car right to your door.

No Stress

Some people love the chaotic environment of a car auction, with the smell of exhaust, streams of vehicles moving in multiple lanes, and auctioneers jabbering madly. Others, not so much.

If you’re in the “not so much” category, you’d probably be well-advised to avoid a “real life” car auction. An online auction is much less stressful, but it’s still not for everyone. If you’re the type of person who gets upset when someone outbids you on eBay, chances are you’re no better suited to an online car auction. But take heart – you can still bid on the vehicle of your dreams by using a proxy bidding company.

Overseas Shipping

If you’re working overseas, and you need to have your auction-purchased vehicle transported to your location, you’ll be glad to know that most of the time, shipping to virtually any location can be arranged by your third-party shipper. An employee will drive the car off the lot, and take it to the point of shipping. This may cost extra, or it may be included in the flat fee.

Even if there is an extra charge, though, you will have saved so much money by buying your vehicle at auction that you’ll still be getting a great deal. When your car shows up at your location, all you’ll have to do is pay taxes and import fees.

Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.