Auction Process & Bidding
How does the Auction Process work?
This is not eBay or other similar online marketplace/auction platforms that shoppers may be accustomed to. Those are not wholesale dealer-only auctions like Copart or IAA, so they have a different process. Let us explain how the dealer-only car auction process works.
On sites such as eBay when you find the car that you want, you can bid on that car until the auction timer goes down to 00:00. If you are the highest bidder (and have met the reserve, assuming there is one) you win the car. With dealer-only car auctions, the cars are listed on the site in advance of the actual live auction start time. That gives the buyers a chance to view the vehicle and do their research to determine if (and how much) they want to bid. Each car auction listing has a timer showing when the live auction starts (not ends like other auction sites). Once the timer reaches 00:00 the actual auction starts and this auction lasts about 2 to 3 minutes.
Our site shows you all of the cars that are scheduled for auction in the upcoming hours/days/weeks. Each car listing page has an auction timer located in the top right of the page which shows you when the auction starts.
If you find the car that you want and are interested in “attending” the actual live auction simply click the “Attend Live Auction” button under the auction timer in the car listing page or you can call us at 1-800-680-8010 or write to us at [email protected] so that we can put you on the schedule to “attend” the live auction with us. It’s really exciting and we look forward to working with you on your next car purchase!
What can I do during the period before the auction starts?
You are able to do several things, depending on the type of auction:
Pre-Bidding – You can make preliminary bids (Pre-Bids) by pressing the Place Bid button in the car listing page. The bid that you enter here is your maximum bid amount, i.e. the most that you want to bid on this car, which could be the next higher incremental bid or several hundred dollars above that. We go into more detail about Pre-Bidding and strategy in the FAQ pages below. SPOILER ALERT – it’s not a great strategy.
Buy Now – If the car has a Buy Now option and you are happy with the price, you can click the Buy Now button and purchase the car before it ever goes to live auction. This gives you certainty that you will get the car for the state price and also avoid the chance that the bidding will go above the Buy Now price.
Make Offer – For most of the cars listed on our site, you can Make an Offer to buy the vehicle before it goes to live auction. This feature is available even when there is a Buy Now option and permits you to offer a price that is less than the Buy Now amount to see if the seller is willing to sell at this lower price.
What are Pre-Bids?
Pre-Bids are bids on the car before the auction actually starts for that vehicle. Once a Pre-bid is made it is binding. We discuss more on this in the FAQ page below.
Should I make a Pre-Bid?
We recommend that you avoid pre-bids because only the Seller benefits from this. Each Pre-Bid is binding on the buyer and cannot be cancelled. So, when you place a pre-bid it raises the price of the car before the auction has actually started and makes the starting bid at the live auction the highest pre-bid. The more pre-bids on the car before the auction starts means that the opening price will be much higher.
For example, if the highest pre-bid on a car is $5,000, the opening bid during the live auction will be $5,000 and can only go up from there. However, if there were no pre-bids on the car, the opening price of the live auction would be much lower. There is a chance that bidding on the car during the live auction will reach the same high pre-bid amount regardless of whether there were pre-bids on the car, but why jump the gun and give the Seller more leverage.
In all, we highly recommend that you do not make any Pre-Bids on cars because you will drive up the opening bid of the car when the live auction begins, which could result in the car selling for more than you want to spend.
Okay, so Pre-Bidding is not recommended, but how do I bid on and win the car I want?
We recommend that you speak to our Auction Specialist about the vehicle you want to bid on and we can give you some valuable advice on the car so that you can decide if you want to buy the car and schedule a time to “attend” the live auction with our Auction Specialist. Don’t worry, you won’t have to leave the comfort of your home/office to attend the auction as our Auction Specialists will share their screen during the live auction so that you can see the bidding.
When you pick the car that you want to bid on and buy you can either press the “Attend Live Auction” button under the auction timer in the car listing page or you can call us at 1-800-680-8010 or write to us at [email protected] so that we can put you on the schedule to “attend” the live auction with us. It’s really exciting and we look forward to working with you on your next car purchase!
What is the Live Auction?
As mentioned in the FAQ pages above, the live auction begins after the pre-bid period closes. In fact, on each of the car listing pages you can see the time when the live auction will start. The live auction is very quick and only lasts about 2 to 3 minutes.
How do I attend a Live Auction?
Any of our registered members that have a deposit on their account may attend a live auction. When you pick the car that you want to bid on and buy you can press the “Attend Live Auction” button under the auction timer in the car listing page and we can attend the auction together.
We can attend the live auction with you in one of two ways, either over the phone during the auction or by sharing our computer screen so you can see the bidding live right as it happens. Remember, you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home or office to attend the live auction.
How do we share a computer screen during the Live Auction?
We use Skype for screen sharing. You will need to add Auto Auction Mall to your contacts on Skype so that we can call you via Skype and then enable screen sharing. If you do not have Skype, simply download and install it from https://www.skype.com. Once downloaded, set it up on your computer by following the prompts and then go to the Search bar and type in Auto Auction Mall. Once our name pops up, add us as a contact and send us a contact request.
That’s it! Just find the car you want and press the “Attend Auction Button” under the auction timer and you’ll be ready to “attend” the live auction to get the car you want!
What is the difference between an “Auction” car and a “Buy Now” car?
Auction – A car that is available for Auction means that you can bid on this car and have a chance to win the car if you are the highest bidder. It’s really exciting!
There are two types of car auctions: i) an auction with a reserve and ii) a pure sale (we explain both these concepts in the next FAQ pages).
Buy Now – Some of our auctions will also include a Buy Now option. A car that is available as a Buy Now means that you can purchase the car for the Buy Now amount at any time up until about 1 hour before the auction starts. Although not the only way, it sure is the easiest way to buy a car on our site as you have certainty that you will get that car for the price listed without having to bid against buyers (at the live auction) and worry about whether you have met the reserve for the car.
Auto Auction Mall makes it easy for you to find the type of sale you are looking for. We give you the ability to filter by sale type so that you can find auction cars or cars that have a Buy Now option. Use the “Sale Type” filters on the left side of the search page (https://www.autoauctionmall.com/used-cars-for-sale/dealer-auctions) to filter between Auctions and Buy Now sale types to narrow your search.
What is the difference between an Auction with a Reserve and a Pure Sale Auction?
An auction with a reserve means that the seller has placed a minimum dollar amount which must be met during the auction process in order to guarantee that the highest bidder will win the car. The seller will not advise us nor the bidders what the reserve amount is.
In reserve auction scenarios, if you are the highest bidder on the car but did not meet the reserve price set by the seller, the car is considered sold On Approval.
This means that at the conclusion of the auction the seller needs to approve the sale of the car to you for the high bid amount since the reserve was not met. In most cases the seller will likely give you a counter-offer which is closer to their reserve price. You have the ability to provide a subsequent counter-offer to their offer or stay firm on your high bid amount. Since you were the highest bidder the seller is only allowed to negotiate with you and no one else. If s/he decides that s/he does not want to provide a counter-offer to your highest bid or does not accept your counter-offer to their offer, s/he can just re-list the car and send it back to auction.
This negotiation process could take anywhere from 1 hour to just over 1 business day following the date you were the highest bidder (weekends excluded).
Since the seller incurs additional auction listing fees every time he runs the car through auction, it is rare that the seller will not provide some sort of counter-offer to your highest bid. So, depending on how far apart your highest bid is from their reserve price, the seller may enter into negotiations with you.
Pure Sale Auction
A pure sale auction, means just that: Highest bidder for the auction wins the car regardless of the amount of the high bid. Please note that reserve auctions can also turn into pure sale auctions. This happens when the seller’s reserve price is met during the live auction bidding.
How will I know if I won the Live Auction?
If you are the highest bidder at the end of the auction, our Auction Specialist will let you know if the sale is on approval (i.e. the reserve was not met and the seller may give a counter-offer; see above FAQ pages) or final (i.e. reserve met or pure sale) and the next steps.
How do I use the Buy Now button on the car listing page?
Where you wish to use the Buy Now functionality on the vehicle, select the Buy Now button on the car listing page, review the total cost (including all the fees set out in the Buy Now summary view), accept the terms and conditions and confirm the purchase. Our Auction Specialist will then get in touch with you to send the final invoice. Payment is required 2 days following the purchase of the car.
Your car listings permit me to Make an Offer. How does that work and is it practical?
Some of the dealer-only car auctions allow the car to be sold before the car auction starts and below the Buy Now price if the Seller accepts an offer made on the car.
It sounds easy and you’re probably thinking, “okay, so why don’t I make a low offer and see if the seller accepts the price” right? That probably won’t work, but you are on the right track. You see, the seller needs to be enticed to accept your offer before the car goes to auction. There is a strategy for this. If this is a reserve auction (as explained above) we need to make an educated guess what the reserve price would be and make an offer that is close to that price so that the Seller is willing to accept.
Don’t worry though, we are here for you! Once you have registered on our site and found the car that you want to make an offer on you can click the Make Offer button and input your maximum offer or you can call our customer success team at 1-800-680-8010 or email us at [email protected] to discuss what the best offer would be for that car.
What do the Bid and/or the Buy Now amounts include?
The Bid and/or the Buy Now amounts set out in the car listing page only covers the current pre-bid or the Buy Now price of the vehicle. This amount does not include the additional fees related to the purchase of the vehicle.
When purchasing a vehicle you will be charged the following fees: i) an Auto Auction Mall fee: $299 (if the vehicle purchase price is below $3,500) or $349 (if the vehicle purchase price is $3,500 or above), ii) Documentation fee ($90), and iii) the Auction Clearing House fee (this fee varies depending on the final sale price and is charged by the Auction Clearing House). Transportation costs will be in addition to these fees and charged by the transport company.
To see these fees (other than the transportation costs), you can click the Fee Calculator located on each car listing.
Please note that the Auction Clearing House fee in the Fee Calculator is based on either the then highest pre-bid price or, if the car has a Buy Now option, the Buy Now price. Also, the Auction Clearing House fee will change if the final purchase price of the vehicle is different than either of these amounts. Therefore, we have given you the ability to input the purchase price you want to pay for the vehicle in the Fee Calculator in order to see what the Auction Clearing House fee will be.
Can I cancel or lower my bid?
You cannot cancel a Pre-bid, nor a bid placed during the live auction. Every bid is final and binding. Make sure that you are confident in your bid before you place it. If you end up winning the auction based on the bid that you placed, you will be responsible for completing the entire sale.
Can I cancel an Offer that I have made?
You cannot cancel an offer made on the vehicle through the “Make Offer” option on the car listing. Make sure that you are confident in your offer before you place it. If the seller ends up agreeing to your offer which you placed by accident, you will be responsible for the vehicle and completing the sale.
Can I cancel a Buy Now I placed on a car?
You cannot cancel any Buy Now that you have exercised on the car. Make sure that you are confident that you want to buy the car before confirming the purchase of the car. Once you confirm the purchase of the vehicle, you will be responsible for the vehicle and completing the sale.
If I don’t win the Bidding or my Offer is not accepted, can I get my security deposit back?
Yes, you can! So long as you do not have any outstanding (open and highest) bids, purchases, offers or unpaid balances on your account you can request to have your security deposit refunded.
You cannot cancel any Buy Now that you have exercised on the car and cannot get your security deposit back if you have exercised this option. Make sure that you are confident that you want to buy the car before confirming the purchase of the car. Once you confirm the purchase of the vehicle, you will be responsible for the vehicle and completing the sale.
Can I buy a car located in a different State?
Yes, you can. Auto Auction Mall has access to dealer-only auctions all across the United States and some cars may have better prices in one location of the US as compared to other parts of the country. That is the beauty of our service, we give you the chance to find the best price for the car you want either within or below your budget!
Do you sell cars to international buyers?
Of course we do*! You do not need to be located in the United States to buy the car. We have many customers located outside of the US who we work with.
You can contact us to discuss the purchase of the vehicles on our site and also other topics such as shipping and transporting the vehicle to your country.
*Please note – that we cannot do business with people and corporations who are located in sanctioned countries, do business with sanctioned people and/or corporations or who are themselves sanctioned by the United States.