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How to Use Online Dealer Auto Auctions in the U.S. as an International Buyer

By Mike Richards Updated: 06/22/2022 Posted: 07/22/2017

There’s something that has dramatically changed the automotive market in the United States. In recent years, a number of websites that offer access to dealer auctions have appeared. These websites have opened the doors to the consumer to dealer auctions, which had previously been closed to the general public. Because of this, consumers are now able to enjoy an incredible amount of savings when purchasing used, salvage and like-new vehicles.

These online dealer auto auction websites aren’t just open to the public in the United States. They are also open to anyone living outside of the United States, too. In fact, there has been a recent uptick in a number of international buyers using dealer auctions to buy used cars in the United States.

Of course, an international buyer has a somewhat different experience with these auctions than buyers in the United States. Even with these differences, though, international buyers will find online dealer auctions easy, convenient and a great opportunity for saving money on vehicles.


Sign Up for Online Dealer Auto Auctions

Getting up and running with online dealer auto auctions is incredibly simple. Just as you would with a site like eBay, you need to create an account to start searching. When you do, you’ll quickly discover the wealth of inventory available, with thousands of cars of all makes and models.

Once you decide that you’d like to start bidding, there’s one additional step you’ll need to take. Online dealer auto auctions require their users to make a deposit to establish buying power. In most cases, the size of the deposit will need to be one-tenth of whatever you’d like your maximum bid to be. For example, a maximum bid of $6,000 would require a $600 deposit.


Research Restrictions and Duties and Taxes

In order for your savings with online dealer auto auctions to be all that they can be, you need to understand your country’s duties and taxes for used cars. To find out what they are, you will merely need to get in touch with your country’s customs authority.

In addition to this, do note that most countries restrict what kinds of used cars are permissible for import. Typically, this will involve a vehicle’s age, with only vehicles of a certain age or younger being permissible. But, there may be additional restrictions, up to and including those pertaining to safety and emissions standards.


Getting Help with International Shipping and U.S. Customs Clearance

When you access dealer auctions in the United States to buy a used car, you will necessarily have to arrange for international shipping and customs clearance. Thankfully, most auction websites can help a great deal with this. In fact, you will have an auction specialist assigned to you. They can arrange for shipping and for clearance through U.S. customs.

In the end, this leaves you with only two things to handle on your own. You will need to handle the customs clearance procedure in your country. And you will need to pay relevant duties and taxes.

Given how little that is, it’s easy to understand why so many international buyers are now using U.S. online dealer auto auctions to buy used cars!