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Should I Use a Proxy Bidder at a Car Auction?

By Mike Richards Updated: 01/30/2018 Posted: 10/21/2015

If you’re in the market for a car, be it new, used, or even just a salvage vehicle that you want to fix up, you may have considered going to an auction to look for the car that’s just right for you. So what’s stopping you?

It could be that you’re not sure that you’ll get value for your money. Maybe you’re put off by the hectic atmosphere of car auctions. Or you could be put off by the “dealer only” flag that so many auctions seem to put up as an obstacle to the average purchaser.

These are all real concerns, but here’s the good news – you can actually derive all the benefits of buying a car at auction, and you can do it from the comfort of your of home when you buy online. You don’t even have to be a dealer!

Buying a Car at an Online Auction

Online auctions work pretty much the same way as “real life” auctions. You see a car that you want to bid on, decide how much you’re willing to pay, promise yourself that you’re not going to get caught up in a bidding war and ending up paying more than you meant to, and with any luck, you go away with the car you want.

The difference is that you don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of a crowded venue, you don’t have to listen to auctioneers in multiple lanes barking away as the bids start to escalate, and you don’t have to contend with all the overwhelming distractions that are part and parcel of an actual, physical auction.

Anyone Can Participate

The other advantage to an online auction is that practically anyone can bid. Many “real life” auctions are only open to dealers, and that means that if you don’t have a dealer license yourself, you’re going to have to find a dealer to accompany you to the auction so that you can bid under his or her license.

Some auctions are open to the public, but realistically, the best auctions are reserved for dealers. So unless you have a dealer in your family, or you have a friend who is a dealer, you’re out of luck.

Many online auctions are also only open to dealers, but there’s a sort of “back door” way in. You can use a proxy bidder for some of them. Proxy bidders have dealer licenses, and they will allow you, as a non-dealer, to look through what’s on offer. Then you let the proxy bidder know which vehicle or vehicles you’re interested in, and they will bid on your behalf to get you the vehicle you want.

It works pretty much in the same way as it would if you were attending a physical auction as a dealer’s guest. They’ll charge you a fee, and they’ll look after the bidding for you.

It Gets Even Better

Now you’re wondering, what happens if you win? You’re not at an actual auction, so how are you going to get your car? A proxy bidder will arrange to have your car shipped to you. In most cases, they’ll even arrange for overseas shipping if you’re living outside the United States, assuming that you’re willing to pay for import duties and taxes.

This will, of course, increase the cost of your purchase, but with the great deals you can find at online auctions, you’ll probably still end up spending considerably less than if you’d purchased your vehicle from a dealer. And wasn’t that the whole point of buying at auction in the first place?

The Final Word

You can get a great deal buying a car at auction. You can also bid on your own at online auctions, sometimes. But if the auction is “dealer only”, a proxy bidder can get you an amazingly good deal for what is usually a very reasonable flat rate, and can even have your car delivered right to your door.

If you’re the type of person who experiences horrible stress when bidding for a used book on eBay, you might not want to navigate the world of online vehicle auctions on your own. A proxy bidder can take all the stress out of the bidding process for you.

All you need to do is let your proxy bidder know what you want to buy and how much you’re willing to pay. Then sit back and wait to see if you’ve won your car.

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

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