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The Difference Between a Dealer and Government (Govt) Auto Auction

By Mike Richards Updated: 04/17/2020 Posted: 09/14/2017

You’ve probably heard of people going to vehicle auctions before and leaving with amazing deals.

You may also be a bit skeptical about whether or not these stories are really accurate. After all, they do sound a bit too good to be true.

In this article, we’re going to talk about why this negative reputation persists. We’re also going to explain the difference between the only two types you should spend money at: govt auto auctions (GSA) and auto dealer auctions.

The Truth About Auto Auctions

Let’s first talk about why so many people are skeptical about auto auctions. It’s because there are several different types and the ones that aren’t worth your time are so bad that their reputations ruin it for the others.

In a moment, we’ll talk about the two types we recommend: government and auto dealer auctions. The latter falls into the “public” auction category. The other kind is often held by private dealers (not the traditional kinds with their own lots).

Some private dealers are quite reputable. They’re usually people with mechanic experience who buy salvaged cars, fix them up and sell them for a profit. You can score some really great deals from these dealers.

Then there are the scammers. They’ll switch out VIN numbers, hide problems with their cars and lie about a vehicle’s history. These crimes are so flagrant that word has spread far and wide convincing most people that it’s not worth even considering going to an auction.

An Auto Dealer Auction

The above is not the experience you’re going to have at an auto dealer auction. These vehicles are being sold by reputable dealers because they’re trying to clear space on their lots for new inventory.

Sure, some of these vehicles may have a scratch or two or even problems under the hood, but you can still save a lot of money by purchasing one and paying for repairs.

As we mentioned above, private dealers can usually be trusted, too. They need a license issued by the state to sell a certain amount every year and constantly ripping people off would definitely jeopardize that.

Government Auctions

Government auctions are different, but that doesn’t mean they’re worse. As the name suggests, these auctions are for government vehicles. You’ll find a lot of Crown Victorias and other common police cruisers like Caprices, Tahoes and Impalas.

You may find other vehicles at these auctions, as well, but old cop cars will represent the vast majority. Unlike an auto dealer auction, you probably won’t find a lot of information about these vehicles online, either.

Still, federal US government auctions have great reputations. The vehicles are almost all going to be in good shape. They might have some decent mileage on them, but you’re also getting a huge discount on the price.

As you can see, the major difference between these two types of auctions really comes down to selection. However, they’re both very reliable places to buy great vehicles. Nonetheless, if you want help making the most of these auctions from all over the world, auto auction mall is here to help.