Auto Auction Lessons

I have now attended 3 dealer auctions and am learning more about the industry.  It’s pretty incredible how many cars come through each week in so many cities across the country!  You really have to do you research and know what you’re looking for before you get there because you just won’t have the time when you’re on site.

About 2,000 – 3,000 are auctioned off in a span of only 3 to 4 hours! So when your car comes up, you only have about 1 – 2 minutes before the bidding is over!  You have to think fast and strategic if you want to win.

Some key terms I have learned from these auctions are:

Salvage Title – the car has been deemed “totaled” by an insurance company and is no longer safe to drive.  This car will not be able to be insured by any insurance company.

Reconditioned Title – the car has been deemed “totaled” by an insurance company and was giving a Salvage title. Then someone rebuilt the car to make it look and run like new again.  They can then apply for a Reconditioned Title, which will allow them to sell the vehicle and it can be re-insured at a much much higher rate!  (We at Motorphilia NEVER buy cars with Salvage or Reconditioned Titles)

Curbstoning – this is a very risky practice that hurts consumers and individual dealers alike.  Curbstoning occurs when an individual buys vehicles at volumes that require a dealer’s license and then pose as a private seller to gain large profits off unaware buyers.  They may sell these vehicles on such sites as Craigs List or in parking lots of strip malls.  The sellers draw people in with tags showing low mileage but do not disclose any mechanical or title issues. Once the vehicle is sold, it is nearly impossible to track down the seller.  The buyer will have no recourse against the seller at this point.  This practice not only greatly harms consumers but also damages the reputation of legitimate dealers.   To read more about this practice, visit

The major lesson of this week is – ALWAYS get a title report for any vehicle before you make your purchase!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Alyssa at Motorphilia

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