The government is a huge consumer of items. They use all kinds of things from camcorders, to sporting goods, to cars and boats
Once they are done with these items, they sell them to the general public. They do this in the form of an auction which is believed to be the fairest way to present these items to the public. These auctions are held frequently and in virtually all parts of the country. Many people find these a great way to get used products at a very deeply discounted price.
The popularity of these auctions has grown greatly over the years and today many dealers will be at the same auctions that the general public will be at. However, since they need to make a profit on the vehicle, it is often possible to outbid them and still get the car at a very good deal. The ability to test or even inspect these vehicles ahead of time varies by the auction itself and who is conducting the auction. As with any major purchase, doing as much research as possible ahead of time will help ensure that you are happy with the result.
What Are Government Car Auctions?
These are car auctions held usually by a government agency itself, though sometimes the agency will hire an outside broker to conduct the auctions themselves. They are the primary way that an agency will disperse their vehicles that are no longer deemed useful in service to the agency. Due to the seemingly self serving policies of many government agencies, a car will be retired or considered unfit for service by its government user, long before the car is actually at its useful end. Therefore government car auctions have long been considered a good place to find a good deal on a well maintained car.
Government car auctions can also included seizure cars. By the strange additional of vehicle seizure to the penalties for things such as drug charges, there are a huge number of seized cars that the agencies can then resell to the public for profit. Even though the agencies profit on these cars, they often sell for much less than the actual public resale value of the car itself.
Government Car Auctions Considerations
When shopping at government car auctions there are many important considerations that should be weighed before making any bids on any of the vehicles. Due to the nature of these auctions, they require even more attention to detail than many other forms of sale might.
The positive things about government car auctions are fairly obvious. You can find a late model car that has been used very little and even then used with care as the person driving it knew it wasn't their car. You can then find that these cars can be purchased for much less than you would be able to get them for on the open market. Despite the increase in public awareness of these auctions, there are still far fewer people who shop at them than one might think. Therefore you may find that there are vehicles that don't interest any of the other bidders that can be had for pennies on the dollar. This is not as frequent now that dealers frequent these auctions, as they will bid on anything they think they can make profit on, but it is still a possibility.
The cons are considerable when shopping at government car auctions. Some people in the government feel that since the vehicles they drive are not their own, that they need not treat them with care. It can be hard to tell from the outside which vehicles have been driven with care and which were driven by those less than credible government employees, who treated them poorly.
Since these are open auctions, many used car dealers will be on hand to scoop up any cars that don't sell for more than they believe they can get out of them. This can severely dampen the amount of deals to be found at these auctions. While that is an unfortunate reality these days, the dealers won't always be bidding on every model and sometimes will leave after they have bid on as many cars as they need, so there may still be deals available if you are diligent.
The terms of the sale are another thing to watch closely. The ability to return the vehicle due to mechanical problems is unlikely as most are offered as is with no warranty. Other information, such as how to get the vehicle home and how to make payments should also be considered. If the vehicle is in good enough shape to be driven home, then it should be little problem, however, if shipping is required, the cost may be extensive.
Where To Find More Information Online?
There are many good places to find more information about government car auctions online. Some of the better places to start looking are listed below, although before purchasing anything as expensive as a car from one of these auctions, you should ensure you have done your best to research the topic from every available source.
This is the official US government site for items that are to be sold by auction. They have listings of everything that different agencies are selling from boats to cameras and of course cars. The site is located at http://www.govsales.gov.
US General Services Administration.com
This site is devoted to information about sales to the public and non public of government equipment. It is a part of the GSA site which has information about all things general government. This site can be found at http://www.autoauctions.gsa.gov.
This site has a good section on buying cars from government auctions. It outlines how the auctions work as well as some of the pros and cons of shopping at these auctions. They also give tips for getting the best value from one of these auctions and even advice on beating the dreaded used car dealers. The site can be found at http://www.leaseguide.com/articles/carauctions.htm.