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Car Auction Questions Answered

South Africans love their wheels and, with that, are turning more to auctions more than ever before to find them. That’s the word from Park Village Auctions’ director, Clive Lazarus, who has noticed an influx of interest from younger buyers.

“It’s exciting to welcome a new generation of bidders to the world of auctions,” says Clive. He has taken to respond to the newbies most frequently asked questions.

Is it worth buying auction cars?

There is a lot of value to be found in auctions if you’re willing to do the legwork. The “old-hats” know this well. It comes down to doing your homework.

Visually inspect the car, looking for signs of previous damage from a collision or trouble with the paintwork. Ask the right questions, like does it have a verified full-service history? Is there a warranty or service plan still intact? 

Then, research the relatable market value. That is to say, what are similar cars in the same condition going for? Set your budget accordingly.

Are cars cheaper at an auction?

Most of the time, yes. There are a few rare exceptions, but you’ll generally find savings of 20% compared to dealers.

The main reason for this comes down to where costs fall—auction vehicles are sold “as-is”, and it is the purchaser’s duty to repair. In contrast, dealers repair beforehand and sell their cars with guarantees.

How do you buy cars from auctions?

  • First, find the auction in which you want to participate, read and understand the T&Cs
  • You must then register for the auction beforehand and pay the applicable refundable deposit.
  • Secure your finance. Remember that you are obligated to settle your purchase upfront and in full if you win the bid.
  • Inspect the cars you’re interested in or have a motor-savvy friend look on your behalf. There are no test drives, and all vehicles are sold “as-is”. Auction houses must disclose if the car is a “runner” or not.
  • Know your limit when you start bidding. No one forces you to make a higher bid. You are responsible for bidding up to your desired threshold.
  • Full and final payment is due within 48 hours for PVA vehicle auctions.

How do I get a bank repossessed car in South Africa?

All of the major financial lending intuitions will list their upcoming auctions on their websites. These lists will often link directly to the auction house selling the cars on their behalf.

What are the best online auto auctions?

Assuming the question refers to types of online auctions, it’s a matter of preference as each provides unique benefits.

Timed online auctions don’t require your undivided attention; you can park a bid early and raise if you wish at any time. Bids are not contested in real-time. Instead, the auction ends at a predetermined time, after which the highest bid on each item wins.

Simulcast and webcast auctions allow you to bid in real-time, just as though you were at the auction in person.

Hybrid auctions bring the best of them altogether. They start as timed auctions and conclude as a live webcast where you contend in real-time.

Most importantly, you must ensure you are dealing with a legitimate, reputable auction house. There are many fraudsters out there.

How do I protect myself against fraudulent auctions?

Check if the company is a registered SAIA member. Scrutinise the logo and business details; scammers create very close replicas. Verify the business and their banking details and confirm the asset’s location.

If you’re unable to view the asset yourself, send someone on your behalf to confirm its existence—it’s always wise to view the asset’s condition before bidding, too.

A good auction house will always be willing to answer your questions, so feel free to call and educate yourself as much as possible before placing your first bid.


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