While it is a challenging time for the new car market, demand for auction vehicles is increasing, albeit mostly for affordable cars. However, opportunist fraudsters leverage this trend, exploiting vulnerable budget car buyers. That’s the word from Park Village Auction’s Clive Lazarus, who offers advice on protecting yourself against fraud.
- Check if the company is a registered SAIA member.
Scrutinise the logo and business details; scammers create very close replicas. Verify the business and its banking details.
- Verify repossessed car auctions on bank websites.
All major financial lending intuitions will list their upcoming auctions on their websites. These lists often link directly to the auction house selling the cars on their behalf.
- Auctions don’t take place on Facebook.
Privacy laws and the complexity of the bidding process won’t allow auctions to take place on Facebook. If you see a sale advertised as such—run.
- Starting ‘prices’ are not advertised.
Some auction impersonators grab attention by promoting a supposed “starting price” or “opening bid price.” That will never happen with a legal auction.
- Do not feel pressured!
A surefire way to spot a fraud deal is when you feel hurried (with no time to think) before making a payment. No one should ever feel bullied into paying a deposit, especially if they have not authenticated the company.
At the very least, you must register to bid because bids taken from unregistered persons are invalid. The deposit is refundable if you did not purchase anything. Before that, make sure you’ve followed all these security steps.
- Confirm the asset’s location and view.
If you cannot 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.
- Ask Questions.
A good auction house will always be willing to answer your questions. Feel free to call and educate yourself as much as possible before placing your first bid.
“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,” says Clive. He continues, “Success comes down to doing your homework. The best way to learn is to witness an authentic auction for yourself.”
PVA will host a national online vehicle auction featuring genuine ABSA repossessed vehicles on Thursday, the 20th of April, at 10 am. More information is available on their website, www.parkvillageauctions.co.za, under reference number 1211.