Buying a car from an Auction (BCA etc not ebay). tactics and pitfalls please.

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  • Buying a car from an Auction (BCA etc not ebay). tactics and pitfalls please.
  • nealglover
    Member

    Fleet isn’t always thrashed.

    I valet one particular fleet on a weekly basis (same cars every week)

    They get a full valet every week (interior and exterior) and specialist cleaning when needed, they look brand new inside and out.
    Serviced faultlessly, stuff is repaired/replaced whenever needed.
    They are single driver cars and they are treated very well indeed.

    I would buy one of these rather than a dealer forecourt car any day of the week.

    Don’t write of fleet cars, they are not all the same.

    Biggest pitfall is you’re buying “as seen” – you can’t test drive or inspect the vehicle before the sale. I wouldn’t buy from auction unless it was for stock as a dealer.

    The family car is due for replacement pretty soon and being based in Calderdale, I have the large BCA Brighouse site close by. Their website lists the different sales that are put through with fleet companies selling off their stock and even manufacturers shifting stuff (recent BMW group sale). I drive a company car and while it is serviced when needed and pretty much money no object maintenance given, fleet etc tends to be classed as being thrashed.
    Just wondering if anyone has secured a good deal and what precautions they took to not buy a dog. I know that aftermarket warranties are available so would the “cheap’ purchase plus the warranty still be a saving on a forecourt price?
    I’m thinking of getting along when relevant sales come up and figuring out where sales prices end up against used car price guides.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    I’ve been to a few BCA auctions at Blackbusche nr Farnborough but haven’t bought.

    Specifically with regard to @johnellison’s point you have 1 hour to drive the car and take it back for a refund.

    Go along to one or two auctions to get a feel.

    I didn’t buy as I felt the prices were between trade and private sale so “not cheap enough” for the risk. You have to know your stuff, what you are looking for and the values. The sales run pretty quickly, you can inspect before the sale and stand next to the car as they start it/drive it to the auction room. You have to have the finance in place and insurance (which you can finalise over the phone after the purchase)

    As for fleet cars I know many people with company cars who treat them with great care, their vehicles are immaculate and of course fully dealer serviced.

    All that being said I’d rather buy from someone like cargiant to be honest.

    Premier Icon rosscopeco
    Subscriber

    Heading of to BCA myself tomorrow as I sold our Passat at the weekend. I’ve bought 25 ish cars from various Auctions for circa 12 years now. We’d usually use the car for circa 6 months and then sell it on privately. At best we make a few hundred pounds, at worst….well, I’ve only lost on 2 cars in all that time.

    All the BCA cars are graded, 1 being perfect, 5 being a car that needs loads to get it to showroom condition (best avoided!). I’ve bought a few grade 4 cars but only after having spent a good few minutes checking them out prior to the auction.

    I always budget in a few things to do to the car i.e. service, tyres, possible MOT, maybe some paint / alloy refurb work & a full valet.

    As to what they are really worth, thats a little more tricky. If you’re happy to factor in the above items then a reasonably effective way to justify value is to just work back from what you see these cars are for sale at in autotrader. You’ll maybe be a couple of hunderd pounds away from what the dealers little books are saying. If you can get your hands on CAP or Glasses valuation prices then you’ve got the same info the dealer have.

    Here’s my checklist for buying at the auctions:

    **Do your homework before the auction**
    Phone DVLA with the reg and find out if it has any history: No of owners, MOT history, mileage between MOT’s etc.
    If it’s come from a dealer, phone with the reg and check up on it’s service history.
    Go and physically inspect the car, usually on the day of the auction but sometimes a couple of days before the auction date.
    If you’re unsure about your ability to spot a lemon, take a pal or Mech who is.
    Go to a few auctions to check out the scene and get a handle on how its done BEFORE you bid.
    If possible don’t go to evening gigs, joy public will be there and the prices will be higher.
    Stick to your limit
    Stick to your limit
    Stick to your limit!

    Lastly, have fun, whats the worst that could happen!! 😉

    Premier Icon Mincer
    Subscriber

    I’ve bought cars from BCA for the last 10 years or more (for me my wife)- always 2 – 3 years old ex fleet with guaranteed mileage / service history etc. We’ve never had a significant problem. Most cars of that age are still covered by the manufacturers warranty, so a quick check soon after buying should get anything major sorted.

    The advice above is all good stuff.

    I’ve seen a number of cars go through the auction only to appear on dealer (and Car Giant) sites a few weeks later with a significant mark-up.

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