But the competition at county auctions is brutal and it's only getting stronger. "Taxi companies want the old cruisers to use as cabs," Lang says. "And often there are government employees who are going after a vehicle that they used on the job and grew fond of. A lot of the school buses and trucks get bought by brokers looking to ship them overseas to poorer countries that will use them for public transportation. These are guys who go to government auctions all the time, know what to pay and know a lemon when they see it. You won't be the only bargain hunter out there."
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Other types of vehicles that might be found at a government auction are “seized” or “impounded”, which means they have been confiscated by a law enforcement agency for various reasons. Some have been taken from criminals who have used the vehicles in the conduct of their crimes. Others have simply been impounded for violations of motor vehicle laws. Still others are “unclaimed” or “abandoned” by owners.
PLEASE READ THESE TERMS OF SALE CAREFULLY, AS THEY HAVE BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED. THIS IS AN INTERNET-ONLY AUCTION! AUCTION CLOSING DATE: Friday, March 22nd, beginning at 11:37 am. Bidding closes on the first item at 11:37 am, then closes at the rate discussed in these Terms and Conditions of Sale. INSPECT: There is no inspection for [ View Full Listing ]
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Due to the various governmental units that supply the vehicles for auction, there's no single reason for vehicles being brought to auction. Some of the vehicles are confiscated due to the former owner's involvement in drug dealing, smuggling, or fraud, while other vehicles were simply just abandoned. On exception, separate auctions will sometimes be held for very large seizures.
Treasury Department Auctions: The other agency very active in holding auctions is the Treasury Department, with roughly 300 sales per year. Treasury often offers in-person previews in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. Treasury auctions off "property forfeited as a result of violations of federal law enforced by the Department of Treasury or nonpayment of Internal Revenue Service taxes," according to its website. There are many categories of goods, including concrete items like antiques and coins but also less tangible property like stocks and patents.
Do your research. Check Kelly Blue Book for the proper price for the vehicle, including its mileage and apparent condition. Always downgrade the condition by one ranking for government auctions. Also, do some smart used-car research, such as checking Consumer Reports for reliability and the frequencies of particular repairs, and checking our road test information if it's a recent model vehicle.