Buying a car at auction may be cheaper, but it can also present more risks. You are not protected by a cooling-off period and you won't have an opportunity to test drive the car.
Remember, once the hammer falls you can't back out of your purchase. Carefully study the conditions of sale before bidding.
Before the auction
Before you bid at auction:
- be aware that there is no cooling-off period
- check the market value of the car you like
- set a realistic price and stick to it
- understand the terms of any purchase you may make.
Before an auction, you must be told if the vehicle:
- does not carry a statutory warranty
- has sustained water damage
- is a repairable write-off, which must pass an inspection before it can be registered
- is a statutory write-off, which can never be registered.
Usually you are not allowed to test drive a vehicle before bidding on it at auction. However, you should be able to inspect it.
Auction of restorable vehicles
A restorable vehicle is:
- 20 or more years old
- for sale for restoration.
To bid on a restorable vehicle at an auction, you must register with the auctioneer before the auction begins. The vehicle's statutory warranty is waived as a condition of the sale.
After the auction
The seller must guarantee you clear title in writing. This ensures there is no money owed on the vehicle and no one else can claim a financial interest in it.
Unless the car has been identified as an unregistered vehicle, they should also give you a safety certificate (previously known as roadworthy certificate).
When you buy a vehicle, the auction house must give you a receipt and completed Transfer of Registrations forms.
First try to resolve any problems you have directly with the auction house. All auction houses must have complaint handling procedures.
If you are not happy with their response, lodge a complaint with us.
Last reviewed 30/01/2012