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Buying at Police Seized Car Auctions

Aug 15, 2008
Are you thinking about buying at a police seized car auction? This article is designed to provide you with the details on how police car auctions work and how they can get you the best deal on car. Specifics may vary from auction to auction; however, the following information includes helpful and important guidelines from which everyone can benefit.

Police car auctions are one of the best places to pick up a used car. Many people think that the only vehicles available at police car auctions are actual police cars. Well, they're right - but only partially! In addition to surplus vehicles that have been used by the local police department, police car auctions may also feature cars that have been seized due to asset forfeiture.

Asset forfeiture is the confiscation of assets (by the police department) that have been associated with a crime. The assets can be vehicles, real estate or currency. A federal law, passed in 1986, encourages police agencies to seize assets as a way to deny drug traffickers their profits.

What does this mean for you? Well, eventually these seized vehicles end up at a police seized car auction, where you can pick up a nice used car for much less than you would a private party or a dealer! The auctioneer sells the car to the highest bidder and the proceeds go to the police agency.

Police seized auto auctions take place in cities across the United States. Some are held on a regular basis, as big city police departments seize many vehicles; others are held less frequently in the case of smaller police agencies. In some states, cities or counties will collect all police seized vehicles and have one large annual auction.

Regardless of the frequency of the police auto auction, you can usually find the event in the local newspaper or published on an online auction site that works with the police departments in your area. The advertisement or listing will give the date, time and place of the auction as well as a list of the cars that will be auctioned off. They may also give a date in which interested parties are invited to inspect the cars so that they can make decisions about what to buy and how much to spend.

Inspecting cars being sold at a police seized car auction is a must! Cars sold at police seized auctions are sold "As-Is" with no warranty or guarantee. In an "As-Is" auction, there is no warranty on the merchandise and the bidder is responsible for removal from the auction location. This means that the bidder must rely on their own inspection and knowledge to make bidding decisions.

In addition, even though the car was seized by a police department, the original financing company may still have a lien on the car. When you buy a car at a police seized auction, you may have to make arrangements to pay off the finance company. You can find out what the protocol is ahead of time by checking directly with the auction company.

If you're in the market for a good deal on a used car, it's definitely worth your time to see what's available at your next police seized car auction.
About the Author
Deb Weidenhamer is President of Auction Systems, the Southwest's most active auction and appraisal company. Check out our website for the next scheduled police seized car auction or call 800-801-8880 for more information.
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