The federal government buys a huge number of vehicles each year and sells off its old cars and trucks through regularly conducted government auto auctions. In the course of a year, there are about 300 of these auctions held, in different parts of the country. Anyone who is over 18 years of age and holds a valid driving license can take part in these auctions and there is no registration fee to be paid for participation. Besides the traditional method of the live auction, government auto auction are also conducted online and in the form of sealed bid auction, drop by sales, and fixed and negotiated price auctions. The payment options make is easy for successful bidders to drive off in with their â€œnewâ€ cars: cash, money orders, cashier´s checks and credit card payments are accepted.
Government auto auctions are conducted by the General Services Administration and, on an average, over 30,000 cars and trucks are sold in this way every year. While some of the older cars may have seen heavy use and may not be worthwhile buys, many of the vehicles for sale have surprisingly low mileages and have been used by a single person during their period in government service. Each vehicle is carefully checked for defects before it is placed up for sale and many of them also are fitted with extras and accessories which would be very expensive if bought new on the market. This doesn´t however, mean that a person can blindly buy a car for sale at a government auto auction as these are all used vehicles and so there will always be some element of risk involved in buying them. While each vehicle is thoroughly detailed before being put up for sale, they are sold without any warranty and any problem that may occur once the payment has been made will have to be rectified at the buyer´s expense.
However, the risk so not very great: the auction is being done by the government and while there may be careless mistakes, there is no personal profit motive involved and so no reason to deliberately rip off bidders. It is always better that a bidder who has no knowledge of cars have the services of someone who does available to advise him on which cars to bid on and which to avoid. Many people make the mistake of being tempted to buy a car only because it is available at a price they did not think possible: what they wind up with is a cheap car, but one that does not meet their requirements. Also keep a look out for auction conducted by the U.S. Marshal Service where vehicles seized by federal law enforcement agencies are put up for sale.