Auction sites have proliferated since the credit crunch, but the key to netting yourself a good bargain is knowing the insider tricks of the trade.

Auction sites have proliferated since the credit crunch as companies have sought to cash in on the craze for bargain hunting. But it’s not only the hard-up who are logging on. Increasing numbers of wealthy people are using auction sites to save money on luxury items.

How it works: Reverse auctions — where the winner is the one who places the lowest bid — can shave thousands off big-ticket items such as cars.

Earlier this year, one buyer secured a reduction of more than £12,500 off a new Aston Martin DB9 Volante — he got it for £121,330 — while another bagged a Renault Clio worth £8,370 for £5,520, saving £2,850.

You post the highest price you are prepared to pay for the car you want, and leave it up to sellers to bid the price down to win your custom. The maximum price includes 12 months’ road tax, delivery to your door (not in Northern Ireland), full warranty, breakdown cover and Vat.

Top Tip: If you complete a deal on a car online, rather than in person, the sale is subject to distance selling regulations, giving you a seven-day cooling-off period after delivery in which you can reject the car and be entitled to a complete refund.