By Matthew Wall – The Sunday Times – February 24 2008

Car Auctions for cars, fine wine or even recovered loot are now open to anyone with a computer and an eye for a bargain


Car buyers like to examine the bodywork and hear an engine purr before bringing out their wallet, but the lure of a bargain is driving many to bid for cars online. The third most popular auction website in the UK is eBay Motors ( and it covers vehicles from classic cars to light aircraft. A Lotus Esprit Turbo sold on the site for just 50p in June 2005.

Seller feedback ratings help to weed out some of the dodgy geezers, but to be sure it is wise to invest in a vehicle status report from HPI ( ). This costs £6.99, can be bought online and will uncover whether a used vehicle is stolen, accident damaged, has had a registration transfer or is the subject of outstanding finance. The RAC ( offers a similar service for £5.

Bargains can also be had when buying a new car. To squeeze a better price from dealers why not get them to compete against each other with , a reverse-auction website? You must first agree to buy a specific model of car at Autoebid’s “target price”, then ask dealers to bid the price down to win your business. The final price could be thousands of pounds lower than the target price, although you must add Autoebid’s commission of up to £295 plus Vat. If the target price isn’t reduced, there’s no fee to pay. You can also part-exchange your old car as part of the deal.

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