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The winning bidder in ANY auction (ebay, BaT, Bonhams, Mecum, etc.) is committing to buy the car, not getting an option to buy the car if he decides he likes it at some later time. Right?

It's an auction. Not a classified ad.

In your case, after you won the auction, the seller wouldn't provide the ownership documentation you quite reasonably wanted to see, so BaT let you out of the deal. Makes sense.

But buying a car long distance (by any method) is not without risk, and is not for everyone.

When I sold my MG on Bring a Trailer, one potential buyer emailed me, concerned about what would happen if he won the auction and then the car didn't meet his expectations.
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Discussion Starter #42
Look, this is beaten to death already, but my original warning, and one that I think is 100% valid, is that STRUCTURALLY, BaT auctions are inherently unsound:

1. They encourage you to buy on pictures and descriptions (despite your sarcastic comments Paul, people are NOT flying around the country, cancelling work and life, buying last minute tickets on airlines to make inspections on 7 day auction cars they may or may not win. They just are not, for any number of reasons, dropping everything to look at an auction car 2,000 miles away tomorrow or the next day. BaT KNOWS this. Their entire business model is built on "bid and buy based upon the pictures, descriptions, and excellent commentary from knowledgeable sources");

2. If the pictures and descriptions are fraudulent (and therefore the expert commentary is irrelevant), BaT collects its commission and tells you to go take a flying f$*k. "It's between you and the seller, we are just the platform."

Its a recipe for disaster. Yes, smart and savvy people can avoid most of the risk, as you have pointed out. That does not mean that the whole architecture is not unsound. BaT wants you to buy on pictures and descriptions. No - they NEED you to buy on pictures and descriptions or their whole concept falls apart. To then say, "you didn't do your due diligence so leave us alone" when the pictures and descriptions turn out to be fake seems more than a little disingenuous.
 

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So I'm just going to throw out that I have purchased 2 cars over the years using certified check. It was made out to the owner(seller) issued from my credit union. The seller was always welcome to call my credit union to verify funds. On top of that I always offered to go down to their own bank and have them verify as well. I would never accept a personal check. Ever. I could call their bank to verify funds but that could literally change in the matter of seconds with them using a mobil banking app. Certified checks can be verified and not easily(or quickly) stopped. Best thing to do as a seller is get copies of all the buyers info for record. If they are honest, they should not have anything to hide.
 

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Uhh, how about this for a more appropriate warning:

Don't bid on a car being auctioned by anyone (ebay, BaT, Gooding, Mecum, Bonhams, etc.) unless you're sure you want to buy it.
 

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So I'm just going to throw out that I have purchased 2 cars over the years using certified check. It was made out to the owner(seller) issued from my credit union. The seller was always welcome to call my credit union to verify funds. On top of that I always offered to go down to their own bank and have them verify as well. I would never accept a personal check. Ever. I could call their bank to verify funds but that could literally change in the matter of seconds with them using a mobil banking app. Certified checks can be verified and not easily(or quickly) stopped. Best thing to do as a seller is get copies of all the buyers info for record. If they are honest, they should not have anything to hide.
I would NEVER take a certified check these days- I always insist on wire transfer.

How can you tell if a cashier’s check is fraudulent? It can be very difficult for either you or your bank to tell. When you deposit a check into your account, your bank generally is required by law to make the funds available within a specific period of time (usually, one business day for a cashier’s check or other official instrument). This is true even if the check has not yet cleared through the banking system. Therefore, even if the funds have been made available in your account, you cannot be certain that the check has cleared or is "good."

Your bank also may not be able to determine that the check is fraudulent when you deposit it. Rather, your bank may learn of the problem only when the check is returned unpaid by the other bank—which may take a couple weeks or more. Scammers try to make the item look genuine, which will delay discovery of the fraud. Once the item has been returned unpaid, your bank, generally, will be able to reverse the deposit to your account and collect the amount of the deposit from you.


from https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/consumer-advisories/2007/consumer-advisory-2007-1.html
 

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I have sold two cars now on BaT, and the notion that you can't contact the seller or that they're "hidden" is completely false. Potential buyers can send direct messages via email, and I have met with several people for a pre-purchase inspection/test drive. Now this is usually limited to local buyers, but it is available.

If I had to make one complaint, it would be the ability of random people to destroy an auction's momentum in the final minutes. One false claim from a random non-bidder can really destroy a sale.
 

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The winning bidder in ANY auction (ebay, BaT, Bonhams, Mecum, etc.) is committing to buy the car, not getting an option to buy the car if he decides he likes it at some later time. Right?
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Nah, ebay has no penalty for backing out. I sold a ‘30 Ford Roadster on eBay a couple years ago, and it got “bought” 4 times before someone actually paid and took possession.
 

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Certified checks and cashier's checks are not the same thing. Cashier's checks are checks signed and guaranteed by the bank. A Certified check is a check signed by the customer, certified by the bank that you have enough funds and that your signature is genuine. The bank may or may not put a hold on the funds to ensure you don't empty the account while the check is in flight.
 

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Certified checks are faked all the time.

Unless your name is Frank Abagnale, always insist on receiving cash or wire transfer, and wait until the wire is received in your account before releasing the car.
 

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Certified checks are faked all the time.

Unless your name is Frank Abagnale, always insist on receiving cash or wire transfer, and wait until the wire is received in your account before releasing the car.
There's no point in trying to educate people. We already had this discussion once in this thread and yet here we are still arguing about how safe a piece of paper with some numbers on it can be...
 

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I get your point, but I think this bears repeating. You'd be surprised how often people get scammed even to this day. Or maybe you wouldn't if you deal with checks all the time.
 

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I bid on a car about a year ago on BaT after contacting the seller who was more than nice enough to do the following:
- allow me to pay for my own pre-purchase inspection at a mechanic's shop (could have been my choosing but obviously in his area)
- allow me to schedule a time to visit the car (I flew down a few days before to check it out)
- test drive the car

I like the BaT format - you get a lot more info and can discuss with folks on the chat/forum about the car and with the owner as other's have pointed out.

I think people should assume that a car is not going to be exactly as advertised even if it looks like the bees knees on BaT or anywhere else for that matter. This car had a massive restoration but when I went to see it in person, it was merely "ok". Nothing wrong with it, but not the kudos that everyone was giving it so I didn't bid as much.

If you are willing to spend a sizable chunk of money (to you, of course) then it would seem worthwhile to go fly to check it out (if its not local). If you don't have the time then find someone local on a forum you trust to do the same. Or be willing to buy without knowing the true nature of the car or just pass.

This really is caveat emptor - for any site or auction.

I sold a car at Barrett Jackson a few years ago and was there onsite and people can check out the car in advance but they can't drive it as there is really no provision for that. As far as I know, BJ did not do any real vetting from me either (I had to have the title of course but thats not vetting the quality of the car) and this was a car that was > $100K.

So in that sense, craigslist, ebay, or BaT at least allow the possibility of linking with the seller to do a PPI or drive the car in advance. If the seller doesn't allow that, thats a different story - you don't have to buy!

My $0.02.
 

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Don't use Bring a Trailer to sell a car!!

I have to chime in on this discussion after an *awful* experience with Bring a Trailer, BaT. After jumping through a bunch of hoops to list my 2005 Ferrari 360, I agreed to their reserve and started the auction. I own a car dealership and of course the car is in the showroom and listed on my dealer website.... BaT knew this!

Then the bashing started. OMG. It was brutal. You'd think this car was a rust-bucket about to fall apart. It was a very clean, not without it's issues, 14 year old Ferrari. One guy in particular, SAANIK.... Then I figured out his game. He makes a low bid, then starts the bashing to scare others away, hoping to get a steal. Then I think there a just a bunch of 20-somethings with nothing more to do than pick apart your car.

But it got worse.... While the bashing was going on, a very nice gentleman showed up at the dealership wanting to see the 360, he saw on our website. Small discount and he bought it that day. Yea for me right? Being upfront, I informed BaT and they said that was "strictly against the rules". Sorry, But I didn't know. And moreover, they definitely knew it was listed on our website. At least their local rep did. He used to work for us.

Well, they said I have to undo the deal and direct the customer to BaT. Ha. Deal was done. So the threat was that I would be banned for life (like the soup nazi!), and he would tell the community disparaging things about me as a seller. Ok, I still sold the Ferrari.

So they let the auction go on for two more days. More bashing. Then a day before the auction was to end, they told the community that the seller had broken the rules and misrepresented the car, so they were closing the auction and banning the seller for life. What? Who wouldn't do what I did? Due to the bashing the car was at 40k. I sold it for over 80k. And the guy has stopped by several times since and loves the car.

I would give a big caution to anyone thinking about putting their car on that site. Lies will be told and it will follow you after the auction is over and I guarantee the reserve won't be met! They keep the community forums for each car open forever on each car. So a search will find all of the bashing while you try to sell it somewhere else.

Don't use Bring a Trailer to sell a Ferrari, or any car for that matter. Maybe buy one there.... good deals because of the derogatory comments. And I haven't even started with the arrogant attitude of their "ambassadors"!

Thanks for letting me vent. Good luck to all.
 

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After jumping through a bunch of hoops to list my 2005 Ferrari 360
Did it have flappy paddles, or was it manual? If I ever own an F-car, it will be a 360 F1, first generation hydraulic system be damned...

I've heard similar complaints about BAT. I suspect they're a victim of their own success, and they still don't have a handle on how to moderate the community.
 

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I think I found it.

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/2005-ferrari-360-modena-spider-convertible/

Were you really asking $88k?

Also, I think I've seen listings where it explicitly says that the seller reserves the right to sell it off-site. I wonder if they took that option away, or it was never offered to you?

BTW scanning through that users comments, they all seem reasonable to me, not like he was deliberately trying to drive auction value. Then again, I've never bought or sold a car at auction.
 

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Being upfront, I informed BaT and they said that was "strictly against the rules". Sorry, But I didn't know.
Apparently you were not familiar with BAT before listing a car on the site. It is well know that a car can't be listed elsewhere while the auction is live. It is stated right on the web site too. I suspect as a sell you were presented the rules too.

"We do not cancel auctions and run them for the entire 7 day period. We require listings to be exclusive to BaT during that time with all other ads taken down."

Cars typically do well on the site when the seller is active in the comments section of the auction, is upfront with the car, and timely answering questions. There are a number of dealers that sell a lot of cars through the site, they understand the format and the fact that the site brings knowledgeable people together.

Is BAT perfect? No. Is it a safer place to purchase a collector/specialty car than ebay or craigslist? Yes.
 

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I love BaT. Bought one low cost car across the country across the border to the north from a multi-car seller with a good rep, and have sold one mid six figure car on there so far. It's addictive as hell to look at the listings. I find the platform to be far superior to what I used to use - eBay - with far better quality buyers and sellers alike. Now, they won't take just any car and list it - so I still resort to high fee low ball offer eBay listings occasionally.

A counterpoint, the Esprit I have now I bought on eBay partially sight unseen. I'd seen it at a car show before and recalled the visual condition pretty well, remembered the guy and thought he was an alright dude. The car was described as near perfect, and let me tell you, it's been anything but - especially trying to solve all the damn fuel vapor problems that are still plaguing it.

Buyer beware is the name of the game no matter the platform you choose, at the end of the day. But BaT won't tolerate known outright/intentional hiding of faults, if the seller has sold at least one car and selling again they are probably stand up folks.
 

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Since this has resurfaced:

1) Who accepts a certified check?

Yes, they are "faked all the time" but if you call the issuing bank you can confirm it in advance that it was actually issued. It is correct that you're bank can't confirm it since they didn't issue the check, but the issuing bank certainly can. I have done that to accept cert. checks. Probably the safest form of payment, although haven't tried wire transfer (have paid that way but haven't taken payment in that method). They idea of accepting a personal check over a certified check makes zero sense.

2) Who is going to make a pre-bid inspection in an auction environment?

you don't have to fly there. It doesn't have to be you that does the inspection. Just select a nearby reputable person/organization you want to deal with, contact the seller, tell them the car will be inspected on site or needs to be delivered to a certain place for inspection and test drive. Then you get your own unlimited number of photos and a gear head looking the car over for you. Have done this before as well and for cars that weren't north of $30K. One shop charged me less than $100, brought to attention every ding, and I went forward with what was a tremendous purchase (RIP - F150 totaled that car). Some guys do this as sides jobs and advertise it. Not rocket science.

Good conversation. Everyone needs to be safe and informed out there.
 
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