Max Bids at Auction - fredthefifth
Hi All,

Through a friend who had a BCA account I once bought a car at an auction without attending cos it was 200 miles away. This was done by registering a max bid for the vehicle.

I got the car but I paid only £100 short of my max bid and ever since I have been suspicious. I mean it would be easy for them to work up the price a bit wouldn't it, even taking bids from an imaginary bidder to get the price and the commission up.

Or am I being paranoid?

Any thoughts or comments?


Max Bids at Auction - Manatee
That way, madness lies.

You got it for £100 less than you thought it was worth. You won!
Max Bids at Auction - bell boy
i have a saying
if in doubt leave it out
Max Bids at Auction - captaincarwash
FTF, I'm glad you raised this issue.

I purchased a cherished registration via a DVLA auction sale back around 1995. I put in a proxy bid (or whatever it was called) and listened to the auction over the live phone line. I was the successful bidder and got the number - for exactly my proxy bid, even though this was a little more than the suggested sale price. Hmm ...

In August 2005 I went to BCA Edmonton and viewed a VW Passat about to go through the auction. I liked the car but I couldn't wait to bid as I had to go to work. So I put in a commission bid of £7k and left the £500 deposit they requested. The counter staff were clearly not well versed in commission bidding. I called later to find I had been successful in my bid. The hammer price was (you've guessed it) £7k. I have often wondered what happened at that auction. Did the auctioneer start the bidding at my maximum bid, in which case it was unlikely any other bids would be made? I find it unlikely that either auction would have achieved a purchase for me at exactly my maximum bid.

Given the above I do harbour a suspicion that in the motor industry a commission bid may not be treated as an invitation by the would-be purchaser to bid Up To a given figure, but as an opportunity to bid the buyer's maximum bid by some means.

I would value the opportunity in future to place a commission bid and then attend the auction to see just what happens.

Friends have told me that on occasion auctioneers will take bids 'off the wall' to increase the hammer price of sold vehicles.

On a similar note, why is it that when you buy a car from auction the fuel tank is invariably almost empty?


Max Bids at Auction - bell boy
2 answers
first youve left a firm bid of a price, the auctioneer will more than likely start a little lower ,go to your reserve,try and find a higher bid but if none forthcoming will knock it down to you
second question,if you sold a car ,would you leave any petrol in it unless you had to,its five quid a gallon, we in the trade always let everything go on fumes if we can,its the law

the old proviso is always true,you bid proxy what you value it at,not a penny more not a penny less,you got the car for what you wanted,please dont think it could have been cheaper,the seller may have cut his losses on such a firm bid and just let it go to save future runs through the rostrum,theres a very true rule for anyone putting motors through an auction ,the first best bid is always the best bid

ok sometimes its not true if its a windy bank holiday monday but in the bigger picture its always the fact you should have taken the new buyers bid while its on the table

caveat umpar
Max Bids at Auction - fredthefifth
Bell Boy, thanks for you insight.

The point I was making, which I think is backed up by Steve's own experience, is that putting in a proxy bid is not the way to get a true bargain at an auction. For me my proxy bid was what I would have been prepared to go up to had I been there, but the whole thing about an auction is that you might get it for significantly less. Ok, not always, but sometimes.

It seems that the circumstantial evidence is that with a proxy bid that possibility is removed. Quite honestly I find it sharp practice and I won't do it again.


Max Bids at Auction - Carl2
Lets just say I imagine someone could submit a provisional bid and this bid is not accepted because someone in the office has phoned through a higher bid on behalf of a friend. An auctioneer that was told to accept any bid let a car pass through the hall without accepting any bids. When asked why said oh they were not real bids they were friends. Some vehicles could be sold without going through the hall. Sometimes at the start of the auction a few cars go through at a very quick pace. I also imagine that some unsuspecting person could stand there and have bids bounced off them. I prefer to be "new money" just as the hammer,s going down. If you are bidding and the friend/dealers bidding against you in units of about £50 suddenly the auctioneer ups the bids by about £150 when looking at you, if you quickly say no without offering a lower bid then the hammer quickly goes down to the Friend /dealer bidding against you. I,m sure this wouldn,t happen in reality!
Max Bids at Auction - Ben 10
"BCA Edmonton"

I have attende BCA ENFIELD on many occassions recently and over the years. At one, a few weeks ago, the auctioneer read out that he had a comission bid on a vehicle and the hall bidding went over the commission bidders figure. So I do think they play fair. Though I can see why you were suspicious. If you think they operate the "get what we can" for proxy bids then bid well below book price and see what happens. You might get it if no-one else bids in the hall or you might be offered a provisional price that you can weigh up and pay or reject if you think they want too much. Recent prices have been well above book by the way.
If you think that system is suspect, you would be more paranoid with their on line bidding as well. You would be lead to think the bids are coming from an office on site to push the prices up. But I can assure you, as I have access to this, that internet bids are genuine and they do pick up bargains in the halls.
Max Bids at Auction - pd
BCA also have an on-line proxy system. You leave a bid and the computer bids for you. I wouldn't use it as a matter of course but have a couple of times in the past when there was no alternative. On both times, I got the vehicle for less than the proxy bid (significantly so on one occassion).

Auctioneers will, and do, run a bid up to get it reasonably close to the reserve. It will sound like people are bidding but if it then gets "passed through" there were no bids.

It is accepted practice and has always been the case. If you do not like it then I'm afraid the only answer is not to buy at auction. Few decent auctions will run it up once close or over the reserve.

Edited by pd on 19/05/2009 at 14:40

Max Bids at Auction - tintin01
I must admit I was surprised to find that in auctions "off the wall" bids (ie. pretending someone has bid when they haven't) is legal, up to the reserve price. I think this happened once on Homes Under The Hammer. The auctioneer was bidding up the price, the genuine bidder dropped out, he was then left rather embarassingly to say the property was unsold.
Max Bids at Auction - bell boy
Wait till you think the auctioneer has got a bid on your car and you go up to the rostrum look up to the auctioneer wink at him and say sell it and he says on the tannoy i didnt get a bid-----------
Now that is embarrasing
Max Bids at Auction - fredthefifth
I must admit I was surprised to find that in auctions "off the wall" bids
(ie. pretending someone has bid when they haven't) is legal up to the reserve price.
I think this happened once on Homes Under The Hammer. The auctioneer was bidding up
the price the genuine bidder dropped out he was then left rather embarassingly to say
the property was unsold.

On that matter (though I am not sure which TV prog it was) I definitely heard the auctioneer start an auction by saying "I have .....".

If I was that bidder I would be pretty fed up because 1) It means I had lost all chance of a bargain and 2) it would mean to anyone else that they bid a £5 more and I'm gone!

I suppose the moral is turn up or put in a low bid if you are going to do it by proxy.