Getting Comfortable Buying Online
For a lot of dealers, acquiring vehicles at auction means physically attending them to participate in the sale, in the lane. Although it is possible to participate in the sales remotely via simulcast there are still a large number of dealers that are not comfortable buying vehicles online.
Buying online needn't be such a daunting task and with all the major auctions temporarily shifting to online only sales, there is no better time to get comfortable buying via simulcast. It can actually be an effective way to more efficiently acquire vehicles.
Do Your Homework
As it is now most dealers that attend sales in person spend a lot of time researching run lists beforehand so that they can determine a bidding strategy and better utilize their time at the auction by having a list of vehicles that they want to investigate.
When buying online you should prepare the same way while making sure to really delve into the details; it's imperative to read all of the seller's announcements and disclosures as well as scrutinize photos to make sure that you fully understand what you will be bidding on as you won't be inspecting vehicles in person.
A tool like Carbly that integrates all Manheim, OVE and Manheim Express sale information with your preferred appraisal and history data on the same page, makes it a seamless task to fully explore a vehicle online while determining its value at the same time.
This is where buying online really starts to become advantageous. When you're at the sale in person, you can only be in the lane bidding on one vehicle at any time but that same restriction does not exist when you're bidding online.
You can of course watch each lane individually online and bid that way too. If you plan to bid live via simulcast make sure that you have a fast and stable internet connection. If your connection is interrupted or does not perform well a sale could end before your bid is received and you could miss out.
If you have the time to prepare then setting up proxy bids for each of the vehicles on your list is a great way to increase your efficiency and buying power. Make sure that you have properly researched the vehicles and set your proxy bids accordingly: then just sit back and let your proxy bids do all the work for you as they automatically bid on multiple vehicles across mulitple lanes, simultaneously.
It is imperative to be familiar with the specific policies in place at the various auctions you buy from but in most instances arbitration for online sales is very similar to the arbitration for in-lane sales. You will have different recourse depending on whether the sale was green light, yellow light or red light but your recourse will not differ greatly merely because the vehicle was purcahsed online rather than in-lane.
What will differ slightly is the time period during which you can report a defect; for online purchases this period is usually slightly longer as it is understood that a vehicle often has to be picked up or shipped. Take the time to check out auction policies to make sure you know exactly how long after receipt of a vehicle you can make a defect claim. NAAA arbitration policies can be found here.
Vehicle Collection & Shipping
If you are buying online at a local auction it might make sense to send drivers to collect vehicles. If you are buying at a sale outside of your region you will probably have to rely on getting the vehicles shipped and the auctions are usually equipped to facilitate that.
Whether you collect your vehicles or have them shipped though, make sure that you or agents acting on your behalf fully inspect vehicles before they are removed them from the auction yard. If a vehicle leaves the gates at the auction and there are damages that were not recorded before it left you will have no recourse with the auction house and won't be able to make a claim.
Post Sale Inspection
A lot of seasoned buyers will tell you that the only way to avoid costsly buying mistakes is to assess a vehicle in person so that nothing is missed. Who among us has not missed something despite inspecting a vehicle in person though?
Post sale inspections (PSI) are a wise investment whether you buy online or in-lane. If something that originally passed inspection fails during the PSI guarantee period, a buyer can seek resolution with the auction. For what is usually a very reasonable cost, post sale inspections are a great way to remove risk and unexpected costs when buying at auction and they can also help to ease the concerns of buying without being able to inspect vehicles in person.
A lot of dealers are still reluctant to source vehicles online and continue to attend sales in person, sometimes for no other reason than because that is what they have always done. The current temporary shift to online sales only is a great way for them to become familiar with buying online. Not only will it increase their buying power and efficiency but it will also prepare them to compete in a wholesale marketplace that is being increasingly transacted online as time progresses.