A BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar for less than $1,000? If you think that sounds to enticing to be true, you’re right. But that is what many people often believe when shopping for a car at a car auction. Some consumers fall victim to fraudulent marketers that put out misleading auction guides – for a $50 or $100 fee – with “priceless” auction information. In fact however, this auction information is available free or at low cost to everyone.

If you do decide to purchase a vehicle at a government auction, the Better Business Bureau offers these useful insights for perspective buyers.

• Check with the federal government first. Look for information about upcoming sales in the classified or business sections of national or local newspapers or in notices at post offices, town halls and other local and federal government buildings.

• Don’t expect to score a great deal on an auctioned car. The U.S. General Services Administration expects to receive a fair market price.

• The cars are not new and their condition may vary.

• Check payment terms before going and auction, and have a payment plan ready. The government does not provide any form of financing.

• Take buyer beware advice to heart. The federal government does not guarantee the condition of auction items, and is not responsible for any problems that may arise after the sale.

• Acquaint yourself with common types of auction sales (sealed bid, auction, spot bid and fixed-price sales) and know which method the government will use when auctioning vehicles.

Source: Better Business Bureau

– Edited and compiled by Chuck Myers

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