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Car Auction Terms to Know

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Ready, set, BID! Auto auction lights flash, the auctioneer seems to be speaking another language, car auction codes are zooming by, and the car auction rules and regulations are like studying for a law degree! 

Participating in a car auction can seem intimidating, but not if you’re up on auto auction terminology. With the right knowledge and understanding of what to expect at a car auction experience, you’ll have a better chance at finding or selling your next ride. Check out what SonicBidder.com car experts share as important tips on how to get started in a car auction. These car auction terminology tips will help make your next experience at an auto auction more enjoyable and profitable!  Take a second now to learn the most common auto auction terms so that when it comes time, you’ll place your bid with confidence. All that’s left is to check out SonicBidder.com’s upcoming car auctions and find your next specialty car at auction!

Car Auction Terminology

glossary for car auctions

Auctioneer: The auction house representative who leads the sale and calls out bids.

Automobilia: Collectibles associated with vehicles, such as signs, banners, clocks and other items from cars which may be sold at auction.

Bill of Lading: In order to transport a purchased vehicle across state lines, you need proof that a shipping company is contracted with you. This may help you avoid vehicle sales tax in certain states.

Bill of Sale: A document that verifies the sale of a vehicle. May include the type of vehicle, terms of sale, warranty, special conditions, etc. Review the terms of the Bill of Sale for specific vehicle title information and conditions.

Buyer’s Premium: A commission for the auction company charged to the buyer, usually calculated as a percentage of the hammer price.

Car Card: Basic facts about a vehicle on the docket and its lot number, usually displayed in the front window.

Commission: A percentage of the sale price charged by the auction company as its fee. 

Consignor: An individual (or company) who contracts with the auction host to sell a vehicle at an auction.

Consignment Fee: The fee a consignor pays to the auction house for promotional and marketing costs. 

Clerk Ticket: A contract signed by the winning bidder of a vehicle sold, listing the final hammer price and lot number. 

Curbstoning: Specific to in-person auction events, this is when a seller attempts to attract buyers at or near the auction site without paying a commission to the auction company

Docket: The “for sale” vehicle roster for upcoming auctions.

Double-Ending: When an auction company collects commission from both the buyer and seller at the conclusion of a sale.

Hammer Price: The final sale price called by the auctioneer prior to the hammer falling (usually it indicates the actual sale). 

Hybrid Car Auction: An auction event with two audiences, both an in-person live auction and online virtual auction, usually done simultaneously. 

Live Auto Auction: A car auction event where bidding is real-time and in-person.

Lot Number: The identification number that the auction house assigns to your car or other property being sold at auction. 

No Reserve: When the highest bid buys a vehicle and there is no minimum price set by the seller or auction house.  

No Sale: Where the highest bid is lower than the reserve price (no sale occurs).

Online Car Auction: A car auction held over the Internet, using online auction software.

Paddle: A card or paddle displaying each bidder’s assigned number. 

Post-Block Sale: A car sold off-block by the auction company after being declared a no-sale. 

Preview: A time prior to the auction during which potential buyers can inspect the vehicles on docket. 

Prime Time: The best auction selling time, usually a Friday evening, or Saturday afternoon and evening. 

Reserve: The lowest price for a vehicle that a seller will take at auction (or minimum set price). 

Ringman (AKA spotter or bidder assistant): An auction company employee who assists the auctioneer in spotting bidders (so the auctioneer knows who the bid came from) and controls bidding advancement. 

Shill: A person working illegally with a car’s seller who bids on a vehicle to drive up the bidding price (or create a bidding war). 

Upcoming Car Auctions

A SonicBidder.com car auction is where you can find your dream vehicle for the right price (and have a ton of fun while you’re at it)! To make your car auction experience easy and as successful as possible, apply this handy glossary of common terms used in auctions and pay attention to car auction codes. If there are any questions that come up during pre-bidding, during the auction event, or after purchase, don’t hesitate to contact us for help. We’re here with answers 24/7! Stay tuned to SonicBidder.com’s Upcoming Auctions so that you don’t miss out on any great opportunities to find your next dream ride. 





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