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Automobiles Auctions   >   Glossary


Glossary of Vehicle Auction Terminology

Here is a glossary giving the definitions of terminology commonly used at vehicle auctions:

Word / Phrase     Meaning
Absentee Bidder     A bidder not present at the auction who submits a written or oral maximum bid prior to the auction.

Absolute Auction     An auction where every item put up for sale is sold to the highest bidder, and in which there are no reserve prices. Many automobile/vehicle auctions are absolute auctions.

Auction Block     The location where the auctioneer stands when conducting an auction. "Placing an item on the auction block" is also metaphorically to refer to placing an item for sale an auction.

Auctioneer     The person who conducts the auction.

Bid     A prospective buyer's offer to buy an item at a given price. Bids are usually in stepwise increments chosen by the auctioneer.

Bidder Number     A number given to uniquely identify each person who registers an auction.

Bill of Sale     A document that shows the item (vehicle) sold, the names of the seller and buyer, and the final sale price. The bill of sale is provided by the seller to the buyer at the conclusion of the transaction. It may be used for calculating sales taxes and other applicable taxes.

Branded Vehicle     A vehicle that has suffered damage (or otherwise has a specific condition) that the buyer needs to know about - for example flood/water damage, hail-damage, salvage vehicles, etc. An example of when this issue arises is when a car is declared "totaled" by an insurance company because of (say) flood damage, the insurance company takes control of the vehicle after compensating the owner, and the insurance company may then go on to sell the vehicle at an insurance auction. Buyers should be aware that branding rules may differ between different states, so for example it may be possible for a seller to retitle a vehicle in a different state, so as to remove the record of damage (the brand) from the vehicle's records.

See also: Recon Vehicle.

Related Pages:
Clerk     A person who assists the auctioneer by recording what is sold at the auction, to whom, and at what price.

Due Diligence     The process by a prospective buyer of conducting research into the legal status and condition of a vehicle or other item being offered for sale at auction.

Related Pages:
Flipping     Buying items/vehicles cheaply, usually at auction, in order to resell them quickly and make an overall profit.

Related Pages:

Hammer Price     The price at which a vehicle is sold (from the moment when the auctioneer slams the hammer down to finish bidding).

Lane     The lane is the location where vehicles are parked immediately before being put on auction. Seeing a vehicle in the ring is a potential buyer's next to last opportunity to see the vehicle before deciding whether (and how much) to bid.

See also: Ring.

No Sale Fee     The price charged by the auctioneers to the seller for vehicles that do not sell.

Recon Vehicle     A vehicle that has been reconditioned prior to the auction.

See also: Branded vehicle.

Red Light     A red light shown during an auction indicates the vehicle is being sold "as is".

See also: Yellow light.

Reserve Price     The lowest price that the seller will accept for a item/vehicle offered for sale - if the highest bid is lower than the reserve price, then the item will not be sold. Note: Many automobile/vehicle auctions are absolute auctions, so do not have reserve prices.

Ring     The ring is the location where the vehicle is parked during its auction. Seeing a vehicle in the ring is a potential buyer's last opportunity to see the vehicle before deciding whether (and how much) to bid.

See also: Lane.

Yellow Light     A yellow light shown during an auction indicates that disputes regarding the vehcile may in some circumstances be taken to arbitration.

See also: Red light.

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