A guide to online car auctions during lockdown

23 Jun, 2020

With used car searches surging since the beginning of June and dealers allowed to trade once again, it seems like things are looking up once more for motor traders who’ve been hard pressed under lockdown measures to keep business afloat. 

One of the biggest challenges, apart from no-contact car sales and maintaining social distancing at your garage or workshop premises, has been acquiring stock. 

Car dealers who would usually buy at auction haven’t been able to attend physical auctions through most of the Spring and early Summer, with some auction houses resorting to online bidding to keep things moving. 

We’ve written before about buying cars at auction, but how about during lockdown measures – how do you buy used cars online as a motor trader? We’ve done some research and given you a step by step below to online car auctions. 

How to buy used cars in an online car auction


The first step is to choose a budget and stick to it. It can be easy to get stuck into the excitement of bidding, but setting a budget beforehand, and including fees within your spending limit can help you to avoid overpaying for a car that isn’t worth the price you’re paying.

Check the auction options

Take a look at the options available. Due to lockdown and ongoing social distancing measures, some live online auctions aren’t taking place. BCA have opted to cancel their Live Online auctions and only give the option to use their Bid Now sales feature, meaning all vehicles will be sold via Bid Now, which can also be accessed via the BCA Buyer App. You also have the opportunity to place bids online at any time of the day. (https://www.bca.co.uk/buy/how-to-buy)

Do the same research you would in person

If you’ve spotted a car you’re thinking of purchasing, ensure that you’ve done all of the research that you can before bidding. You might not be able to see the car in person, but digging for the most information that you can before you place a bid means that you won’t be in for a surprise if you’re the winning bidder.

Check auction terms: they may vary at the moment

Reading the terms and conditions of the auction is vital. Depending on the online auction company you’re bidding with, the terms and conditions may differ. Look out for fee payment deadlines and storage fees, plus how and when to collect any vehicles you win. If the vehicle is located some way from you, you may have to pay for delivery.

Protect your purchase(s)

After winning the auction,  you also need to ensure that you’ve got insurance cover for your new vehicle before driving it away (or taking delivery). Any vehicles you buy to trade need adding to the MID within 14 days. 

Have you switched to online car auctions during the coronavirus lockdown? Let us know your experiences, and if you need insurance cover, we’re available to help. 

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