Jump to content



Recommended Posts

I have A GRIPE about a Well Known Car Auction Company and the Fraudulent way they seem to conduct their business!

Some time ago I attended the auction of a well known, and well liked, "Classic" car museum owner's estate.

The auction was conducted by a very Well-known high profile car auction company.

The auction company catalog,which I had to purchase, stated that this auction was being held on behalf of the museum owner's estate.

The proceeds were to go to is family as well as several of his favorite charities.

There would be a $200. bidder registration fee, which would allow two people to attend with catalog, as well as a 10 % "Buyers Premium" to be paid on top of the high-bid price. I assumed the "Buyers Premium" would help pay the auction company along with whatever deal they had made with the owner's "Estate" as a "Seller's Fee".

We attended the auction and before the auction started the Auctioneer announced that the proceeds would benefit the late museum owner's estate as well as several of his favorite charities.

I went with several "Classics" in mind to bid on; one being an Auburn boat-tailed speedster.

The Speedster at the auction was a totally different car that the Auburn originally advertised! It was in very rough shape with a very new "Fresh" paint-job that was very poorly done. It was also NOT Superharged as the catalog had stated!

I did not bid on, nor did I buy this car...

When I asked one of the bidder's assistants about this speedster I was told the the Speedster in the catalog was "Pulled" from the auction and this second speedster substituted.

About a week after this auction I was told that the Auction company had if fact PURCHASED the entire collecion from the estate prior to the auction date! The Auctioneer was in fact the the owner of all the cars on the day of the auction! The statement that the "Aucion would benefit the late museum owner's estate; as well as some of his favorite charities" was a total lie! It was repeated several times to bid high as the proceeds would go to a good cause!

The fact that the AUCTIONEER & His Company in fact OWNED all these cars; and had bought the entire colletion well before this auction was not told to the bidders! Quite the contrary!

To me this was outright "FRAUD"...

To add to this fraud...The Auction Company charged buyers a 10 % "Buyer's Premium" to buy

HIS CARS...along with a $200 registration fee!!!

I have in fact confirmed all these facts!!!

What does everyone on this great AACA Forum think of these Aucion Practices!!!

I still get Auction Catalogs from this Well-Known Car auction company...

They are still selling Estate Collections!

I just have to wonder WHO ACTUALLY OWNS THESE CARS...???

And...WHY are Buyers being charged a "BUYERS PREMIUM" for the AUCTIONEER"S OWN CARS!!!





Thank You...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suggest you contact the legal authorities.

If in fact they misrepresented themselves then I'm sure the attorney general of the state in question would love to know of this.

This forum is not a place to air out dirty laundry however.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter: I did not name...and will not name the Auction company in question...

However I believe people should be aware that these things can in fact happen...

The key is for everyone to ask questions before car auctions...

The Honest Auction companys should be more than wlling to answer all your questions...

Buyers should keep thmselves informed...

This will keep everyone honest...

This is best for this GREAT OLD CAR HOBBY!!!

I will keep the Company's name secret...to avoid Flameing on this geat forum!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my big questions here is...

If the auction company owns all the cars at the auction...

Why should a buyer have to pay a "Buyer's Premium" to buy an AUCTIONEER"S own cars?

The idea of a "Buyer's Premium along with a "Seller's Fee" is to pay the auction company for their services...

OK fair enough...

Not too many years ago...The Seller paid ALL the Auction fees...

"Buyer's Premiums" did not exit 10+ years ago.

Would anyone expect to pay a "Buyer's Premium

at a used or new car dealer? After all he owns these cars?...


It's like burning the candle at both ends...

It's Unethical

I have run live collectable auctions in the past.

Why would any auction company Mis-represent who actually owned a car?

Unless...they wanted more money out of you

It's all about sucking more money out of you with more fees...

I would never consider doing what they did!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've dealt with auctioneers before and wouldn't put anything past them. To my mind what you describe is fraud. They lied and cheated to make money off the suckers.

I wouldn't even attend such an auction. If you want me to pay you $200 just to go to your place of business and possibly buy your merchandise you can kiss my [censored]. Further, the buyer's premium is a pure ripoff. What other business charges its customers an extra profit?

The company you name has gone even farther and crossed the line from legally milking suckers to out and out fraud.

Tell us the name of the thieving auction company. That way the rest of them won't be tarred with the same brush. There is a difference after all between a con man, a swindler and an out and out theif.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Around my neck of the woods there are a lot of estate and farm auctions. I know for an absolute fact that on the larger items the auctioneer will ask the seller before hand what his "minimum" on an item is. There are shills in the crowd who will then bid on the item up to that amount, to keep the bid going, then they will drop out. If not illegal it sure as Hell is unethical. My assumption is that this happens all the time at car auctions also. The concept of "buyer beware" should be in full force especially at auctions........Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having attended car auctions since the early age of 14 with my Grandpa and still going at 52 i have learned a lot. Their is plenty of "bunk" going on at the Collector Car auctions as compared to registered car dealer auctions. Not to say Dealer auctions are more scrupulous, just the dealers are more savvy to the hype than the general public.If you can't get a straight answer out of the reps at a sale,save yourself the hassle and don't buy there. I have been outbid too many times on a car I just HAD to have, only to realize there are way more cars then I have the money for coming right behind it, or on the way home. More than once I have had the car I bid on offered to me as I was leaving or later.

My point is virtually every auction house has some "strategy" or "unknown to the public" set of rules that they conduct business with. If they are breaking the law, such as shill bidding,you can go after them, but good luck on getting any satisfaction!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brad, I think "you pays your money and takes your chances" - unfortunately what you describe is not rare in my opinion. My philosophy has always been the best transactions are between private seller and private buyer, ideally from a club member or reputable hobbyist/collector. I realize that is under the best of circumstances, and not everyone wants to wait 5 years for just the right make/model. So, dealers and auction houses grow market as the hobby expands. Most people I know who have bought from either dealers or at auction have very little background on their car. I think some of the main auction houses have brought some attention to the hobby but I am not sure that is all good. These guys seem to have tremendous influence on values and trends - and, in general terms, I think some regularly manipulate this to their ends. The ripple is an innacurate market, which is what I have a problem with. IMO auctions are good for speculators and auctioneers, but otherwise not too beneficial overall - with a few exceptions I would stay away.

PS - when are you going to post those pix of your friend's unusual "A"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Brad has a ligitamate [censored]. He attended a auction that he had to travel to that cost him money. He paid 200 bucks to bid on cars that where not there after they where advertised.I think the bigest thing R. m. , B.J. and outhers in the auction buss. have done is inflate the price of our hobby. I dont know about Brad, but you bet your a-- if it was me I would be calling the A.G. and a lawyer. I would at least want my 200 bucks back <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" />

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I dont know about Brad, but you bet your a-- if it was me I would be calling the A.G. and a lawyer. I would at least want my 200 bucks back <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> </div></div>

WHAT!!!!!!!!! You'd hire a ------- lawyer to get $200.00 back? <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I dont know about Brad, but you bet your a-- if it was me I would be calling the A.G. and a lawyer. I would at least want my 200 bucks back <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> </div></div>

WHAT!!!!!!!!! You'd hire a ------- lawyer to get $200.00 back? <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> </div></div>That's funny!! Pay $400 to get back $200.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must be dumb. I dont see anything funny about standing up for your self and refuseing to be riped off. Money Brad lost was in my view,the same as stolen from him. I have been in a court room more than once. If you have a ligetament clame you win. You then rec. comp. for your clame and also resonable cost. Thats called the justis system. If you dont understand this rase your hand, Ill thy to write slower and use smaller words. If you still dont understand,I have a beutiful 401 buick motor for sale, Ran when I pulled it 20 years ago. Needs only minor repair. Sat in the mud since I pulled it Just wash it off and should be ready to go. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brad. Sure smells like fraud to me. Many states have laws to prevent this sort of thing--failure to make full disclosure, no shills (or is it schills?) at auctions to bid prices up, etc. The bad news is that the laws are on a state by state basis and each state is a little different. But I think a complaint to the state AG might be worth it. And maybe the BBB. Also, the more the better so if you know of others who feel the way you do you might be able to wake someone up to do something. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish there was a means, whereby, we could develop a forum which clearly identifies by name and factual circumstances those service providers, part suppliers, restoration shops, with whom we had experienced less than promised performance. For example,, I have had significant difficulties with a advertised transport company that damaged my '48 Lincoln Continental, while being transported. I would like people to know who and why. A prominent restoration shop in the NE, whose practices are at best, I would describe as blantanly unethical. I think this type of information sharing would be a worthwhile "heads up" for those that read this forum. I understand the rationale, for this forum,not wanting the risk of a lawsuit but there must be a way of providing negative feedback, on these problematic vendors so that we as an antique car community can be informed and avoid the mistakes others had made. Just my .02

"I think we are going to need more men"

Col Travis, Alamo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For fun sometime, read the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) as it relates to auctions. It is only illegal for a seller (or his associate) to bid on his own car if the auctioneer has not announced that the seller "reserves the right to bid". If such an announcement has not been made the high legitimate bidder can refuse to complete the sale or force the sale at the highest legitimate bid. A quirk in the law gives this right only to the buyer so conceivably a seller could "buy" his own car without any actual penalty. Haven't been to an auction other than "farm" sales in years. I know they are places of treachery for sellers as much as buyers. Wouldn't a seller bidding on his own car actually constitute a hidden "reserve" price?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If any sort of auction "anomolies" are news to you then you've been living under a rock :-). The stuff going on with the BJ consigner locking up his car after the auction is a hoot too. He got 300k for a car that you could have bought for 50k 7 years ago and he thought he got screwed.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes things go the other way because of auction laws. An auction outfit scheduled a sale to disperse the contents of a defunct machine shop and an unexpected blizzard kept attendance way down. Legally, they couldn't postpone or cancel it so they had to go through with it. Bidders were walking off with $10,000 lathes and mills for 100 bucks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ADD-ON Post:

Since posting others have stated that it is not unusual for Auctioneers, or Auction COs, to buy entire Estates and Collections...

This is in fact true...

Usually I would have no problem with this...

I know several Auction Owners who do this...

However...This auction CO claimed that the Owner's Estate and several of the late owner's favorite Charities would be benefitting from this auction!

This was repeated over and over throughout the entire auction.

"Bid em High...It's going to a good cause!"

Blatent Lie here...

The Auction Co in fact owned these cars...!

An aucion Co Employee confirmed this fact!

To add Insult to Injury...

They had the nerve to charge a 10% "Buyer's Premium" to be able to buy HIS CARS!!!


Several (4) of the High-End Classics that were SOLD at this auction at supposedly "No Reserve" Mysteriously re-appeared at an auction held later in the same year by the SAME Auction Co!

I guess they thought no one would notice...

I did as I know the Late Owner's cars first hand!

I can only guess that the Auction Co "Bought Back" these cars because they did get high enough bids for them at this first auction!

If the seller can "Buy-Back" his own cars... Is this really a "No Reserve" auction?

You decide for yourself!

Several (3) cars originally advertised in the auction catalog were not there and did not sell!

This was explained by the auctioneer as the late owner's children deciding to keep these cars...thus the gap in the catalog...

The Children Kept NO CARS!!! I know them personally and asked them!

What about the people who had traveled a long distance to the auction specifically to bid on these "Missing Cars" ?

They were fooled!

I can only suspect a private sale here for these fine cars!

Several cars were "Switched-out" with similar cars of much lower condition and less valuable engines ( the Auburn Boat-tail Speedster thatI wished to buy! & another!

The old "Bait And Switch" at work here!

The Colors of these two cars now different from aucton catalog pictures & a V12 became a straight 8 now filled with pounds of bondo!

Replacment cars were much older well used restorations! Remember I knew all the late Owner's cars...He was a friend for over 30 years!

Did the Auction Co have another private buyer for these cas??? Did he keep them for himself? Did he save them for a later aucion with more deep pocket bidders?

Your guess is as good as mine...

All I know is that these cars were in fact switched!

Remember...This is a very HIGH PROFILE Car Auction Co at work here!!!

They sell hundreds of Antique & Classic & Muscle cars each year all over the country!!!

They have very slick professionally prepred auction catalogs!

They spend a great deal of money on national advertising!

Yet what they did here was in my opinion...

Totally Unethical !!!

Remember Folks: The reason for my post was to make any potential auction buyers aware of what went on at this auction...

Ask the Auction COs questions next time you plan to attend any auction...

One BIG Question...Who Owns these cars at the time of the Auction???

Does the Auctioneer, or Auction Co, own ANY of these cars!

Can the owner, his family, or agents, BID on HIS OWN CAR on the auction block?

If so... How can this Really be a "No Reserve Auction?"

Is this not another form of "Shill Bidding!"

Is this not Illegal or at the very least


The "No Reserve" is often used to bring in the croud...Everyone wants to think they have a chance to buy the car of their dreams at "No Reserve"...

BUT...Is it really a true "No Reerve Auction?"

The more WE ask...the less they will be able to hide from us...

The less "slight of hand" tricks they will pull!

The Up-And-UP Auction COs will be glad to answer all of your questions...

If they evade these questions...

Be very carefull !

If we all do this simple step...

These unethical practices will soon stop!!!

This can only improve this Great Old Car Hobby for all AACA members and collectors worldwide!

Auctions should be FUN!!!

Buyers should stay well informed...

Buyer Beware!!!

Remember...My Dad and I have been buying Antique & Classic cars at Auction for over 40 years...

We have seen all the Auction CO tricks...

It seems to us lately...there are far more tricks being used Today than EVER BEFORE!

PS; Do you really think the D.A./A.G. would really want to invstigate this auction...

The day after the auction...

The Auction Co was packed-up and gone...Out of the Sate!!!

Just try to investigate now!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rad, you ask some vary good questions, but you left the most importiant one unasked,and that is (where did you park your horse Jessy ??)If you have prouf of what yousay, you owe it to yourself and the old car hobby to call and report these shysters to that states A.G. and the A.G. of any state they advertise in. Dick. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" />

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just don't understand why anyone would pay a "buyers premium". What services are they performing for the buyer besides pushing them to bid higher. When watching that circus on TV I wonder about the level of intelligence of some of those people who allow themselves to be manipulated like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buyer's premiums did not exist 10 + years ago...

One large NY Aucion house started this with their High-End Art Auctions... Soon other's started charging the same Buyer's fee... After they found that they "got away with it",and buyers were willing to pay this fee...there was no going back!

If buyers were not willing to pay this "Premium",and did not attend their auctions, the Buyer's Premiums would soon end!

To me this fee is an insult!

Just the Auction COs trying to "Burn The Candle at Both Ends!" Sucking more money out of you! After all... Who else charges you for the privledge of buying at their place of business ???

By the way...

The Buyer's Registration Fee was started by the Auction COs to keep the sightseers, and non-buyers away from their auctions!

It is figured that if the Auction entry were Free...Non buyers would take-up seats that real buyers could be using...

The Buyer's Regristration was thought to discourage these non-buyers... They would not want to pay a fee just to watch the auction!

Soon the fees just got higher and higher!!!

To the Auction Industry...

You play by OUR RULES...or YOU DON'T PLAY!

"Greed Is Good!!!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would assume that most people do what I do which is keep a running total (bid + sellers fee + sales tax) in their head. Theoretically, the seller is paying for all the fees in my case as I'm only going to pay what I think the car is worth including all the fees. This price would be the same in a private transaction so the seller is getting less since I'm bidding 10% less.

The auctions are great entertainment and occasionally there is a reasonable deal, although most of the time the cars are fully priced plus. I'm not sure why you are so worked up about it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...