Guide to Buying & Selling

We appreciate that your first visit to an auction can be a daunting experience and, to some, it may seem a very complicated operation. In an effort to quell your fears and show you how easy and convenient buying and selling at auction can be, we have put together this guide. Contained in the following guide you will find straightforward answers to the questions we are usually asked by first time visitors.

Firstly, the key items to bear in mind when visiting an auction are choice, convenience and price:


As auctions are not tied to a particular make the choice of vehicles available at auction is tremendous and the 100+ vehicles offered each week at Exeter will include all popular makes and models. However, if the vehicles on display do not meet your requirements, it could be that it would be more appropriate for you to visit on another day - there are special times for newer vehicles and for commercials and our staff will be pleased to advise you.


Buyers - It would take weeks to view the number of cars available at one auction if you were to travel around and view privately or on the forecourt.

Sellers - It is quick and easy and avoids repeated advertising costs, time wasters and the other hassles associated with selling privately. Your vehicle will be viewed by hundreds of prospective purchasers all at one time.


The price realised at auction will be the market value of the vehicle which is, generally speaking, "trade price" and will, of course, differ from the price which would be displayed on the same vehicle at a retail outlet.

The notes contained within this guide are for guidance purposes only and do not form part of any contract.


A Sale By Auction Is Not A Consumer Sale. All Auction Sales are conducted in accordance with our Conditions of Entry and Sale which are displayed at the Auction Centre - copies are available on request. Please ensure that you have read and fully understood these conditions before buying or selling at auction.

When Are Your Auctions?

Exeter Car Auction is held once a week, on a Wednesday and the auction starts at 6pm. We accept entries any day that we are open and the vehicle will be entered into the next available auction. Please endeavour to get your vehicle to us in good time to ensure that there is time to catalogue and advertise the vehicle.


1. Is The Auction Open To The Public?
Anyone can attend the auction; you do not need to be involved in the motor trade.  We do not charge an entrance fee.

2. Do I Need To Register Before I Can Bid?
Please complete a red bidding form prior to purchasing a vehicle and ensure that you have the necessary means of payment (see no.7).

3. How Are Vehicles Described?
Vehicles are sold "As Seen" and you are advised to check carefully the descriptions displayed on the windscreen of each vehicle you are interested in purchasing.
Vehicles will bear description sheets on the windscreen and can be found in the large parking area to the rear of the auction building.  These vehicles are sold with no warranty whatsoever being given by the seller.  It is up to you to determine their condition.  No complaints on "As Seen" vehicles will be entertained.
The description sheets on the vehicle's windscreen will also tell you the MOT expiry date,
whether, in a small number of cases, there is no registration document with the vehicle,
whether you will have to pay VAT on the bid price - usually only in the case of commercial vehicles,whether the odometer reading is warranted as accurate - unless the odometer reading is warranted by the vendor to be accurate and announced as such by the Auctioneer, it should be considered incorrect and should be disregarded.

4. Can I Start The Vehicle?
Prospective purchasers are not permitted to start the engine of any vehicle prior to purchase.  The auction staff will drive the vehicles into the sale ring when you will be able to hear the engine.

5. What Else Should I Do Before Bidding?
Decide exactly how much you want to spend, bearing in mind that you will have to insure and tax the vehicle before you can put it on the road.
Go into the auction hall and watch a few vehicles being sold.  Listen to the way the auctioneer describes each vehicle, note how the bidding progresses and the general procedure.
If you are not in too much of a hurry to buy a vehicle, it is often a good idea to attend one or two sales as a spectator before bidding for the first time.
Please ensure that you have your £200 deposit ready and have completed a bidding registration form prior to the auction.  Hand it to the auctioneer's clerk/upon your first purchase.

6. How Do I Bid?
When you have decided which vehicle you are interested in, wait until it enters the sale ring and listen carefully to the auctioneer's description before bidding.  Stand or sit where you can be seen by the auctioneer and make your bids clear by raising your hand in the air.

7. What Do I Do When My Bidding Is Successful?
If you are the highest bidder and the vehicle is 'knocked down' to you by the auctioneer, you must go immediately to the rostrum and give your name, address and bidding registration form to the rostrum clerk and pay the £200 cash deposit.
The balance of your purchase price must be paid to the cashier before close of business on the day of the sale in cash, bankers draft, building society draft, or debit card. Credit cards are not accepted. (There is a charge of 1.2% (inclusive of VAT) on cash payments). Most customers prefer to pay by Debit Card as this is a quick and convenient method which does not attract any surcharge.

8. Is There Any Additional Amount To Pay On Top Of Your Price I Have to Pay?
In addition to the bid price, a service charge is payable which includes participation in the Title Protection Scheme in accordance with the terms of this scheme as displayed (copies available on request). The Title Protection Scheme affords protection to purchasers against the following risks:
Where the vehicle:
is proved to be stolen.
is the subject of an outstanding HP or other finance agreement.
It is a condition of the Title Protection Scheme that purchasers cross-check the vehicles identification numbers with those given in the registration document and notify the Auctioneers within 24 hours of purchase if there are any discrepancies, if any number appears to have been altered or if any number is not in the usual place.
The amount of the service charge is dependant on the purchase price of the vehicle - details of current fees are as follows:

Currently the following rates apply:

£20 per vehicle up to £99

£55 per vehicle £100 to £299

£75 per vehicle £300 to £499

£95 per vehicle £500 to £699

£105 p/vehicle £700 to £999

15% p/vehicle £1,000 to £2,400

£360 on vehicles £2,400 and above

*** All The Above Are Inclusive Of VAT ***

The service charge is payable on every vehicle purchased

Trade Rates are available Proof of Motor Trade insurance is required

9. When Can I Take My Vehicle Away?

Having paid for your vehicle and been issued with a receipt, you may collect your keys and documents and remove your vehicle from the auction premises.
NOTE: It is an offence to drive a vehicle on the road without a Road Fund Licence, current MOT certificate (if applicable) and, of course, Insurance so, if necessary, you may wish to make arrangements for the vehicle to be removed by transporter.
We offer a delivery service if required. For further details please click here.

Currently the following rates apply:
Entry Fee: £20.00 per vehicle per auction (Inc VAT)
Selling Commission: 7.5% of the Hammer Price (subject to a minimum charge of £40.00) Inc VAT

(Trade commission rates are available on request).

The selling and buying fees for Commercial Vehicles, when sold within one of our monthly Commercial Vehicle auctions, are the same as the fees quoted above for cars.

For Sellers Commission is charged at 18% on the first £100.00 and 6% on the balance per lot.  (Min £2.40 per lot, £2.40 on unsolds)
For Buyers there is a Buyers Premium of 12% (Inc VAT) on all lots but there is a maximum Buyers Premium of £360.00 (Inclusive of VAT) per lot. (Buyers Fees can vary depending on the type of auction.  Please see specific auction page for details)

Please see specific auction details for listings of charges.

*** All the above fees are per lot and are inclusive of VAT unless otherwise stated ***

Please also see our fees page

We hope that we have been able to answer many of your questions above.  If you wish to speak to any of the auction staff then please ring our auction centre on 01392 425481 during normal office hours