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Repo Car Auctions
What is a repossessed (repo) car?
When a car owner fails to make on-time loan or lease payments, the bank or finance company will repossess the vehicle — take it back. Typically, the buyer will be given a chance to catch up on payments or be made a payoff offer to recover the vehicle. If the buyer does not or can not get the vehicle back, the bank or lending institution takes it over and will sell it to recover some or all of the loan balance.
Repossessed cars are not the same as seized cars, impound cars, or unclaimed cars typically sold by police or government agencies. Repossessed cars belong to banks, credit unions, and finance companies.
Some smaller banks or credit unions may display repo cars in their own parking lots, with "for sale" signs in the window. These cars can be easily spotted when driving by the bank.
Most banks and finance companies hand over repo cars to a professional auction company. When the auction company sells the car, the bank gets the money, less a commission. Auctions can be public, private, or dealer-only auctions. Repossessed car auctions are sometimes mistakenly called "car forcloseure auctions."
When a bank or loan company sells repossessed cars, it wants to recover enough money to pay off the existing loan balance, plus any expenses for towing and storage and the fees of the professional repo company who picked up the vehicle.
In tough economic times, repossessions become mo...