Online car auctions are a growing tool for selling cars; it’s also good business for car haulers, since winning bids can often come from the other side of the country, if not the world. However, this story on a car auction gone bad comes from my old neck of the woods of Lexington; I can recall driving past the "villain" of the piece, Glenn Hyundai, on Richmond Road as we went to the nearby Eagle Creek library.
Glenn forgot to put a reserve price on a lightly used (5000 miles) Hyundai Genesis Coupe on an eBay auction, and then when the buyer came to Lexington from out of town to pick up his car (sorry, car transporters, no business here), Glenn refused to honor the deal, which was about $3000 lower than normal market value for the car.
The buyer then posted the story online, and Glenn has got a lot of nasty phone calls and e-mails from car enthusiasts for playing hardball on the deal. The buyer is also now in the process of suing Glenn to honor the deal. Glenn seems to be getting more than $3000 worth of badwill out of the deal, but it does point out that you can have seller’s remorse as well as buyer’s remorse in an auction.
In a traditional auction, the buyer takes possession right away and the seller doesn’t have a good recourse if the auction didn’t quite go their way; the car carrier has already come and taken the car away before seller’s remorse can set in. If there is a time-lag between the auction and taking possession of the car, the seller can try to back out of the deal and may be forced into court if they refuse to honor their end of the bargain.