Cars Sold at auction?

I am looking at buying a used car, and ran a car fax report. The current owner states they bought it from the prior owner, but the records state: Bought at auction/Fleet.

What does that mean?

Well you could say it was purchased from the prior owner, even if the prior owner was Avis.

If they said they bought it from the prior owner, perhaps the prior owner bought it at an auction.

Saying you bought something from the “prior owner” doesn’t really make much sense to me, though-- that just means it’s a used car that’s changed hands many times. A more common claim is that someone bought it from the original owner.

I have purchased cars at auctions and paid the auctioneer who handed me the signed title from the owner. That seems a very common practice.

MOST used cars have come through an auction at one time or another. Those auctions are usually “dealer only” affairs held on a weekly basis at sites all over the country. Take a look at and You won’t get very deep into either website without passwords which require signup as a licensed car dealer, but you will find out that auto auctions are BIG business.

The car in question was probably sold by a fleet company. Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, and even big outfits like oil companies sell vehicles at auction. So do police departments and taxi companies. Watch out for those. Is the car in question likely to have been used as a police car? If they have a “fleet” they probably sell at an auction.

Does having been sold at an auction make a car bad? Heck no. As stated above, most cars have been through one or more. By saying that he bought it from the former owner, the present owner probably meant that he did not buy it from a dealer, but from an individual. Where that individual got it is the great unknown. Does it show any damage history? That would be far more damming than having been sold at an auction.

A few years ago, my son needed a car. We drove to Chicago and ended up buying a Mazda from Hertz. The salesman told us only the best cars were sold on their outlet lot. Those that had more serious problems or damage were sold at auction.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they are junk, but not the best.

My mother has a friend and her sons pick up cars at auctions. She poses as the little old lady selling the car or selling it for her son who is now out of town. She does about 5 cars a year , enough for some vacation money. Common practice with a lot of car salesmen. I buy a lot of cars at auction. They all have to come from somewhere. A vehicle should be able to stand on its own merits. I don’t think carfax has a lot of value. Just seems like a lot of hand holding.

Of course he did. He was a car salesman. If the cars don’t sell off of Hertz’ own lot in a matter of weeks, they are ALL taken to an auction. Not every Hertz location has a Hertz sales lot nearby.