Buying cars from storage auctions? The good, the bad, the ugly?

Hey there diggers!

I wanted to start a thread about buying used cars from storage auctions. If you have had any experience with this, maybe you could share it with the rest of the other bidders. Things to watch out for? How to handle the ownership transfer? what to expect? etc.

We’ve currently got a smart car up for auction:
And a ford truck:

And i’m sure some of the bidders are all wondering about the same legal loop holes that they need to jump through to make this a smooth process. Share your ideas with us!

Being a Bailiff I would be careful on buying a vehicle through a storage auction or any auction making sure the serial number is checked. If the serial number has a registered lien on it the financial institution can have a warrant put in place for the seizure of the vehicle. Sure you pay for the vehicle and get a receipt but look out in the weeks to come when a bailiff shows up at your door wanting the vehicle. So the cure to this is have the serial number checked before bidding.


Rules and regulations vary from province to province. I am based in Alberta, and due to the cost and expenses related out of province inspections I very rarely buy a vehicle from out province. As for vehicles that I purchase from online storage facilities in Alberta I always request the VIN from the vehicle to do a CPIC and registries search before bidding to ensure the vehicle is not stolen or has a vehicle lien against it as not all storage facilities do the search prior to the auction. If the vehicle has a lien, I may still bid, but I take the lien amount into consideration and contact the lien holder in advance to ensure a smooth transaction if the auction is won. I also request that the storage facility provides me with a bill of sale for the unit including the VIN number in order to register the vehicle. I have purchased numerous vehicles, atvs, watercraft and equipment at both live and online auctions and have never had an issue registering or reselling any of them with the exception of one. The exception was when the storage facility provided me with the incorrect VIN, but the issue was resolved with the storage facility and no money was lost. So, that all being said, my best advice is to do as much research as you can and do your due diligence by researching the VIN, contacting the storage facility, and your local authority to verify what you will need to register or take possession of the vehicle. And as for the condition of the vehicle…well that is always buyer beware, don’t expect to put the key in and drive it home :slight_smile:

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Looks like that smart car just went for $3400. If everything is ok with it, then thats probably a pretty nice deal!

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I just bought a car for storage auction and it has no ownership or keys Service Ontario will not give me ownership until its signed over. They say Public Storage was supposed to get new ownership on vehicle when 3 non payments were maid then can sell or auction car off. Public Storage says that they own it for non payment and that’s that. so I’m screwed.

Hi eaglebarr,

Bid13 will reach out to you personally about this matter.
Please do note that these were legal proceedings as the facility had marked the vehicle “as is” in the information blurb on the auction’s page, but we do understand the inconvenience and we do apologize for it!