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Buying Public Buying Guide

in the auction hall

Never bought from Auction before?

Then we have a great guide below to help you. But don't just take our word for it. Ken Gibson, motoring journalist for The Sun, has written about buying from Auction at Manheim with a great video and a case study from a consumer buyer.

To find out more visit

1. Welcome to Manheim Auctions!

Please use this guide to find out more about Manheim Auctions and the unrivalled range of products and services we offering the general public.

Manheim Auctions has a national network of 17 auction centres covering the length and breadth of Britain.

Choose from thousands of cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes from more than 50 weekly auctions - daytime and evening!

Our auction centres are open to the public so you can buy and sell all types of vehicle, regardless of make, model, age and price.

About Us

  • Manheim Auctions is the largest vehicle auction company in the world.
  • Combining over 60 years of auction experience in the UK with modern business practices, we provide our customers with the best choice in the market.
  • Voted the UK’s Best Car & Van Auction company for the last 3 years – whether buying or selling, you can trust Manheim Auctions to make it easy.
  • There are 17 auction centres, including Europe’s largest auction centre at Colchester, in our UK network.
  • 9 commercial vehicle auction centres, offering light commercial vehicles (vans), heavy goods vehicles (trucks & trailers) and plant (construction & farming machinery).

2. Find an auction centre

3. Find a vehicle

Our ‘Advanced Search’ online search engine gives you instant access to unlimited searches of over 500,000 cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes offered at our auction centres every year. Simply spend 2 mins completing the really short registration form and off you searches, set up automatic email alerts and view auction catalogues.

4. The vehicles

Where do all the vehicles come from?

Our excellent reputation and expertise in the industry allows us to work with some of the most respected companies in the country.

A number of large and small fleet companies choose to sell their vehicles through Manheim Auctions. National and local authorities, manufacturers, rental companies, dealers and of course, members of the public all add to the diverse mix of quality vehicles available to you at Manheim Auctions.

To make life easier, we have divided our auctions into different categories, so you can go straight to the one that’s right for you.

  • Dealer: “Part exchange” or overage stock vehicles that have been taken in from motor dealers
  • Fleet: entries from Fleet Leasing and Finance companies
  • Manufacturer: entries direct from motor manufacturers (these auctions are not always open to the public - check by calling Buyer Services on 0844 856 4600)
  • General: entries from trade customers and the general public

Our role is to act as an agent for both the seller and the buyer, bringing them together and providing the very best service for both.

5. Buyer benefits

Stop searching, start finding!

Choose from a massive range of cars, vans, motorbikes, trucks, trailers, plant and equipment.

Local Sites!

With a national network of 17 centres, you are never far from Manheim Auctions.

Get the low-down!

View a detailed description of each vehicle including registration details, colour, modifications and mileage.

Save money!

Buy at trade prices

Quick and easy!

Buy your vehicle and drive it away on the same day*.

Manheim Auctions makes it easy

Under trade terms & conditions

*Subject to full payment being made, and compliance with current traffic regulations

6. The buying process

Manheim Auctions makes the buying process an easy one

All Manheim Auctions centres produce a catalogue on the day of the auction. This is your guide to what’s available that day in the auction. It will tell you what vehicles are to be sold and in what order.

You may be asked to register before being able to bid on a vehicle – check when you arrive at reception.

Familiarise yourself with the auction process – it can be fast and furious.  Visit an auction centre to ensure you are comfortable with the environment before you start to bid. Should you have any queries at all, do not hesitate to ask one of our fully trained staff.

Make sure you read and understand the Terms and Conditions which contain important conditions about the purchase of a vehicle.

Bring your deposit with you before bidding on a vehicle (£500 or 10%, whichever is the greater).

The Auction Centre is open prior to the start of the auction, for you to look around any vehicles you are interested in.

Each vehicle has an ‘entry form’ displayed in the window, showing the key details of the vehicle, including make, model, mileage and year information and whether it has an MOT.

Unless stated to the contrary on the windscreen description, assume that the vehicle is sold without a V5c document. However, the auctioneer will announce whether the vehicle has a V5c before it is auctioned.

Having no V5c does not affect your right to title of the vehicle. A new V5c can be obtained by filling out a form available from most Post Offices. The DVLA recognise Manheim Auctions’ receipts as proof of purchase. However, under current legislation (applicable since February 2003) you will not be able to tax the vehicle without a V5c, and this could take up to 6 weeks from DVLA.

Check if the vehicle is ‘Assured’ which means it’s had a 15 point mechanical check from a Manheim Assured Inspector. These vehicles carry a compulsory premium which gives a 3 day warranty on the mechanical report.

This is the exciting bit!

The Auctioneer will announce the vehicle as it drives into the hall.  Listen carefully – he /she will detail if it is to be sold with or without service history, warranted mileage or MOT.

When you are in the auction hall, stand where you can be seen by the auctioneer.  To make a bid, clearly raise your arm. There is no tapping of caps or winks to the auctioneer here. Make it obvious!

When the hammer falls, congratulations – your bid has been successful (so make sure you don’t get carried away and bid more than you can afford).

If declared ‘sold’ or a provisional bid* is accepted, the bidder must pay a minimum of the full hammer price.

*A provisional bid occurs if your bid is the highest in the Auction hall but has not met the Reserve Price (see Jargon Buster in Section 10.) set. The auctioneer may “provisionally” sell the vehicle and the auction team will liaise between you and the seller until a sale price is agreed.

A deposit is required immediately following the acceptance of your bid or provisional bid. You have 24 hours to pay for the vehicle in full after it is declared sold.


Buyers Fees

You will also have to pay a buyer’s fee. The fee payable depends on the value of the vehicle.  Ask at reception for further details. The fee will be the ‘Buyers Premium’. Photo identification such as driving license or passport may be required so please ask at reception for more information.

V5c - we do not make an additional charge for the V5c

When purchasing a vehicle there is a legal obligation for the DVLA to be notified*. Manheim will complete this process for you when you purchase a vehicle to ensure the DVLA have the relevant part of the V5a registration document. The DVLA will then send you a new V5c registration document in your name and address.

*This service is mandatory for all purchases by non-account holders.

You have 3 days from the day of the auction and after full payment has been made, to collect your vehicle. Once full payment is made and all funds have cleared the cashier will hand you:

  • Receipt of invoice
  • Pass Out to enable the vehicle to be taken off site
  • V5c/z slip if applicable
  • Service history if applicable
  • MOT Certificate if applicable

The Pass Out form should be taken to the key office where you will be given the keys and any detachable items that may be with the vehicle such as a radio front. The Pass Out form is also your authority to leave the auction premises with the vehicle. So keep it safe!

Before you leave

Every vehicle is sold on the understanding that it will not be used on the road in the UK until it is in such condition that it may lawfully be so used. This will mean that you must have valid insurance, valid MOT certificate and Tax disc. However, we can arrange to transport your vehicle at a nominal cost.

Vehicle Condition Alert Register

If the vehicle has had extensive repairs which are registered on a vehicle database, this will be declared on the entry form as ‘VCAR’ (Vehicle Condition, Alert Register). We advise you to buy these cars with great care.

7. Top 10 buying tips

  1. Before you buy, get a feel and flavour of the process. Things move fast, so make sure you are comfortable with the process before you bid. Subscribe to General Public Subscription to find the latest vehicles on offer.
  2. When you arrive, get a catalogue. This lists all the vehicles entered in the auction.
  3. View the vehicle(s) you are interested in bidding on. Arrive before the auction starts to have a look around and check the vehicle details on the Car Entry Form (displayed in the windscreen).
  4. Stick to your budget! Don’t get caught up in the action. The buyer’s fees are in addition to whatever you bid.
  5. The Buyer’s Premium charge is in addition to your bid. Please ask staff for more details.
  6. Remember to bring your photo ID and proof of address.
  7. Listen to the Auctioneer. He will include vehicle details e.g. does it have V5c, Service History and if the mileage is warranted (verified).
  8. If the hammer falls on your bid – congratulations, your bid has been successful! You will then need to see the Clerk (they are usually next to the Auctioneer).
  9. A ‘provisional bid’ means that the highest bid was lower than the Reserve Price. Manheim staff will liaise with the seller to see if they will accept the bid or negotiate further on your behalf.
  10. Ways to pay. Full payments can be paid by:

    1. Credit card**
    2. Debit card
    3. Maestro
    4. Solo card
    5. Bankers draft

** 3.5% + VAT surcharge on all Credit card transactions.

8. Payment methods

Payment using credit cards will attract a transaction fee

Credit card*

* 3.5% + VAT surcharge on all Credit card transactions.
You can pay with no transaction fees using the methods below.

You can pay with no transaction fees using the methods below

  • Cheque *
  • Bank Draft **
  • Telegraphic Transfer

Payment for the vehicles must be made within 24 hours of the auction. Storage charges will apply if the vehicle is not collected within 3 working days of £6 plus VAT per vehicle, per day after 3 working days from Acceptance. Trucks and Trailers: £20 plus VAT per vehicle, per day after 3 working days from Acceptance.

* Vehicles released on cleared funds, or subject to Manheim Account & credit limit status

**Vehicles will only be released at the Auction Centre Manager's discretion

Sold vehicle storage fees

Irrespective of buyer category the following charges will apply

  • Cars and Vans:

    £6 plus VAT per vehicle, per day after 3 working days from Acceptance.

  • Trucks and Trailers:

    £20 plus VAT per vehicle, per day after 3 working days from Acceptance.

The fee will be charged once you collect the vehicle/s
Payments to be made at the Payments Office
In order to avoid these charges, please collect your vehicle/s on time
Please contact your local branch or Buyer Services for more information.

What do you pay for?

  • Hammer Price (agreed cost of the vehicle when sold)
  • Buyer’s Premium
  • Manheim Assured or Van Check (where applicable)

Trade & VAT Registered Buyer Account

If you buy a minimum of 12 vehicles a year, you can apply for a Business Account.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced Buyer’s Premium
  • Free access to Manheim’s award-winning website
  • Free auction day catalogues, plus pre-auction information
  • Personalised communication for forthcoming auctions
  • Personalised Buyer Account Card
  • No annual fee, when purchasing 12 vehicles or more per annum

Should you have any account queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Account Set-up Team on 0844 856 4634.

9. Auction Centre rules

No lectures here. Just a few of the rules we ask you to follow when you’re at the auction:

  • Children under the age of 14 are not allowed at the auction unless supervised at all times by an adult.
  • You must be 17 years of age or older to purchase a vehicle. Proof of age may be required.
  • Please do not walk between moving or marshalled vehicles.
  • Unauthorised persons cannot start up or drive any vehicles entered into the auction.
  • No smoking in any enclosed or under cover area.
  • All non-account holders and private buyers are required to provide a valid proof of ID in order to purchase any vehicles, plant or equipment. Please bring either a photocard driving licence or current passport with you on the day of the sale to avoid any delay in acceptance of payment and release of vehicles or items purchased.

If you have any further questions about buying at Manheim Auctions, please call your nearest Manheim Auction Centre.

10. Jargon buster

A Manheim Auctions product which offers a 15 point mechanical check and a 3 day guarantee on the vehicle, offering peace of mind to the buyer.
The listing of all vehicles to be offered for sale at a given Auction.
Commercial Vehicles
Vans, Trucks, Trailers and Plant.
Condition Report
A document detailing the vehicle description and any visible damage.
Contract Hire
A longer-term rental agreement offered by Leasing Companies.
Dealer Groups
A type of business seller at Auction. These vehicles are dealer part-exchanges or overage stock from car dealerships.
Fall of the Hammer
The ‘fall of the (Auctioneer’s) Hammer’ signifies the vehicle has been sold, and the Auctioneer will accept no further bids.
Featured sales
This section on the website shows forthcoming special auctions.
Finance Houses
A type of business seller at Auction. Vehicles offered are ex-lease / finance vehicles and have been used by businesses for company fleet vehicles or private individuals.
Hammer price
The price the vehicle is sold at, when the Auctioneer states the vehicle is sold and brings down the hammer.
Leasing Companies
A type of business seller to Auction. Vehicles offered are ex-lease / finance vehicles and would most likely have been used by businesses for company fleet vehicles.
Local Utilities
A type of business seller to Auction. Vehicles offered are generally commercial vehicles used by utility companies.
Log Book
Vehicle registration document, also known as V5c.
Lot number
This is the number allocated to the vehicle (will be marked on the vehicle) going through the auction, listed in the catalogue.
A type of business seller to Auction. These vehicles will come directly from vehicle manufacturers.
Non Runners
Vehicles that won’t start.
Open / Closed Auction
Open auctions can be attended by all buyers. Closed auctions can only be attended by invited, normally trade, buyers.
A broad name to include all miscellaneous items sold at auction such as grass cutting and landscaping equipment, golf buggies, down to electric drills.
Private buyers
Non-trade buyers i.e. the general public.
Private cars
Vehicles entered into the Auction by the general public.
Provisional Sale
When the vehicle has not met the Reserve Price set by the seller, we contact the seller to ask if they are willing to accept the highest bid made.
A professional service enabling the repair of cosmetic damage to a vehicle.
A term used to describe the re-sale of used vehicles through auction or direct to members of the motor trade in the wholesale rather than retail market.
Reserve Price
The minimum price the seller has specified for which they wish to sell the vehicle. This information is confidential to the Auction. If the reserve price is not met, the vehicle will be sold provisionally.
The podium where the Auctioneer stands.
Sold as Seen
Where a vehicle is offered without any guarantees or promises about it’s mechanical condition or quality.
The Sale
The Auction.
Refers to Motor Trade customers.
Van Check
A Manheim Auctions product offering a 21 point mechanical check with money back guarantee.
Vehicle Condition and Alert Register. If a vehicle has had extensive repairs which are registered on a vehicle database, this will be declared as VCAR.
People or companies who are selling vehicles at Auction.
Warranted Mileage
Where the vendor confirms the mileage is correct.