In honor of National Auto Auction Week, I took some time to reflect on the industry from when I started at ADESA in 1996 until now. There’s been many changes during that span, especially to the services we offer that allow customers to buy with more confidence.
When I started, condition reports were written on paper and didn’t include pictures. It was really buyer beware — they mostly had to rely on their own ability to look at a car, touch it and take it for a test drive.
Eventually, with the introduction of online buying, we offered electronic condition reports with photos. This helped buyers make smarter, more informed decisions on purchases. But, unfortunately, condition reports don’t tell a vehicle’s entire story, including hidden damage or normal wear and tear.
Over the years, we developed new services to give customers an extra layer of protection with their purchases. Whether it’s through one of three programs — ADESA Assurance, Post-Sale Inspections (PSI) or NAAA Certification — we have offerings that save dealers time, worry and money.
ADESA Assurance, for example, takes the risk out of buying cars by allowing dealers to return any eligible vehicle — for any reason — for 21 days after purchase. With Assurance, dealers can make more effective buying decisions, so they can spend less time at the auction and more time with their customers.
ADESA Assurance is a good option for dealers who are under intense time constraints and forced to make speedy buying decisions, which can lead to mistakes and unwanted purchases. Instead of being stuck with vehicles that won’t sell, dealers can simply return them.
There are several reasons dealers return vehicles, including:
- Dealers find mechanical issues that aren’t necessarily arbitrable, but that can affect the value of the car by thousands of dollars.
- A customer backs out of a deal and doesn’t want the car anymore.
- A dealer buys a vehicle that wasn’t a good fit for their lot and it just won’t sell.
- A dealer underestimates the cost of reconditioning.
A Post-Sale Inspection, meanwhile, can be purchased at the time of sale. With a PSI, an ADESA auction representative performs a more detailed visual inspection of the vehicle, including the undercarriage, as well as a test drive and mechanical check. If issues are found, customers can arbitrate the vehicle.
There are two PSIs available: a 7-day (providing a 7-day arbitration window) and a 14-day (providing a 14-day arbitration window).
The final layer of protection I want to discuss is NAAA Certification, which is another great way to add confidence to your purchases. Sellers can choose one of three levels of certifications — platinum, gold and silver — by meeting certain inspection and reconditioning needs, which should impact the floor they set and the selling price. In addition to the NAAA Certification program, many sellers also have customized programs that they have developed to give buyers peace of mind when purchasing a vehicle at auction.
For the buyer, certified vehicles typically come with a guarantee period, lowering the purchase risk and increasing vehicle reliability because they’ve been inspected to certain criteria.
For dealers to be successful in today’s marketplace, they need the ability to buy vehicles worry-free. Assurance products and certifications allow dealers to make quicker and more efficient decisions, so they can expand their inventory and explore new markets.
As a buyer, I recommend taking advantage of return guarantees to protect your business from the unknown. Less time at the auction means more time with customers — and a better bottom line.