Due to the various governmental units that supply the vehicles for auction, there's no single reason for vehicles being brought to auction. Some of the vehicles are confiscated due to the former owner's involvement in drug dealing, smuggling, or fraud, while other vehicles were simply just abandoned. On exception, separate auctions will sometimes be held for very large seizures.
To finance the public debt, the U.S. Treasury sells bills, notes, bonds, Floating Rate Notes (FRNs), and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) to institutional and individual investors through public auctions. Treasury auctions occur regularly and have a set schedule. There are three steps to an auction: announcement of the auction, bidding, and issuance of the purchased securities.
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Buying the confiscated goods either from the TSA or individual states is done in auctions 90% of the time. Some confiscated items are put up directly for sale though, and you can find it on the websites for direct purchase. The state surplus auctions are held regularly, and if you're planning to show up for it, it's definitely best to check if you have to register beforehand. Several states require this.
It is important to have realistic expectations when attending a government car auction. While you can find some good bargains, you are not going to find a brand new BMW for $100.00. Government auctions sell both fleet cars and vehicles that have been impounded by government agencies. The conditions of these vehicles can range from great to not running. Set your expectations and budget realistically.
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