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Bidding advice

The road to bidding success

It can be difficult to decide exactly how much to bid. You want to outbid other buyers, but you also want to get a good deal. So, how do you figure out the best amount to bid?

For continental European customers, we can provide a price estimate that we think the seller will agree to for most vehicles. This estimate is based on an analysis of our historical auction data, which we update regularly. It’s not a guaranteed reserve price, but it gives you a good idea of what the seller is expecting. You can find the estimated price in the ‘Bidding advisor’ section on the car details page.

Of course, it’s always up to the seller to accept your bid. But using our many years of experience to guide your decision may significantly improve your chance of being assigned the car.

UK customers can find the current estimated value of every vehicle on the bottom right of the car details page.

• ‘CAP clean’ indicates the vehicle’s top trade value and lets you know if it’s ready to be sold and has a current MOT, complete service history, all documents and spare keys.
• ‘CAP average’ is applicable if the vehicle is in reasonable condition given its age and mileage but is not in the best condition possible.
• ‘CAP below’ indicates the trade value of a vehicle that’s in below-average condition considering its age and milage.
• ‘CAP retail’ provides an estimate of the vehicle’s current retail value.

The bidding process

STEP 1: Log in and go to the car details page of the vehicle you want to bid on.

STEP 2: Enter your bid by typing in the amount or using the + / - button. You cannot place a bid lower than the starting price or the current highest bid. You will immediately see the total price you will need to pay at that bid level, including fees and taxes.

STEP 3: Choose your bidding method:

• Bid Agent: You enter the maximum amount you are willing to bid for a vehicle. However, this is not the amount that will appear on the website. The Bid Agent will only bid the lowest amount possible to surpass the previous bid. And it will keep doing this until your maximum amount is reached.

• Maximum bid or direct bid: You place a bid, which is immediately displayed on the website. We recommend placing maximum bids directly from the ‘My Bids’ tab, which is visible only after you have logged in.

STEP 4: Submit your bid by clicking the ‘Place bid’ button. Remember: all bids are binding and cannot be cancelled or removed from the website.

STEP 5: If you are a continental European customer and you are the highest bidder, you can boost your chance of being assigned the car by placing your best and final offer up to five minutes after the auction ends with Ultimo.

STEP 6: Follow up on bids using browser notifications or notifications on your smartphone via our mobile app (if available).

Extra tips to improve your chance of success:

1. Download our mobile app (continental European customers only)
The OPENLANE mobile app allows you to manage bids, find cars and stay informed about the most important auction events. You can download the app from the App Store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android). Open the app and log in using your OPENLANE username and password. The app will remember your login details for six months, so don’t forget to change your password if your smartphone is lost or stolen.

2. Guaranteed assignment 
• Buy Now auctions: You can skip the whole bidding process by being the first to enter the Buy Now price. The vehicle will be assigned to you when the auction is concluded.

• Target auctions (continental European customers only): If your winning bid is at least as high as the target price, you’ll be assigned the vehicle at the end of the auction.

• x-Time auctions (continental European customers only): Worried about auction snipers? They’re the people who wait until the last moment to suddenly out-bid you. There’s no need to fret with x-Time auctions because you’ll still get a chance to put your best bid in.

3. Bidding Guidance
Want to become a bidding professional? Get to know our range of handy bidding tools and learn how they work. They’re designed to increase your chance of winning cars in OPENLANE auctions. Find out more information about OPENLANE bidding tools.

Any questions?

We’re more than happy to help! Please contact our friendly customer service team for more information.

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