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Hemmings Auctions: We’re doing it our way

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Online auctions are nothing new. Nor are online classifieds for collector cars. We’ve been doing the latter for quite a while now ourselves and we hope to be doing it for a good, long time to come. That said, plenty of you have asked what will be different with Hemmings Auctions when it launches in the coming weeks.

First of all this is Hemmings Auctions, so everything you know and love about Hemmings will be a part of it, including real, live human, Vermont-based Listing Specialists on hand to walk the sellers through the entire process. If there are ever any questions while you’ve got a car listed, you’ve got a person to contact. Their combined decades of experience within the collector-car marketplace, backed by the rest of the Hemmings crew, is simply unparalleled in the online auction space. And we have an equally attentive and hardworking crew in Charlotte, North Carolina, making sure the whole operation runs smoothly.

Hemmings has built its 65-year reputation on trust, and we owe that not only to our loyal readers and advertisers, but also to our top-notch customer service team that has had to go after and root out the occasional unscrupulous advertiser. We’ve got a list of banned advertisers whose money is no good with us. That won’t change when we start auctioning cars, either.

Our $99.95 no-risk submission fee is unlike any other in the biz, too. We collect the fee only after we have selected your car for auction—and we are selective—and agreed with you on a reserve price and other conditions. After a successful auction, the seller pays no other fees or commissions to Hemmings. If the bidding fails to meet reserve, we can then automatically convert the listing into a Hemmings Marketplace ad for six months, free of additional charges.

We charge a five percent buyer’s fee on all successful auctions, with a minimum fee of $500. With any sale that tops $200,000, the buyer’s fee is capped at $10,000. In the interest of transparency, before you hit the submit button on a bid, you will see your total cost, including the Hemmings fees—no surprises.

Just like a live auction, internet auctions can be exciting and generate vigorous discussion. We will allow commenting on our listings – moderated, of course, because we’d like to keep up a decent sense of decorum at Hemmings Auctions. But bidders with questions for the seller might not want to read all of your stories and opinions about a listed car, so we have a separate Q&A commenting section for questions for the owner. You can enter right into the discussion or get just the facts.

Our editorial team has been producing unique stories for our various publications since 1970. With decades of feature stories, buyer’s guides, comparison drives, and other pieces available, our editors will select the best related content relevant to the listed vehicle to help you make a more informed bid, with the best information available just a click away. Speaking of listings, we have built a team of professional writers—experienced automotive journalists—who will create each listing, working with information directly from the sellers.

We’ve also made browsing our auction inventory easy, with eight different categories. (See main image above.) We’ve talked to plenty of people who like browsing all available auction lots, but some people are only interested in a certain category, so we’ve built in some one-click filters on the main auction page to let them do that. A car can also be tagged in two categories if it fits. For example, a Corvette might very well be considered a muscle car and a performance car at the same time.

A common complaint with online auction platforms is last-second bidding, or “sniping,” that can block out competitive bidding just as the going gets good. We’ve built in anti-sniping software that automatically triggers an additional two minutes of bidding time if a bid is placed in the last five minutes of the auction. This clock can be reset again and again to keep the auction competitive until all bids are satisfied.

When an auction ends successfully, we do collect our fee, but we don’t just introduce the buyer and seller and send them on their way. Though it’s ultimately up to the winning bidder and seller to work out the final transaction details, we want things to go as smoothly and satisfactorily as possible. We’ll stick around to help out where we can. And we also have connections with our partners in collector-car transport, specialty insurance, and even finance that can help as well.

There’s a lot more to come. The pursuit is on!