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Car buyers 'ignore auction bargain'

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General misunderstanding and fear of buying a car at auction has led to used-car buyers missing out on bargains, a study has shown.

The survey of 3,000 people conducted by One Poll for Manheim Auctions found that 85% of motorists have never considered attending an auction.

More than half of these drivers believed it to be an intimidating experience as they did not understand the auction-buying process.

However, the car auction company found that three-quarters of those who have bought at auction said they had "a great experience", and 22% of those polled preferred auctions - saying the process is quicker than more traditional car-buying methods.

Findings of the study revealed that fearful UK drivers expressed concerns about the history of cars, the lack of warranties and the unfamiliar environment.

Craig Mailey, client services and marketing director at Manheim Auctions, said: "It's a common misconception that an auction is an intimidating place to buy a car.

"People mistake the auction environment as a shady place where shady deals are done, and many consumers have never even considered buying a car at auction."

Manheim suggested some tips for the first-time auction buyer including going to the auction centre first simply to observe the buying process, keeping a note of the vehicle details mentioned by the auctioneer, and sticking to the budget.

© Press Association 2010