Frequently Asked Questions

For Public Buyers
Auction Every Friday at 9:00am

This is a quick reference to commonly asked questions and for information purposes only. The terms & conditions policy manual take precedent over any conflicting information. RAA refers to the Richmond Auto Auction.

Q: What is the difference between the public and dealer sale?
The public sale is open to all bidders, both public and dealers. The dealer sale, due to state regulation, is open to licensed motor vehicle dealers only.
Q: How do I bid?
You must be a registered member able to pay a $1,000 deposit to bid. You can bid in the lanes or, if you can’t make it to the sale, you can bid online via or with an Absentee Bid form.
Q: How and when do I register for the sale?
Registration is held in the office any time during the week. Online buyers are required to register by Thursday at 5pm. A $25 annual membership fee is required for all public bidders. This $25 will be credited to your account during the purchase of your first vehicle each year.
Q: How long does it take to register for the auction?
The process to register takes approximately 5 minutes.
Q: Can Public bid online?
Yes, the public can register and bid online on A $25 annual membership fee is required for all public bidders. This $25 will be credited to your account during the purchase of your first vehicle each year. All public registrations for online bidding must be completed by 5:00PM Thursday prior to the auction. Call 804-232-7355 for assistance.
Q: How long does the public sale last?
RAA holds auctions every Friday at 9:00AM starting with Inoperative vehicles (cars that do not run). Operable (running) vehicles begin at 10:00AM. The sale will end once the final car runs through the lane at approximately 12:00PM.
Q: Can I bid without a deposit?
No. You must have a $1,000 deposit for each vehicle you are planning to purchase. Deposits can be made over the phone or in person using a credit card (+4% convenience fee) or debit card. That credit card deposit is refunded if you decide not to buy anything. It could take a couple of days to credit your account depending on your bank. Additionally, a $25 annual membership fee is required for all public bidders. This $25 will be credited to your account during the purchase of your first vehicle each year.
Q: Which vehicles are public buyers allowed to bid on?
Vehicles open to bidding by the public can be identified by the run number, as all lanes contain vehicles that are open to public bidding. Vehicles open to bidding by the public are designated to the following run numbers: I251 and up, and all vehicles on A-Lane, B-Lane, C-Lane, or U-Lane run numbers.
Q: Does the $1,000 deposit go towards the purchase price?
Yes, the deposit is applied to the total price of the car. If you do not make a purchase, then the deposit is refunded to you.
Q: Where do we get the cars that are being auctioned?
They are consignments from financial institutions such as banks, credit unions and title loan companies as well as municipalities and government agencies.
Q: When can I inspect the vehicles?
Inspection is on Thursdays 9:00AM-4:30PM and on Friday from 7:30-9:00AM.
Q: Can I test drive the car before I buy it?
No, public test drives are not allowed prior to purchasing a vehicle. However, you may attend our pre-auction inspection on Thursday from 9AM-4:30PM and Friday from 7:30-9:00AM. During that time vehicles can be started and moved 2 feet forward and 2 feet backward but not test driven. You may only test drive after you have purchased a green light vehicle.
Q: I see a car and I really like it. Can I buy it now?
All cars must run through the auction. If the car was not sold on the auction block, it will be available for purchase after the auction until end of auction business day.
Q: How do I know when the car I want will be at the auction block to be auctioned?
All cars have a run number sticker on the windshield. “A35” means the car will run in the ‘A’ lane and will be the 35th car to be auctioned in that lane.
Q: What do I need to bring with me on the day of the auction?
Your driver’s license and a deposit ($1,000) for each vehicle you plan to purchase.
Q: Can I bring children?
No. For their safety no one under 16 years of age (proof required) is permitted on the premises on auction day.
Q: What does red light mean?
The vehicle is sold strictly AS IS with no guarantees or warranties. Customer are advised to inspect any vehicle they are planning to bid on before actually bidding on it.
Q: What does green light mean?
Purchasing a car on green light means you can go on a test drive before paying for the car. If you purchase a car on green light you can also purchase a post-sale inspection. See terms and conditions for post-sale inspections guidelines.
Q: What does blue light mean?
The blue light means that we don’t have a title for this particular vehicle yet. The seller has 30 days to provide us with a marketable title. If the title doesn’t arrive, we’ll cancel the sale and you get your money back. For this reason, you must not make any repairs, or invest any money in the vehicle until the title arrives. Removal of the vehicle is therefore not suggested.
Q: What is the minimum bid for the vehicles?
Every car that runs through the sale has a reserve or minimum bid that the seller would like before agreeing to sell the car. At the sellers’ request they are not disclosed.
Q: What is the price of the car?
There are no set prices on any of the cars. They are sold to the highest bidder if the seller wishes to accept that bid.
Q: Are there any fees or costs that I will need to pay in addition to the price I bid?
Each car will have a buyer’s fee and a $195 processing fee added to the bid price. The buyer’s premium is a sliding rate based on the amount of the winner’s bid for the vehicle. See the Public Membership Form for the buyer fee rate schedule.
Q: When is payment required?
The $1,000 deposit is due immediately once you are the winning bidder. The remaining balance is due by 4:00 PM the next business day. Acceptable forms of payment are credit or debit card, cashier's check, and money order. We don’t accept personal checks. There is a 4% convenience fee for Credit Cards. Due to COVID-19, we are currently not accepting cash.
Q: Can I write a personal check?
No. The only acceptable form of payment is Cashier’s Check, Money Order, Debit Card or Credit Card. There is a 4% convenience fee for Credit Cards. Please note due to COVID-19 we are currently not accepting cash.
Q: When can I take the vehicle?
You are allowed to remove the vehicle once the vehicle is paid in full. The clerk will give you a receipt and gate pass once all monies are collected.
Q: Once I buy the car, how do I get it home?
DMV sells trip permits for $5.00 that can be obtained online if you have a Virginia’s driver’s license. You may purchase these using the Tech Center in our main office. If not, the trip permit can be purchased at DMV.
Q: Can I buy a car for someone else?
No, the title will be reassigned to the registered bidder only.
Q: Can public sell at our auction?
No, RAA does not accept public consignments. However, our Motley’s Industrial Division will take public consignments. For more information, please call 804-232-3300.
Q: Is my registration valid for industrial/commercial vehicle auctions?
No, Motley’s Industrial is a separate company/auction. Please call (804) 232-3300 or visit for information about their auction.
Q: Can I leave the vehicle without storage fees if awaiting title delivery?
If you purchase a car without a title, you can leave it on our lot until the title comes in and no storage fees will be charged.
Q: Can you mail out the title?
Yes, we can mail out a title, via UPS or FedEx, at the buyers expense. You must sign a power of attorney in order to mail titles.
Q: Does my processing fee include 30 Days Tags?
No, the $195 processing fee is for processing the title. RAA does not issue any tags. Check with your local DMV to purchase tags.
Q: Does the RAA offer state inspection services?
No, we do not offer state inspections.
Q: What guarantees come with the car when I make my purchase?
There is no guarantee or warranty. The auctioneer will announce how the car is being sold which will be indicated by the light system. The auction DOES NOT guarantee any of the vehicles.
Q: Can I purchase a warranty?
Yes. If the car is sold on a Green light, is under 125,000 miles, is 10 years old or newer, and is purchased for more than $5,000, you may purchase a Post Sale Inspection (PSI). This will provide you with a 7 day or 200 mile guarantee, whichever comes first. See PSI terms and conditions for more details.
Q: I saw the car I wanted. Why didn’t it run through the sale?
There are many reasons why a car that is scheduled to be offered for sale is not run through the auction lane. We always recommend you have between 3-5 vehicles that you have inspected so that you have a backup plan.