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How to Buy a Car at an Online Car Auction? Tips From eCarsTrade Sales Team

Let’s dive together into questions about online car auctions, purchasing process, bidding and car shipping that, among many others, our sales team answers on the daily!

If there’s one thing we would say what makes us stand out from our competitors, it’s the high level of attention our sales team gives to our customers as part of the eCarsTrade experience.

Day in and day out, they work hard to answer all your questions to make your bidding and purchasing process on eCarsTrade as smooth as possible.

The questions vary from ‘How do online auctions actually work?’ to ‘Are prices VAT inclusive?’ and ‘Can I get a 1000€ discount on this car?”. But over the years, the team noticed some questions pop up more frequently than others.

We spoke to each of our account managers to see which questions they get asked the most. Since eCarsTrade works with car traders and automotive professionals from all over Europe, it was interesting to find out which questions they ask us regardless of where they come from.

In this article, we compiled 5 most frequently asked questions about online auctions, the delivery process, and our cars. You can also read answers to many other questions in our brand-new FAQ section.

Let’s get started!


 Question 1: Do the cars you sell have a full service history? 

Here at eCarsTrade, we sell only ex-leased cars. For those of you who are just joining us on the platform, ex-leased cars are cars that have been previously used by companies. When they reach their end of fixed term, leasing companies and banks sell them off to car traders or private customers. 

There are some amazing advantages to buying an ex-leased vehicle:

1. Regular obligatory maintenance during the leasing contract

If you’ve ever worked a job where you had a company car, you probably had to follow a really strict maintenance schedule. There’s a good reason for that. Leasing car providers will always want to make absolutely sure that their cars have a high resale value when it’s time to sell them off.

It’s a win-win scenario - profitable for the leasing provider and an amazingly maintained car for you.

Usually, the cars will be serviced by licensed dealerships and conform to the manufacturer’s standards, too. 

2. Transparent service history

Thanks to this strict maintenance schedule, you’ll always get a complete service history with everything that has been done to the car. 

In contrast, let’s compare ex-leased cars with private cars in this regard. Servicing done on a private car may not have been done correctly. For example, if a person is not in a financial position to go to a car repair shop, they may try to repair the vehicle on their own. If this is done incorrectly, it may lead to repairs that need to be redone or replacement parts that will wear out faster than the originals.

When purchasing privately, you have to either trust the seller or use VIN decoder websites to help you find out the car’s history. That is not the case with ex-leased cars, though! All our cars come from trusted leasing companies that accurately and extensively document the vehicles’ mileage, service history, and current condition.


3. Appraisal reports 

Another benefit of buying an ex-leased car is that each vehicle is thoroughly inspected by professional and independent experts. Their detailed reports, which include photos, provide our customers with confidence in the state of the cars and an accurate description of any damages.

Basically, you know exactly what you’re buying.

 Question 2: Why do I have to pay a deposit? 

We get it, paying deposits can seem daunting when you’re just starting to buy on a platform like eCarsTrade. After all, you still need to get to know the platform and build your trust in us.

The fastest way to build that trust is to start slow and buy a car from Our Stock. When you’re ready to upgrade your eCarsTrade experience and participate in auctions, that’s where the security deposit comes in!

So, why do you have to pay a deposit? The deposit is a guarantee of your purchasing ability. 

Our deposit is:

  • A flat fee 
  • Paid only once 
  • Fully refundable

After paying the deposit, you get unlimited bidding and access to our auctions. 

But you might be wondering why you have to pay a deposit at eCarsTrade, while at other auction platforms you do not. The truth is - companies who know what they’re doing, who are professional in their line of business, and take their clients seriously will always ask for a deposit. 

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a car trader yourself. You also probably take precautions to make sure your business is covered in any situation. That’s the hallmark of a reliable and stable business. And that’s exactly how we run eCarsTrade - so that our clients can count on us every step of the way.

The security deposit is a benefit for both eCarsTrade and our clients. We do our best to make our sales process as clear as possible, but in case of the cancellation of a purchase, we are sure to have funds to cover our losses. This amount is not used for anything else, and can be kept as a saving for our clients - adds Caroline.

 Question 3: When and how will I receive the car? 

So you bought a car, congrats! A lot of our clients ask us how and when they will receive their cars after purchasing them on our online auction platform. 

Currently, eCarsTrade transports your purchased vehicle only to our parking lots here in Belgium. After you win a car through one of our many auctions, we’ll get it from the leasing company and transport it safely to Belgium. After that, the vehicles are ready for your pick-up!

We always recommend hiring a truck to transport your cars from Belgium to the country of your destination. Actually, we’ve written a whole article about How to transport your vehicles, go check it out right now and then come back to this article.

Trucks can reach almost any destination for a reasonable price, and your cargo will be safe. You’ll have little to no problems with logistics and there are plenty of companies to choose from. Just ask us for recommendations and we’ll help you decide!

And now we’re at the best part - buying your cars from eCarsTrade allows you to purchase cars from multiple suppliers and countries, and load them onto the truck transport at one singular location. Let’s say you’ve won 3 cars at our auctions, and they all have different countries of origin. That means we will go to each of these countries, pick up your vehicles and they will all be waiting for you in Belgium.

Just think about how much money you can save by ordering multiple cars from various countries, but you only need to go to one place to pick them all up. Your truck transport simply picks them all up at eCarsTrade warehouse! 

And what about lead times? Your car’s lead time depends on where it’s coming from. Take a look at this table to know exactly how many days it takes for your car to arrive at our premises, starting from the day your payment is visible on our account:

Origin of the vehicle Lead time

up to 5 working days


up to 15 working days


up to 15 working days

The Netherlands

up to 20 working days


up to 30-35 working days


 Question 4: Do you have any hidden fees? 

Hidden fees, the bane of every consumer’s shopping experience. We encourage all our clients to ask this question, whether you're purchasing cars at eCarsTrade or elsewhere.

Hidden fees can be small or big, but they always have one thing in common - they’re unexpected and can end up costing you a lot of extra money. They are also a fast way to lose the trust of any customer, and we’re all about building long-lasting relationships with our car traders. 

The good news is - we hate hidden fees just as much as you do, and that’ why we strive to be as transparent as possible when it comes to disclosing our fees. 

Our commission includes an administrative fee and the cost of vehicle transportation to our facilities. The commission depends on your bid amount and the car's origin country. There are no hidden surprises here - the total price will be visible to you before you make an offer. 

For more information about our commission and all our fees, check out our Costs page.


 Question 5: Are the prices I see online netto or brutto prices? Do I have to bid netto or brutto? 

Another popular question we get all the time!

There are two types of prices you can see at eCarsTrade:

  • VAT deductible - most prices on our platform exclude VAT (netto price).
  • Margin: VAT not deductible - if the car has been bought from a private person, the price includes VAT and it can't be deducted.


So the short answer is - netto. Unless clearly stated! If you have an EU company, you’ll have to buy a vehicle with the VAT excluded and then declare the VAT in your country as per your country's legislation. However, only Belgian companies can pay the price with the VAT included.

Non-EU companies have to buy vehicles with the VAT included, which is then refunded after export confirmation by customs. So - you should always bid with the netto price in mind and add the commission on top of that.

In the table below you can see the rules applicable to you based on the details of your vehicle:

Car Type Destination VAT
VAT deductible car Belgium 21% - VAT included
EU (except Belgium)

0% - VAT excluded

VAT needs to be declared in the country of final destination.

Outside EU

0% - VAT excluded

You need to pay the full VAT amount (21%) as a guarantee. You can claim this amount after the purchased vehicle crosses the borders of the EU and the EX-A document is officially registered by the EU border inspection point.

Margin car Any country VAT is already included in the vehicle’s price and can not be deducted.

We understand that clients may have concerns about the price due to VAT in their country. However, it's important to keep in mind that VAT is a standard tax that applies to all products and services, and it helps support the economy and public services. 

So, while it may be an added expense, it's just a small part of the overall value our product provides. You can also often benefit from certain deductions after paying VAT in your country of destination.

How does an online auction work? Find out in our FAQ 

There you have it, folks. These are some of the most frequently asked questions our sales team answers pretty much every day. And we’re happy to keep answering them every day. Building relationships based on trust and support with our clients is at the heart of what we do.

So keep your questions coming, and you can check out many more over in our brand-new FAQ section.