The Volunteers of America Auto Auction takes place every Saturday in Pontiac, Michigan. During this auction, representatives of the charity group sell donated vehicles to the highest bidder. While other chapters of Volunteers of America may hold their own smaller scale auto auctions, this one, sponsored by Volunteers of America Michigan, Inc., is by far the most well known.
How the Volunteers of America Auto Auction Works
The auction actually takes place over two days. The Friday before the big day is when vehicles are available for preview. Potential customers are invited to stop by the auction site any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to get a good look at the vehicles available that week. No previews are allowed on Saturday.
On auction day, bidding officially begins at 10 a.m., when the first car is put on the block. All bidders must register before they can enter the auction, but they can do so at no charge. In order to bid, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 or older
- Possess a valid driver's license or government ID
- Have at least $200 cash on hand to use as a deposit
Bidding officially starts at $300, as of April 2010. Final prices can be exactly that or much, much, higher, depending on how many people choose to bid. All vehicles are sold as-is. You cannot return a vehicle later if you find that it has physical or mechanical problems. No warranty coverage is implied.If you win a vehicle in the auction, you must have the means to pay for it immediately and be able to pick it up by the end of the next business day. You also have to pay a document fee and a title transfer fee. If you're a licensed auto dealer, your purchase is subject to state sales tax.
The auction is located at 618 East Walton Boulevard. The closest major cross street is Josyln Avenue. Pontiac is about 40 minutes north of Detroit. If you have questions, you can contact the organizers at1-800-552-1515 or visit the official website.
The proceeds from the auction benefit the following programs, among others:
- Shelter and meals for homeless and low-income individuals
- Mental health services and substance abuse treatment
- Halfway houses and other services to help ex-cons become productive members of society
Donating a Vehicle to the Auction
If you have a car that you no longer need, you're welcome to donate to Volunteers of America. If you'd like this vehicle to end up at the auction, it's best to donate to the Michigan chapter. To facilitate the process, submit an online form. Note that it's easiest if your vehicle is already in the Detroit metro area. Otherwise, you may have to drive the vehicle there instead of having the organization pick it up for you.
If your vehicle is not drivable or cannot otherwise be auctioned off at the Volunteers of America Auto Auction, this doesn't mean the organization won't accept it. It's likely that it can still make some money off of your car by selling it for parts. If you decide to make a donation, make sure you have a copy of the car's title so you can prove that you own it. Also, talk to your tax advisor about how much you will be able to deduct thanks to your donation.