of Government Auctions of Seized Property
You pick up a flyer, which has as its centerpiece, a photograph
of a shiny Ferrari along with two Jaguars.
GOV'T SEIZED CARS FROM $200!
For Current Local
Listings Call: 1-800-883-0819 ext. A-9034
DEA - FBI - SHERIFF- U.S. MARSHALL- IRS
- U.S. CUSTOMS
CARS - JETSKIS - BOATS - IRS - TRUCKS - 4x4S-
MOTORCYCLES - JEWELRY- COMPUTERS - STEREOS - VCR'S
OVER 1 MILLION
CARS SOLD EVERY MONTH
FREE 7 DAYS - CALL NOW
You call the toll-free number and learn that the listing information
advertised on the flyer sells for $59.00.
They reiterate the claim made on the flyer —that government
seized vehicles, in good condition, can be purchased by the public
at prices substantially below their wholesale values, sometimes
as little as $200. After asking for your address they tell you,
regardless of your location, that "our computer's showing
anywhere from one to four auctions, in and around your area per
"The government sells cars for whatever they can get,
just to get rid of them, usually at a giveaway price."
You are also told that you will receive catalogs in the mail "about
a week before each auction" that will describe when and where
the next auction will be along with listings of actual vehicles
that are available for purchase at auctions in your area.
You may be uncertain about ordering right away but they suggest
you take a trial look at it - without obligation.
"We'll send it to you today. That will save you the trouble
of calling back. Then you can make an informed decision based
upon actual results. And with our guarantee, there's no risk".
If you agree to purchase the current local listings of seized
cars you are asked to provide them with your credit card or checking
account numbers. The $59.00 is then instantly charged to your account.
If you should change your mind and wish to cancel by calling right
back you are told that the order has been "processed." You
are instructed to wait until the materials arrive in the mail and
then to follow the return instructions which are included with
Shortly thereafter, you receive two publications —the first
entitled "Consumer's Guide to Government Auctions" and
the second "Consumer's Listings of Government Auctions." Neither
publication includes the current listings of actual vehicles that
are available for purchase at auctions in your area. The publications
instead provide only a list of public and private entities that
regularly hold auctions.
You may even receive additional guides and find you have been
billed for them as well. When the operator was discussing the other
guides which they would gladly include, you thought they were free.
You quickly decide that this isn't worth the money you've paid
and seek out the instructions for returning it. You notice in fine
print the following:
When you call their Customer Service department to obtain an authorization
number you are told that you cannot have one until you show not only
that you were not successful using the "how to" guides,
but also that you have met the conditions set forth in the fine print,
i.e., provide them with receipts from auctions
showing that you did not buy anything or copies of rejected applications
of bids on houses. They essentially ask you to prove a negative.
- If, after attending these auctions, you have not seen the
results you expected, you may call Customer Assistance for
a Return Authorization Number for an exchange or return* WITHOUT
THIS NUMBER ON THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR PACKAGE, IT WILL AUTOMATICALLY
BE RETURNED TO YOU.
- *Please provide us with receipts from the auctions you attended
since becoming our customer so that we can continue to improve
the quality of the services we are providing.
Should you try to use the auction information package to actually
attend auctions you find that the auctions are remote from
your residence; that there are no bargain automobiles, houses,
or other property at the auctions; and that proof of attendance
at specific auctions is not generally obtainable.
In fact, people who purchase the publications on seized cars
rarely, if ever, are able to purchase vehicles in good condition
for a fraction of their wholesale values, including as little
as $200. Indeed, while agencies such as the United States Marshals
and the Customs Service do regularly seize vehicles, including
vehicles in good condition, they rarely, if ever, sell those
vehicles to the general public at prices substantially below
their wholesale values.
In fact, cars sold at auctions typically sell for their fair
market value or higher. At many government sales, the items
are appraised prior to sale and will not be sold if the bid
price is below what is reasonable. The only cars that sell
for $100 to $350 are damaged or junk vehicles which are purchased
Further, government agencies do not regularly seize and then
sell expensive high-end vehicles at auction. In fact, it's
unusual for agencies to obtain high-end vehicles - even through
drug seizures. When agencies do seize high-end cars, they often
use the cars in undercover work. They're not offered to the
public until they're too expensive to maintain. At that point,
they're no longer considered high-end vehicles.
One company —using the name "U.S. Agency of Consumer
Affairs" —advertised the availability of special
information on the auction of surplus government vehicles.
When consumers responded to this company's advertisement, they
were asked to provide bank account information under the guise
that the information was necessary to verify credit for buying
a car at auction.
Upon receiving this information, the company debited the consumer's
account for $149.95 without authorization, then sent a packet
of information which could easily be obtained for free at any
Two other companies charged with
running this scam will be required to pay over $4 million in
compensation and be forced to sell, at auction, three vintage
Jaguars that may be worth as much as $90,000 or as little as
$600 if you still believe their fabrications.
GOV'T FORECLOSED HOMES
For Current Local Listings Call: 1-800-873-0814 ext. H-9034
NO MONEY DOWN - MUST BE SOLD
BUY FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR
100% GOV'T FINANCING
THOUSANDS OF HOMES SOLD EACH MONTH
TOLL FREE 7 DAYS - CALL NOW
You call the toll-free telephone number provided and are informed
that the listing information advertised on the flyers sells
The operators, who are always "standing by", restate
that government foreclosed homes in good condition can be purchased
by the public at prices substantially below their market values.
They say they will provide you with listings of actual homes
available for purchase in the your area that had been "repossessed
or foreclosed on by the banks or the government" and that
there are several auctions held in your local area each month.
"You'll receive a current listing of repossessed,
foreclosed and tax delinquent properties. These are offered
at discounts by the U.S. Government and certain banks, up
to half off. Sometimes less."
You are asked for your credit card or checking account information,
which they say is required for purposes such as "verification" or
to show creditworthiness or for security purposes. They assure
you that the information will not be used to charge you and
that you will be charged for the auction information package
only at the end of a free 90-day trial period if you decide
to keep it.
They say that you may return the guides for a full refund
if you are not completely satisfied.
The moment you agree to receive the current local listings
of foreclosed homes the $68.90 is quickly debited from
They explain that they also have other programs and offer
to send one or more of those additional programs along with
the program you ordered. However, they fail to disclose that
there is an additional charge for the other programs.
Although you may have authorized charges to cover the "eventual" cost
of the program you ordered, you learn only later that they
have charged you for the additional programs as well, or two
or three times what you expected.
Soon you receive several publications, only two relating to
your initial query —the first entitled "Home Buyer's
Guide to Foreclosed Real Estate" and the second "Home
Buyer's Listings of Foreclosed Real Estate." Neither publication
contains the current listings of actual homes available for
purchase in your area that had been promised.
In fact, people who purchase such publications on foreclosed
homes rarely, if ever, are able to purchase foreclosed homes
in reasonably good condition for substantially below their
market values. Indeed, entities that regularly foreclose on
well-kept homes that are in good condition rarely, if ever,
sell those homes to the general public at prices substantially
below their market values.
The information in the guides is available for free to real
estate brokers and the general public through Multiple Listing
Services, newspapers and online resources. Houses that sell
for significantly lower prices are in poor, often uninhabitable
condition or located in unstable or unsafe communities.
You learn only after receiving the apparently useless "how-to" guides
that they will not even consider issuing a refund unless you
have used the guides for at least 90 days. They ship to you
along with their guides a copy of their "guarantee," which
provides in part:
We are so confident in the quality and accuracy of the
information you have received that, if after working with
our Research Assistants for at least 90 days, you
are not convinced of the value of our publications, our Consumer
Research Assistants can authorize a refund (less shipping
and handling) anytime within the next two full years. Products
must be returned and in resalable condition with a return
authorization number after the 90 day trial period for the
guarantee to be valid.
If they eventually do provide a refund, they subtract an amount
for "shipping and handling". If you try to get a
refund before the 90 day period has elapsed you will also have
to pay a 20% restocking fee on top of that.
Information about federal government sales programs is available
for free or at low cost from the individual agencies. Some
agencies and bankruptcy trustees maintain mailing lists with
the names of people who want to be notified about upcoming
sales. In these cases, they charge a subscription fee to maintain
the list and cover mailing costs.