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Auto Dealers Beware!

Updated on April 30, 2012

Advice from an Experienced Auto Auction Consumer & Former Employee: The Inside Tips

Manheim Auto Auctions were once thought of as the top dog of the dealers-only auto auctions, but now have fallen and continue to fall farther from the simple roots that started them. Manheim lays claim to owning the world's largest auto auction, but no longer can they say they are the gold-seal standard anymore. More and more, this company has become more about the money lining their pockets than helping dealers sell and buy cars for their lots. They have taken away many services that were put in place to help dealers while they were at the auctions such as the Vehicle Locator Department, whose job was to locate lost cars, and Dealer Concierge Department, whose job was to make dealer feel welcome and less lost at the auctions. These are just a couple of things that have been done, but the biggest reasons why auto dealers nationwide should be wary of any Manheim Auto Auction.

I'm going to review the top 5 reasons dealers should think twice before shaking hands and making deals that could cost them thousands of dollars. There are many reasons that dealers should be wary of any auto auction, but these top 5 take the cake. They can even lead to thefts and damages of the dealers' vehicles when they are sent to any auto auction and not just Manheim, though this is where they lack. These tips can also be used by the everyday Joe Shmoe as well for any public auction. It always pays to be mindful of those trying to scam you out of your hard earned money.

5. Hidden Charges: We know we all hate hidden charges that are not told to us at the time of purchase, and auto dealers are no exception. Be mindful when going to any auction whether a public or private auctions. You should always make sure you know about all possible charges before putting something on the auction block or purchasing. Manheim has several hidden charges that they neglect to mention, such as a cancellation fee for dropping any auction lane spot number that is not dropped by the day before sale day at noon. This fee was first tested at Manheim Orlando location and has become a nation standard and a dealer's worse dream for vehicles that do not make it to auction on time.

4. Location, location, location: Let's face it, everyone. Would you go to a place to shop that wasn't in a nice area? I think we can all answer yes to that question. You should always inspect the area where the auction is located. Many people don't think about this though when it comes to auctions, and dealers are the worse about it. Manheim Orlando Auto Auction may be located in between Toll Roads 429 and the Florida Turnpike making it easy to get to and from the major shipping yards and airports, but it also has one of the worse crime neighborhoods in all of Ocoee, FL, right behind it. After growing up around and working there, I can honestly tell dealers that there is approximately 100 auto theft and break in attempts per year with approximately 20 successful thefts or break ins. I know this because I have caught and called police before and have seen and filed the security reports. The auto auction has become a gang initiation spot where new gang members must slip onto property and try to steal a car. I have been addressing fence weakness to the security manager for years with nothing still being done to this day.

3. Customer Service: One major thing we all look for in a business is customer service. Not many people would think about this when it comes to auctions though. You should always ask others about the customer service before going to any auction. The more complaints you hear, then the farther a way you should stay. Manheim Orlando Auto Auction once had water available throughout their property. Then when they brought in a new manager, Butch Herdegen, that was all stopped and reduced to barely a handful of water dispensers that are hard to locate. The first employee meeting with Butch Herdegen was astonishing because his reason for taking all of the available water sources a way was because the dealers, employees, and auto transporters were all too spoiled. This here is the first sign of bad customer relations because employees tend to be more up front and truthful with long time customers when asked about the items in question.

2. Employees: You should always check to see what kind of employees and how the employees look before ever going to any auction, private or public. If the employees look like you can not trust them, then go with your gut. Also ask whether the employees have been background checked for criminal records, such as grand theft. Manheim Auto Auctions use to do this when they did hire new employees to drive the vehicles around the auto auctions. After the mass lay offs at both Manheim Central Florida and Manheim Orlando, Butch Herdegen put non-background checked temporary drivers not only behind the wheels of the vehicles, but have also allowed them to be crew leaders or unlicensed security guards and use gate keys when nescesary. Over half of these temporary workers have criminal records that span from violence and drugs to grand theft auto. They are called temporary labor workers because they can not get a job working anywhere else. I am not saying these people do not deserve a chance to work, but with the lack of background checks, it is easy enough for a still active car thief to walk through the gates, up to a car going getting ready to go out the gate for a lot-to-lot transfer, go out the gate using his/her crew leaders identification number, and then make a very quick, almost unnoticed escape. This brings me to our number one item to be wary of.

1. Security: Always, always, always check to see how many security guards are on each guard shift yourself! Never ask the company about security because they will always tell you what you want to hear. Also always remember to check and see if the security guards are licensed by the state itself. If they are not licensed by the state you live in, then they are not true security enforcement guards and are nothing more than a glorified fire watchmen with the title of security guard. Those types of security guards are less likely to do anything about your stuff being stolen no matter what because they are not licensed and do not know what the state requires of security enforcement. In Florida for example, the law on security enforcement, no matter the curcumstance, is to be licensed and undergo at least 40 hours of Florida Department of Agriculture and Labor approved training before they place on a security enforcement guard's badge and uniform. This is not what is being done at Manheim Orlando. They hire anyone for security whether he/she has a license or not and places them in uniform. They will then also subsquently fire those same employees for failure to follow procedures that they were never trained nor licensed to do.

You also must make sure you see how many security guards are on each guard shift. Most states, including Florida, have a minimum required number of security enforcement officers per acre or monetary value which ever is greater. Once again, here is where Manheim Orlando is in violation once again. They have laid off so many security enforcement officers that they no longer even meet the required minimum. They have laid off so many that their overnight has only 3 guards doing the job of at least 8 people on a property that should have at least 10 due to the monetary value and the 3 separate properties that they own.

If you look out for these top 5 items, then you should be able to determine if the auction is right for you. These are the most common things that many people especially auto dealers tend to not look at before going to an auto auction. It is also because of these top 5 items being ignored that millions of taxpayers' dollars are also spent on prosecution and imprisonment of criminals who prey on the unwitting. Auto dealers tend to believe that it will never happen to them so they tend to be more relaxed with where they send their cars, especially when a business has been around as long as Manheim Auto Auctions. These are false senses of security though with the changes that have befallen the once great Manheim Auto Auctions that many dealers are starting to see. Also with competition from other companies, such as Adesa Auto Auction, that offer cheaper prices, no hidden charges, a properly staffed security enforcement, and top rated customer service, it's no wonder why the once mighty Manheim has now fallen to being only the 5th top customer rated dealers-only auto auction. Perhaps those lovely Cox sisters at parent company Cox Enterprises Inc. should take a much closer look at who they have in charge over the whole operation at Manheim's corporate offices.


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      23 months ago

      I am sick and tired of being taken advantage of by Manheim. Specifically, Manheim Orlando and Central Florida. I am sick and tired of them nickel and dimming me with fees. I am shocked that we as dealers haven't stood up to them yet. Let's start a revolution to change their business practices. I just found out that they are now charging so called "photo" fee of $15 for each listing in addition to all the other fees. In my case, they charged me twice for the same car. Customer service just sucks ass. They never answer and never get a call back if you leave a message.

      They are pushing the limits as far as they can and we the dealers just stand there and bend over. It is sad!

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      2 years ago

      I would have to agree on all of these points, except you failed to mention that they are in cahoots with some of the larger dealers. I've witnessed them push my vehicles to the ass end of the run numbers/lane while prioritizing other dealers that submitted their cars after mine, before me (reserve). I've witness them NOT take offers within the range their policy states on vehicles I'm selling. I've been running the same car for 3 months unsuccessfully because all dealers are pretty much gone by the time my cars run. This generates no interest in the vehicle, the auctioneers barely put effort into selling the cars, but the company expects you to pay these registration fees week after week. I just ask that they hold up their end of the bargain since I'm paying all this money. Treat all dealers fairly without the monopoly. Rant over

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      2 years ago

      We dealt with Manheim for years and unfortunately have had to pretty much eliminate our dealings with them.

      From what we've heard, we feel these complaints are all to common.

      Our family business is very well known across the U.S. and I'll say modestly, we weren't financial devastated by our business dealings with Manheim. Ultimately our decision put some distance between ourselves and Manheim wasn't financially motivated but was in our opinion an ethically based decision for what we saw as to many reasons.

      The main ones being how we view our name and our relationships with really great smaller dealers whom we've known for years. At the end of the day we didn't want to be associated with what we believe has been going on for what we consider far to long.

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      2 years ago

      Be aware !! at Manheim Orlando corruption starts at the top. Customer Service sucks! and the hidden chargers add up all they care is about the bottom dollar not for the dealers. Don't even try to call is no answer except for a machine . They want the little guy out............. I am so done with manheim !!!......Karma is going to catch up with them !!!

    • profile image

      Matt H 

      3 years ago

      You are RIGHT on. I am so done with manheim. Couldn't care less about a customer !

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      ADESA Golden Gate just sold us a "structural damage" vehicle under a "green light" umbrella.NAAA Arbitration policy clearly states that the auction has to buy the car back in this case and they didn`t want to do so.We needed to reach out to Corporate VP`s in order to have ADESA Golden Gate`s GM abide by his company`s policy and buy back the car.As a revenge, they locked the business to buy cars from ADESA in the future.What`s really alarming,they think that there is nothing wrong on their end.The CEO doesn`t reply to his e-mails and hides behind his regional managers.Very, very bad business practices.We`ve been in business for over 20 years and never had one auction to renege its own auction policy. We advise dealers to open their eyes when dealing with ADESA and stop giving them business if anything unethical happens to them or they see that it happens to others.They need to either replace the entire incompetent management or rather close doors if they can`t respect their own rules.Feel free to reply to this thread with your feedback, if you feel that you were treated unfair by any of the ADESA auction locations.

      Be aware.Be smart.Stay informed.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      ADESA is not a better place to buy cars either.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Lucas Manheim,

      Spoken like s true company man. This company sucks. Bad product. Bad people. I've spent my last nickel with you clowns. This company specializes in one thing and that's ripping dealers off.

    • profile image

      Lucas Manheim Employee. 

      5 years ago

      Manheim is still at the top of auto auctions and currently thriving and still working. i am an employee who has the paid time off, personal days then 401k full insurance and so much more that's hard to find now days but manheim treats there emploees very well. We just now picked up 2 huge accounts in the working with gm financial and maybe honda because they have bseen how great are ford, nissan and toyota financial have done so good.this all comes to how thriving manheim keeps doing were actually growing and have a locations in every state. the man comment on here is completely wrong Manhgeiom is growing even more as we speak. On average we are about a 60 Billion dollar company on average


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