A Great Deal, Or Is It?

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

Honda's for $500, boats for a fraction of their value, computers, jewelry and pagers for just dollars. You've seen the ads. But, are they too good to be true?

"People need to step back and say is this logical," said Julie Wheeler of the Better Business Bureau, "does it make sense that I can get this kind of deal. What do I have to do?"

The deals come from the State Police Headquarters in Richmond. You can find cars, computers and merchandise all for sale. Some were seized from drug dealers. Others are retired police cars. But as for $500 Hondas, police say you shouldn't get your hopes up.

"The reality is it's hard to buy a $30,000 Honda, Lexus or something along that line for $500," said Wayne Cosner of the Virginia State Police in Richmond. "Let's just be real, it just doesn't work that way."

Cosner says there are deals to be had. Some well used cars do go for as little as $500. Cars in better shape often go for $2,500 to $5,000.

The cars, jewelry and other merchandise are sold at monthly State Police auctions. For less then $9 a month, companies like the Bargain Network will let you know when those auctions take place.

"We have to work hard to convince the subscriber that they are getting good information," said Chris Hunter of the Bargain Network, Inc., "that it is worth what they pay us monthly."

But, Wheeler says that's information you can find for free. That's because police advertise their auctions in newspapers around the state.

"When it comes right down to it," said Wheeler, "It’s buyer beware. It's up to us to be a reasonable consumer and do our homework."


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