US Treasury Department Seized General Property Auctions

Below are common questions and answers about buying at CWSAMS’ Seized General Property Online and Live Auctions. Seized General Property is all personal property (Cars, Boats, Aircraft, Jewelry…) that has been seized by the federal government due to criminal activity.  If you have additional questions, please see the Terms of Sale for the specific auction you are interested in, or email us at service@cwsmarketing.com.  In addition to reading the Terms of Sale, to be best prepared to participate in an auction, attend the scheduled public preview or visit the specific auction page on www.cwsmarketing.com.

Online Auctions

  1. If you are a new bidder, please create an account and validate with credit card information (only required once).*
  2. Visit auctions.cwsmarketing.com and click on “Register to Bid” next to auction you are interested.
  3. To complete your registration you must submit a Government Issued Photo ID. Registration for the auction will be accepted up until 5pm the day prior to auction closing. Please submit the Photo ID Form to be approved to bid.

*Note: Credit cards are required during registration to verify your identity only. The credit card will be charged $1.00 for this process. This is an authorization only and the amount is released after verification. Bidders will need to accept the Terms & Conditions in order to establish an account.

Go to Forgot Password and enter your email address. An email will be sent to you to reset your password.

Yes, anyone can view the bidding online when the auction is active. Go to the auction you are interested in and click on View Lots.

Yes, public previews are scheduled on specific dates and times prior to the sale date to allow prospective bidders opportunity to preview/inspect the property. Check the preview schedule for the auction you are interested in.

Auctions are subject to our terms and conditions. These cover matters like payment, removal, and other contract terms. Please see the sale you are interested in for specific terms.

Buyer’s premiums are not charged at the US Treasury Real Property, General Property and US Customs auctions.   Buyer’s premiums are sometimes charged at other sales.  Please see the Terms of Sale for each auction for Buyer’s Premium information.

Please see the auction details for the sale you are interested in for bid deposit requirements.

All bids placed are Max Bids. The system will enter the next bid increment and enter your bid as a maximum bid.
Example: current bid: $5000, bid increment: $500, bidder enters $10000
– system enters $5500 (Max $10000)

  1. Make sure you are logged in
  2. Go to auction lot and click on the “star” icon, which turns red.  Click on “Watched Lots” to view your watched lots.

Mobile Device

– Tap on the “three dot” icon, which will open a menu
– Tap on “Watch Lot”
– There will now be a star next to the lot number of the lot you are watching

If a bidder is logged into the bidding page, a message will display on screen OUTBID. If you are logged out of the system, you will receive an email with the subject “You were outbid”. Within the email is a link to place another bid. If you have downloaded the CWS Auctions App on your phone, you will also receive a text alert when you’ve been outbid.

If a lot receives a bid within the last 3 min. it will remain open for an additional 3 min.

– If any further bidding occurs, the extension timer will reset to 3 min.
– If no further bidding activity occurs, the lot closes when the timer runs out.

Bidders are urged and cautioned not to wait until the final seconds of the auction to place bids. Bids not recognized by the auction software when the time expires will not be accepted.

Make sure you are logged in.  Go to My Profile (click on your name which appears in the top navigation menu).  You may edit your registration information.

When the auction closes, each lot will display either SOLD or ENDED.

SOLD indicates the reserve (if there is a reserve) was met, a payment email will be sent to the high bidder.

ENDED indicates the reserve was not met. In this case, CWSAMS will ask the seller if they will accept the high bid. If the seller accepts the high bid, an email notice confirming the approval will be sent to the high bidder, along with payment instructions.

You will receive an email with payment instructions after the auction closes.

We accept cashier’s checks (payable to CWS Marketing Group, Inc.) and bank wire transfers. U.S. funds only. Personal or business checks, bank letters, credit or debit cards, or letters of credit are not accepted.

Once funds are received, title work and sale documents will be executed utilizing the buyer’s registration information and sent to the buyer via a DocuSign email to have all copies signed. The buyer has 24 hours to return all documents to CWS via email. Any delay in returning documentation will result in a delay in the buyer being able to pick-up property and original title documents being sent to buyer.

YES!  You will receive a clear title with no liens. Title will be conveyed via the below documents and will take up to 7-10 days from CWS’ receipt of Buyers signed paperwork for vehicle sales, and up to 21 days for vessel and aircraft sales to be sent to Buyer.

  • Vehicle Title: Buyers will receive a clear title via a government Form SF-97 (Certificate to Obtain Title) which they will take to their local Dept. of Motor Vehicles to obtain the title to the vehicle.
  • Vessel Bill of Sale: Buyers will receive a clear title via a Coast Guard Bill of Sale for vessels and a SF-97 for boat trailers (if included).
  • Aircraft Bill of Sale: Buyers will receive clear title via a FAA Bill of Sale, AC Form 8050-2. Buyer will be provided the Bill of Sale along with the Court Order and/or Declaration of Forfeiture (when applicable).

Please note, license plates or temporary tags will not be issued. It is the responsibility of the buyer to secure those or to get a transporter to pick up the vehicle. If this can’t be done, the buyer will need to arrange further storage, at buyer’s expense, with the vendor until he receives his SF-97 and titles the vehicle.

Removal must be completed on or before the 7th business day from the sale closing date (for Domestic property/merchandise), and the 60th calendar day from the date of sale (for Export Only property/merchandise). Removal is by appointment only and should be made by the Buyer with the storage vendor only after Buyer has received the Property Release.  The Property Release will be emailed after the buyer had made payment in full and signed the electronic sale package documents.

Export only vehicles and property/merchandise will only be released to a bonded courier with a completed 7512 Form which shows details of the export (port, shipping info, destination, etc). The vehicle or property/merchandise will go directly from the storage vendor to the port, no exceptions.  Please see the Export Only paragraph in the specific auction’s Terms of Sale.

Buyers of aircraft typically apply for and obtain a one-time ferry permit from the FAA to move an aircraft that isn’t current.

Buyers are responsible for the payment of any and all applicable taxes imposed by any state, country, county, or political subdivision.  Buyers may be required to pay such taxes to the cashier at time of sale or to tax officials after purchase is made.

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Live Auctions

You must fill out a bidder registration form and present it at the sale facility with a Government-issued photo ID. You will then receive a bidder number and sale catalog and be able to participate in the auction.

Once purchases reach $10,000, an immediate deposit of $10,000 is required. Auction purchases of $10,000 or less require payment in full on the day of sale. Purchases of more than $10,000 require a $10,000 deposit on day of sale with final payment within the next two business days by 4:00 PM local time.

We accept cash, cashier’s checks (payable to U.S. Treasury/URS Federal Services Inc.), and the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Debit cards, personal or business checks, certified checks, bank letters, or letters of credit are not accepted.

Yes, Public previews are scheduled on specific dates and times prior to the sale date to allow prospective bidders opportunity to preview/inspect the property. Check the preview schedule for the auction you are interested in.

Export Only property is merchandise that is deemed by the U.S. Government to not be sellable for use within the United States, and is therefore sold for “export only”.  Without exception, “export only” property must exit the country and cannot be registered, used, or sold again in the United States. Buyers unfamiliar with the export process are cautioned against bidding on “export only” property until they have familiarized themselves with the export process.

Buyers are strongly encouraged to investigate export options prior to purchasing “export only” property. It is recommended that purchasers engage the services of a Customs broker or bonded carrier if they are unfamiliar with export requirements. CWSAMS is not authorized to, and cannot provide assistance with the export process.  Buyers are responsible for complying with all applicable Federal licensing and permit regulations prior to exportation. CWSAMS does not warrant the availability of such licensor permits, or provides a list of the requirements that must be met. The failure of the Buyer to obtain necessary licensing will not result in the return of any monies tendered for the goods.

Tips for new importers and exporters can be found on the CBP website at http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importer-exporter-tips

Detailed export information can be found on the CBP website at http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export

Broker information may also be found at http://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports
Click on the state and the appropriate Port. After the Port location and contact information, you may find a link for “Brokers” if one is available for that port.   All forms required for exportation may be obtained at a nominal cost from the local CBP office.

Export Only property must be physically removed from the United States within 60 days of the date of sale.

Export only vehicles will only be released to a bonded courier with a completed 7512 Form which shows details of the export (port, shipping info, destination, etc). Vehicle will go directly from the storage vendor to the port, no exceptions.

A minimum bid, sometimes called a reserve, is the minimum amount the Government will accept to sell a particular item.  If the minimum/reserve amount is not met, the property will not be sold and the auctioneer will announce, “Reserve not met.” The government may lower the reserve after the bidding is completed. In that case, the high bidder will be notified.

A back-up bidder is the second highest bidder on a lot that achieved a bid of $5,000 or higher. If the winning bidder is unable to pay for their lot, the back-up bidder may purchase the lot at the back-up bid price. The back-up bidder will be notified if the high bidder defaults.

Auction purchases of $10,000 or less require payment in full on the day of sale. Once purchases reach $10,000, an immediate deposit of $10,000 is required. Purchases of more than $10,000 require a $10,000 deposit on day of sale with final payment within the next two business days by 4:00 PM local time. There are no extensions for final payment.

We accept cash, cashier’s checks (payable to U.S. Treasury/URS Federal Services Inc.), and the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Debit cards, personal or business checks, certified checks, bank letters, or letters of credit are not accepted. Bank wire may be used for final payment only.

Only the registered individual can make payment for property. If you are bidding as a business, please indicate that at registration.

Lots offered for sale by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) are noted in the catalog. The IRS-CI reviews all successful bidders on IRS-CI lots which may take up to three business daysThis does not change the requirements for final payment. Please call ahead before pickup to ensure that IRS-CI has approved your purchase.

Domestic property must be removed within 7 calendar days of the sale. Export only property must be removed within 60 calendar days of the sale. There are no extensions for removal.

Approved lots can be removed the day of sale.  This includes non IRS-CI lots that meet the reserve amount and do not require special assistance to remove. Bidders of all IRS-CI lots that meet reserve must be approved before the property will be released on the day of sale.   This can take up to 72 hours to approve buyers.

Once your items are paid for, present the auction invoice and release documents to the storage vendor. Removal of property located at commercial vendors is by appointment only.

Yes, you can. If you opt to send a third party to pick up your purchases, you must prepare and sign an authorization letter identifying the agent on your behalf.  The letter must also include a copy of your driver’s license or passport. A Release Authorization template can be found in your auction’s Terms of Sale under the Removal paragraph.  The agent must present photo identification to validate your option to initiation of any action. In addition, they must present an original or copy of your fully paid invoice and property release documents in order for the storage vendor to release your purchases.

No.  It is the buyer’s responsibility to have property shipped.  The Buyer may send an agent/shipping company to pick up the property on their behalf.  The agent would need to have a copy of your sale receipt and your photo ID, as well as a signed Authorization to have the property released to them.  Some buyers use the UPS Store or other shipping companies for pickup.  For your convenience, listed are some Local Shippers near the major sale centers.  Please see the Terms of Sale for your specific auction for details.

Bid results are posted on the Treasury website four weeks after the sale.

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