FAQs

Common ShiftGate Questions

ShiftGate is the North American auction site for enthusiast cars and trucks, developed by genuine car lovers to provide a superior experience buying or selling a classic car with low fees. Sellers submit cars, trucks, project vehicles or rare parts through our website, and we select the most interesting. ShiftGate then works with the seller to curate a comprehensive auction listing that will run for seven days.

Every vehicle up for auction is professionally presented, objectively written up with plenty of pictures, and imbued with a transparent bidding process. Sellers work with an auction specialist, and bidders gain confidence and knowledge through our open comments section. Bidders can be sure they are not outbid by bots with an auction clock that extends bidding by two minutes after last-second bids, ensuring everyone gets the opportunity to place their best bid.

Every auction includes a written description of the vehicle, a photo gallery, a summary page with key details, a clear indication of the current bid and time left on the clock, and more. A robust comments thread on each listing allows the ShiftGate community to discuss the vehicle and ask questions. Potential bidders can also contact the seller directly to ask questions, schedule a viewing, or set up a test drive. Each seller has the ability to lower their reserve while the auction is live. All auctions on ShiftGate are exclusive; sellers are required to remove any other for-sale listings. 

To bid or comment on a vehicle, you must first sign up as a registered user. All bids are verified by a credit card hold to ensure the buyer is firmly committed. As soon as you bid, ShiftGate puts a hold on your credit card equal to 5% of your bid (the ShiftGate buyer’s fee). Should you win the auction, this hold will be converted to a charge on your card. If you have been outbid and did not win, the hold on your card will be released when the auction ends.

To participate in ShiftGate, you will need to create a user account. Click the user icon at the top right of the page to sign up. Once you have filled out the required info you will receive an email asking to verify your email address. If you do not see the email check your spam or junk folder. 

Registering for a ShiftGate account allows you to submit a vehicle for auction, comment, watch auctions, view past auctions and manage your personal notification settings. Registering to bid allows you to bid on live auctions and contact a seller privately.

Common Selling Questions

ShiftGate reviews and accepts listings from anywhere in North America.  

ShiftGate accepts both US and Canadian currencies. Fees are exactly the same in both countries, irrespective of the exchange rate. The currency used in the auction is entirely dependent on where the vehicle is located; 

For example, a vehicle for sale in the USA will be listed and bid on in US dollars. A vehicle for sale in Canada will be listed and bid on in CDN dollars. Our handy live currency converter lets you see the listing’s current bid in the currency of your choice.

Regular submissions cost just $99 USD for American based vehicles and $99 CDN for Canadian based vehicles. If you opt to include a professional photographer for your listing, the fees are $349 USD or $349 CDN respective of the vehicle’s title location. These are the only fees a seller would pay.  

Sign in to your account and then submit your vehicle by filling out a short form here. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our auction specialists who will respond typically within 48 hours. If we accept your vehicle for auction, an auction specialist will be assigned to you, and you will be given a link to complete a more detailed submission form. Your auction specialist will assemble your listing based on the information you provide. If you require a photographer (Supercharged listing $349), select the “Photographer required” option.

ShiftGate maintains a roster of qualified photographers from across the country. If you choose our photo service (Supercharged $349), we will assign someone to visit and shoot your vehicle. The photographer will contact you directly to set up a convenient time and place, and they will submit photos of your vehicle to our team.

Yes. We have a comprehensive photography style guide, Click here

High quality photographs are essential for ShiftGate to properly present your listing. With comprehensive and better detailed photos your vehicle will look like a super model which will more likely help lead to a successful sale.

Follow the prompts on the photo upload page, make sure your images are in the correct format and do not exceed 12 MB per photo.

A typical posting will take about 1-2 weeks to reach the live auction stage, depending on how much detail you provide, and whether you need a photographer. The quicker you reply to questions, fill out the forms and approve your listing, the faster the process goes. 

We curate vehicles based on several factors. Classic, Unique, Vintage, Enthusiast and Collector Cars are chosen over common, everyday cars. Condition, history and accuracy of information from the seller influence our decision to accept or not. 

ShiftGate uses professional automotive writers who will be your auction specialist and primary point of contact. Your specialist will prepare the listing from the information you provide (and later approve.) He or she will also monitor your auction and answer any questions you may have.

Live Auction Questions

Auctions only run on regular business days between Monday-Friday and will be live on the site for seven business days.

A “reserve” is the minimum price a seller will accept, thus the minimum a vehicle will sell for. A vehicle that does not reach reserve will not sell, which is why we work with sellers to set a realistic reserve, and why we avoid vehicles with unrealistic reserve expectations. Reserve values are never revealed or announced during the auction. 

Yes. Sellers can lower the reserve on their vehicles at any time during the live auction. Simply sign in and view your live auction listing and click the Change Reserve button. Please be aware that once a reserve is lowered it cannot be increased.

You will have a chance to review and approve your listing before it goes live. Changes after the fact can be misleading or confusing and are therefore not accepted.

 You can, however, correct or add more information, add more photos or video after the fact. To do so contact your assigned auction specialist to facilitate the updates.

No. Once the listing is posted, the vehicle is in a live auction. 

No. Bidding on your own vehicle goes against our policy of being open, transparent and honest to all users. You are also a visible participant in the auction so commenting to answer questions is strongly suggested.

We suggest a bank wire transfer or bank draft for payments (these methods of payment are verified at the issuing bank and will provide you comfort with the transaction).

Responsibility for shipping rests with the buyer, not the seller. The buyer must make all arrangements and pay all shipping costs. Please be aware that a buyer will frequently not be local so the seller may be tasked for help in meeting the buyer’s shipper and to ensure the car is properly ready for transport etc. We have recommended transport & broker vendors which can be viewed on our resources page here.

Unfortunately, cars occasionally do not meet the seller’s reserve price, but we’ve got good news – the ShiftGate Auctions 2nd Gear Program. If your special car passes unsold during the timed auction, you can shift your auction listing into 2nd Gear, and the bid goes on as we take offers on your vehicle for an additional week. It’s all about results and at ShiftGate, we’re committed to helping you sell your car at the right price.

2nd Gear Questions

After the timed auction wraps up and if your vehicle passes unsold, ShiftGate Auctions will immediately send you an email message offering you the opportunity to shift your car into 2nd Gear. It’s your car, and you can certainly say “No,” but why do that when you can click “Yes” and easily shift your car into our 2nd Gear post-sale program. We’ll list your car for another week in the special 2nd Gear area of the ShiftGate website and continue to promote your car online while taking offers on your behalf.

None! Nada. Zip. Zilch. The hard work has already been done to get your car to auction.

ShiftGate Auctions will continue to advertise your car and take post-auction offers on it for One Additional Week.

Preferably as soon as possible, after a discussion with you from a ShiftGate Auctions representative. As with our auctions, a 2nd Gear listing begins on a business day (Monday – Friday) and runs for 7 days.

No. As with ShiftGate auctions, a 2nd Gear offering is exclusive. We do not pull a 2nd Gear listing once it goes live.

Bidding Questions

Once you have created your ShiftGate user account, sign in to your account profile and click on Register to Bid. You will be prompted to enter in your credit card information. 

All bids are verified by a credit card hold to ensure the buyer is firmly committed. As soon as you bid, ShiftGate puts a hold on your credit card equal to 5% of your bid (the ShiftGate buyer’s fee). Should you win the auction, this hold will be converted to a charge on your card. If you have been outbid and did not win, the hold on your card will be released when the auction ends.

To participate on ShiftGate, you will need to create a user account. Click the user icon at the top right of the page to sign up. Once you have filled out the required details, you will receive a message asking to verify your email address. If you don’t see the email, check your spam or junk folder.

We ask that you only contact the seller directly in order to set up an in-person inspection of the vehicle being sold. If you have a specific question about the vehicle, please use the comments section to ask the question of the seller. You may not ask a seller their reserve price or try to make a deal outside of the auction. Doing so will result in your account being banned. To contact the seller you may do so via the Contact Seller button in the Highlights section of the vehicle listing.

Bids are in the local currency of the vehicle’s location/title. The buyer’s fee is also charged in the currency of the vehicle’s location/title. Country flags visually express the location of the car.

Of course! You will be bidding in the vehicle’s listed currency. 

Responsibility for all costs and all shipping details rests solely with the buyer. Sellers on Shiftgate are aware that some buyers will need to have the vehicle shipped at the buyer’s expense and will be able to meet with your shipper, but all arrangements, customs and costs are the responsibility of the buyer. Hundreds of vehicles from the USA and Canada move across the border every day. 

In the bid window of the auction listing, simply type in the amount you choose to bid and click Place Bid. You will be presented with a confirmation box to confirm your bid. An email confirmation will arrive once your bid is placed. Your bid remains the high bid until someone else bids more. If you hold the highest bid and the bid meets reserve at the auction close, you as the highest bidder will win the auction and be responsible for paying the seller for the vehicle. The minimum bid increment over the last highest bid is $100.

Bidders pay a 5% buyer’s fee which is charged to the buyer’s credit card on file at auction close. The buyer’s fee is based on your winning bid. The final transaction is to be worked out between the buyer and the seller. After the auction closes, the buyer and seller will receive each other’s contact information via email. The buyer and seller then work together to complete the transaction and arrange shipping if necessary. The team at ShiftGate is happy to assist during this part of the process.

We suggest a bank wire transfer or bank draft for payments (these methods of payment are verified at the issuing bank and will provide you comfort with the transaction).

All bidders should read the listing carefully, look at every photo and read all the comments for insights into the car. If you’re unsure about anything ask the seller by submitting a comment or you can contact the seller directly.

If the reserve is not met, we will email the seller, encouraging them to work with the highest bidder to potentially reach a deal. The high bidder will not be charged the 5% buyer’s fee.

If you win the auction, ShiftGate charges 5% of your highest bid in the currency where the vehicle is located, with a minimum fee of $250. Buyer’s fees are capped at $5,000 in the currency of the vehicle’s location (5% of a $100,000 bid). 

Bidders can be sure they are not outbid by automated bots with an auction clock that extends bidding when bids are placed in the last two minutes of an auction close. During this time, the auction time clock will add an additional two minutes after every bid. This continues until there are no further bids and the clock runs out to zero. This ensures everyone gets a chance to place their best bid.

No. You will be prompted to confirm your bid after you have entered it. Your confirmation is your intent to purchase at the bid price you placed.

Yes, but you will not know how much the reserve is set at. When a vehicle is offered at no reserve, it is listed in the headline of the vehicle description. 

Vehicles that did not reach the seller’s reserve are given an option to move into 2nd Gear where offers over the last highest bid can be placed. The listing is live in 2nd gear for 7 days.

Yes, simply press the Contact Seller button on the listing page. This allows you to send a message directly to the seller’s email. He or she can then respond in the email you registered with on ShiftGate, however you must be registered to bid in order to do this.

If you win the auction, you will be put in touch with the seller. ShiftGate does not allow non-winners to contact the seller after the auction closes.

Offers Questions (2nd Gear)

After a timed auction wraps up and if a vehicle passes unsold, ShiftGate gives the seller an opportunity to shift their car into 2nd Gear. In 2nd Gear ShiftGate will list the vehicle for another week in the special 2nd Gear section where buyers can place offers over the last highest bid.

Offers are placed in the same way as you would bids. In the offer window of the 2nd Gear listing, simply type in the amount you choose to offer and click ‘Make Offer’. You will be presented with a confirmation box to confirm your offer. An email confirmation will arrive once your offer is placed. Your offer remains the high offer until someone else offers more. If you hold the highest offer at 2nd Gear close a notification is sent to the seller of your offer. They then have 6 hours to either accept or reject your offer.

Accepted offers require to pay a 5% buyer’s fee which is charged to the buyer’s credit card on file at 2nd Gear close. The buyer’s fee is based on your winning offer. The final transaction is to be worked out between the buyer and the seller. After the listing closes, the buyer and seller will receive each other’s contact information via email. The buyer and seller then work together to complete the transaction and arrange shipping if necessary. The team at ShiftGate is happy to assist during this part of the process.

If the seller accepts your offer, ShiftGate charges 5% of your offer in the currency where the vehicle is located, with a minimum fee of $250. Buyer’s fees are capped at $5,000 in the currency of the vehicle’s location (5% of a $100,000 bid).

Buyers can be sure they are not out offered by automated bots with an listing clock that extends offers when offers are placed in the last two minutes of a 2nd Gear close. During this time, the listing time clock will add an additional two minutes after every offer. This continues until there are no further offers and the clock runs out to zero. This ensures everyone gets a chance to place their best offer.

No. You will be prompted to confirm your offer after you have entered it. Your confirmation is your intent to purchase if the seller accepts your offer at the end of 2nd Gear.

ShiftGate Account Questions

ShiftGate accepts all major credit and debit cards.

Sign in to your ShiftGate account, navigate to your account info page and click Update Credit Card.