If you want to sell your used vehicle, you may be debating between two or more online vehicle selling platforms. Here are the pros and cons of Bring a Trailer and PrivateAuto to help you decide on the best option for you.

Article Jumplinks

Bring a Trailer review

PrivateAuto review

Which platform has better pricing?

Which platform has better advertising features?

Which platform removes friction from transactions best?

Which platform offers better payment options?

Which platform delivers the best user experience?

What is the best platform for selling a used car?

What Is Bring a Trailer?

Bring a Trailer is a vehicle auction website, similar to RM Sotheby’s, Avantgarde Collection, and Mecum Auction. It specializes in the sale of classic cars, collector cars, hot rods, and custom vehicles (such as Factory Five cars). A Bring a Trailer auction typically lasts for 7 days.

What Is PrivateAuto?

PrivateAuto is an end-to-end platform for individuals to buy and sell vehicles of all types. The PrivateAuto app includes vehicle listings, an integrated payment gateway, vehicle financing, in-app messaging, a scheduling feature for arranging test drives, and e-signing of documentation.

Bring a Trailer vs PrivateAuto - Sell your car

PrivateAuto vs Bring a Trailer

PrivateAuto and Bring a Trailer have very different features and business models. Bring a Trailer is an auction website, while PrivateAuto is a technology platform that includes used car listings, instantaneous payments, and other integrated features.

Bring a Trailer Review

Bring a Trailer has an intuitive website that’s simple enough to navigate. Their seller fees are fairly reasonable, while their buyer fees are on the higher end. While they offer helpful services, such as having professional photos of your vehicle taken, these come at an additional cost.

Bring a Trailer’s biggest issue is their lack of payment and transaction infrastructure. Buyers and sellers are left to navigate transactional logistics, including transfer of funds, on their own.

Bring a Trailer Pros

  • Easy-to-use website
  • Vehicle advertising available
  • Vehicle history report available
  • Reasonable seller fees
  • Bidding on classic cars and collector cars
  • Good inventory of classic and collector vehicles

Bring a Trailer Cons

  • High buyer fees
  • No mobile app
  • No live chat
  • No payment support
  • No transaction support
  • No way to verify buyers and sellers
  • No in-app buyer financing

PrivateAuto Review

PrivateAuto is a vehicle marketplace combined with an integrated banking and payment gateway. The PrivateAuto app has built-in messaging and scheduling so buyer and seller can arrange to meet.

The main issue with PrivateAuto is how quickly certain vehicles sell. PrivateAuto works on a first-come, first-serve basis, so buyers may miss a great vehicle if they don’t check new listings every day.

PrivateAuto Pros

  • Low seller fees
  • No buyer fee
  • Vehicle advertising available
  • Vehicle history reports available
  • In-app messaging and test drive scheduling
  • Intuitive mobile app and website
  • Buyer and seller verification
  • Integrated banking system
  • Instantaneous payments of any amount, 24/7/365
  • In-app financing

PrivateAuto Cons

  • Lower inventory of collector and classic cars (as of 2022)
  • Less well-known, smaller user base (as of 2022)

PrivateAuto vs Bring a Trailer: Pricing

Both PrivateAuto and Bring a Trailer have seller fees, which sellers pay when creating a vehicle listing. However, PrivateAuto doesn’t take a cut from the buyers, while Bring a Trailer charges a buyer transaction fee.

PrivateAuto Fees

PrivateAuto fees are among the lowest in the online car selling market. The seller pays a $150 listing fee with no additional costs thereafter. The buyer is responsible for paying for the vehicle only and has no transaction-related costs.

Bring a Trailer Fees

Bring a Trailer has fees for both buyer and seller. The seller pays a listing fee of $99 ($349 if you want professional photos of your vehicle taken by them). In addition to paying for the actual vehicle, the buyer has to pay a 5% transaction fee to Bring a Trailer, with the minimum amount being $250, and the maximum being $5000.

PrivateAuto vs Bring a Trailer: Advertising

PrivateAuto and Bring a Trailer both offer vehicle advertising, with a detailed car history report on their websites. However, PrivateAuto offers an array of useful features Bring a Trailer lacks. For instance, PrivateAuto offers a window brochure with QR codes and an easy-to-use live chat that helps you communicate with the seller/buyer.

PrivateAuto vs Bring a Trailer: Transaction Features

One of the main issues with Bring a Trailer is their lack of transaction functionality. They are a pure auction and listing service, devoid of additional features that could remove friction from the transaction process for both the buyer and the seller.

PrivateAuto, in contrast, includes seller and buyer verification, integrated banking, and integrated chat and scheduling. Buyers and sellers can schedule test drives, do a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire transaction process, and sign the bill of sale–all through the PrivateAuto app.

PrivateAuto vs Bring a Trailer: Payments

Bring a Trailer does not facilitate payment from the vehicle buyer to the seller. They merely connect the two parties to one another and leave them to navigate payment options on their own.

PrivateAuto allows for instantaneous payments of any amount, 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Its integrated banking system, PrivateAuto Pay, functions as an internal bank transfer when funds move from the buyer to the seller. PrivateAuto also allows buyers to pay with a card (credit or debit), crypto, or cash. Buyers can also split the vehicle payment across multiple channels, and even apply for financing within the PrivateAuto app.

PrivateAuto vs Bring a Trailer: User Experience

Having an easy-to-use platform is crucial for online used car selling companies. PrivateAuto and Bring a Trailer both have websites. PrivateAuto has a mobile application, while Bring a Trailer does not.

PrivateAuto Website

PrivateAuto has an easy-to-navigate website. Vehicle listings are easy to navigate, whether you’re looking for a particular model or want to browse by geographical proximity. Creating a car listing is likewise intuitive, with a step-by-step guide helping you through the process.

Bring a Trailer Website

The Bring a Trailer website is easy to use, for the most part. The process of listing your vehicle is quite simple. For the potential buyer, Bring a Trailer’s search and browsing features could be improved upon; finding particular vehicles can be time-consuming. Users can add vehicles to a watchlist, which can be helpful.

PrivateAuto App

PrivateAuto offers an app that’s available on both iOS and Android. You can list your car for sale, look through available vehicles, contact sellers, and pay for your vehicle, all from your phone.

Bring a Trailer App

Bring a Trailer does not have an app, so all aspects of the vehicle buying and selling process has to be done through their website.

Choosing the Best Online Car Selling Platform

The verdict on Bring a Trailer vs PrivateAuto?


If you want to sell a used vehicle, PrivateAuto offers more functionality, safety, and ease of use. With secure, instantaneous payments, secure messaging (with no exchange of contact info), and buyer verification, sellers have far more flexibility and safety than on Bring a Trailer.


For those looking to buy a used car, PrivateAuto offers far better value with no buyer transaction fees.

Bring a Trailer has more inventory in the classic and collector cars categories, while PrivateAuto has more inventory for later-model vehicles.

PrivateAuto offers a better buying experience than Bring a Trailer, with in-app messaging, integrated payments, and financing options.

Bring a Trailer vs PrivateAuto FAQ

How much does Bring a Trailer cost?

As a seller, a Bring a Trailer listing will cost you anywhere from $99 to $349, depending on how long you want the listing to be up for. Buyers also have to pay a hefty fee: 5% of the price, up to $5000.

Is Bring a Trailer worth it?

Bring a Trailer auctions have long been renowned as one of the best ways to sell a classic car or collector vehicle online. Nowadays, there are better, quicker ways to sell a car online, whether you’re selling a newer model, a classic car, or a unique custom vehicle. For example, selling (and buying) a vehicle through PrivateAuto is much more simple, intuitive, and quick.

How much does PrivateAuto cost?

If you want to buy a vehicle through PrivateAuto, you can do so with no transaction fees. As a seller, you pay $150 for your listing. This price includes all premium features PrivateAuto offers.

How secure is the PrivateAuto Pay feature?

Private car sales require handling a large amount of money or processing a large check. Cash can be stolen, and checks can be falsified. Integrated banking offers a better alternative.

The PrivateAuto Pay feature is a direct banking integration that ensures safe and instantaneous payments and money transfers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Payment information is hidden from the seller, so buyers don’t need to be concerned about bank information theft. Plus, the seller will receive the payment quickly and safely, without having to go to the bank or process a check.

Can you cancel a bid on Bring a Trailer?

No, you cannot cancel a bid on Bring a Trailer. This company functions similarly to auction houses, in that you have to be ready to pay the amount you bid. So long as your bid remains the highest, you will win the auction. Backing out of a purchase can get you banned from Bring a Trailer for life.

Can you pay with a credit card on Bring a Trailer?

Bring a Trailer does not facilitate credit card payments (nor any other type of payment) between buyer and seller. Unlike PrivateAuto, Bring a Trailer doesn’t provide any sort of payment gateway; the seller will need to provide payment information to the buyer and the two will need to negotiate the transaction outside of the Bring a Trailer website.

How does PrivateAuto vet buyers and sellers?

In order to provide a safe experience for the buyer and the seller, PrivateAuto vets and verifies both using the latest facial recognition technology.

Verified buyers must provide an email address, driver’s license information, and phone number. This information is only used to verify the buyer’s identity and is hidden from other buyers and sellers.

Similarly, sellers must enter their vehicle’s VIN and create a PrivateAuto profile before they put up a listing. A vehicle’s VIN is critical to determine the ownership of the car and ensure that the title is clean.

How does the PrivateAuto loan process work?

The PrivateAuto loan and financing process is quite simple for both the buyer and the seller.

Buyers don’t have to pay the full asking price directly from their bank account. Instead, they can apply for financing through our convenient mobile app.

The buyer in need of financing is connected to a trusted partner bank to discuss their financing options. When the buyer is approved, the seller receives a direct transfer for the total amount, while the buyer makes payments according to the lender terms they have agreed upon when receiving a vehicle loan.

Are there reserves on Bring a Trailer?

Yes, there are reserves on Bring a Trailer. A reserve is the minimum price the vehicle will sell for. Sellers set their own reserves, so you may run across a vehicle with an unreasonably high starting price when buying a car through Bring a Trailer.

What is the best website for buying and selling cars privately?

The best website for buying and selling cars privately is PrivateAuto. Not only can you quickly and securely sell or buy a car in any US state, you can do so from the comfort of your phone, through our app. Some of the popular vehicle models (both made in the US and imported to the United States from abroad) sell through PrivateAuto include:

  • BMW M3
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe 6-Speed
  • Mercedes-Benz G550
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS
  • Ford GT
  • Dodge Viper GTS
  • Ford Mustang Boss
  • Chevrolet K5 Blazer
  • Buick Riviera

Is it better to buy a used car online or at a used car market?

It’s faster and safer to buy a used vehicle online than at an in-person used car market. Whether you’re into collecting cars, want to buy an inexpensive used car, or are looking for previously-owned electric vehicles, you’re more likely to find a car that fits your needs online. But, make sure you’re shopping from a safe and reputable website, such as PrivateAuto.

Will PrivateAuto sell my personal information?

No, PrivateAuto does not sell your personal information. We pride ourselves in our ability to ensure safe and secure transactions, and only use your information to make the process of selling or buying your car frictionless.

How long does a BaT auction last?

Bring a Trailer auctions usually last for 7 days.