San Francisco – Auction Terms

San Francisco – Auction Terms

CCSF Impound Online Vehicle Auctions Policies and Social Distancing Protocols in Response to COVID-19 Emergency

Unclaimed vehicles that are towed and stored by the City and County of San Francisco or San Francisco Police Department will be sold at public auction online. In-person auctions are temporarily suspended during the shelter in place order issued by the County Health Officer. The policies and protocols below are in effect during this time to prevent and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Online vehicle auctions:

  • Online vehicle auctions are open to the general public
  • Participation is free
  • All participants will receive an equal opportunity to bid on available vehicles


  • Auctions are not being conducted in person due to COVID-19
  • Auctions are held online only at
  • Participants must register online prior to the start of the auction
  • Virtual auctions are streamed from
    • City and County of San Francisco Impound (closed to public gatherings)
    • 2650 Bayshore Blvd
    • Daly City, CA 94014
  • Do not visit the facility


  • Auctions are conducted by the City and County of San Francisco’s authorized towing contractor, AutoReturn via JoyrideAutos

Deposit of 15% collected at time of winning bid

  • Bidders are required to add a valid payment card (credit of debit) for their user account profile
  • The system only allow bidding by bidders with a payment card in their user account
  • At the time of the winning bid, a non-refundable deposit in the amount of 15% (of the sale prices plus auction service fees) will be charge to the payment card in the winning bidder’s user account profile

Vehicle payment and pick up

  • AutoReturn will provide an appointment date and time for you to go to the impound facility to pay for and pick up vehicle
  • You must pay for vehicle in full (excluding the 15% deposit collected at time of the winning bid) at the time of your appointment
    • You must bring with you and present to AutoReturn a valid driver’s license
    • Cash and most major credit credit/debit cards accepted
    • Vehicles not paid for in full may be sold at the next auction
  • If vehicle appraises for less than $4,000 (L3 vehicles), you must pick up and remove vehicle from the impound facility immediately upon full payment
  • If vehicle appraises for $4,000 or more, state law requires that vehicle remain at the impound facility for 10 days after the auction sale date
    • AutoReturn will provide you a follow-up appointment date and time to return to the impound facility to pick up your vehicle
  • If you fail to show up for an appointment or fail to pay for or pick up your vehicle at the time of your appointment, you may barred from participating in future auctions
  • Vehicles that remain unclaimed after their pick-up date may accrue storage fees and may be sold at the next auction
  • Vehicles may be removed from the impound facility only by a licensed driver or tow truck operator

Social distancing protocol for impound facility

  • Appointments to pay for and pick up vehicles will be spread out to limit the number of people picking up their vehicle at any given time
  • If you are early for your appointment, you will be asked to leave and return at the time of your scheduled appointment
  • If you are late for your appointment, you will be asked to leave and request a new appointment
  • Do not come to your appointment if you have a cough or fever – contact AutoReturn
  • You must wear a face covering at all times while you wait to enter and while inside the impound facility – a “face covering” means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face
  • While waiting to enter and while inside the impound facility you must keep a minimum six-foot distance from other people
  • You must wear gloves at all time while inside the impound facility – AutoReturn will provide
  • Sneeze and cough into a cloth or tissue or, if not available, into your elbow
  • Do not shake hands or engage in unnecessary physical contact
  • No purses, backpacks, bags, cameras, or pets are allowed inside the impound facility
  • No food or drink allowed in the impound facility
  • All persons must pass through metal detection and security screening before entering the impound facility

Buyer acknowledgments

  • Buyer acknowledges all vehicles are sold “as is” and all sales are final; no refunds or exchanges
  • Buyer acknowledges no express or implied warranties exist on the vehicle’s condition
  • Buyer acknowledges receipt of all documents as required by California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Buyer acknowledges they must register the purchased vehicle with the DMV and pay ALL registration fees, including current and delinquent fees.
  • Buyer acknowledges that the removal of an unregistered vehicle without a tow truck, dealer plate, or moving permit is unlawful and subject to legal penalties
  • Sales are subject to auction fee per fee schedule

Auction Fee Schedule

Auction Fee Schedule
Sale price Fee
Auction Fee $0 – $249.99 $45.00
$250 – $499.99 $75.00
$500 – $999.99 $150.00
$1,000 – $1,499.99 $250.00
$1,500 – $1,999.99 $350.00
$2,000 – $2,499.99 $450.00
$2,500 – $4,999.99 $750.00
$5,000 and above $1,000.00

Prohibited persons

  • No guests; only the winning bidder may enter the impound facility
  • Persons under 18 years of age are not allowed to purchase a vehicle
  • Owners and family members of any vehicle for sale are not allowed to participate and are not allowed on the premises
  • Immediate family members of any AutoReturn employee or contractor hired by AutoReturn are not allowed to bid on any vehicle

City and County of San Francisco auctions are advertised in the following publications:

  • San Francisco Examiner
  • San Francisco Daily Journal