8 Things First Time Bidders Should Know

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Auctions are exciting and fast paced and their rules are a little different to an ordinary purchase. So it's important to make sure you understand the basics before you try bidding for the first time. These 8 tips will get you on your way.

Do Auctioneers Have An Obligation to Disclose?

Auctioneers are obliged to inform customers of all necessary info and give customers the opportunity to view the goods. Auctioneers can be held liable for misrepresentation if information supplied is seen to be incorrect.

How And What Are Auctioneers Paid?

Commission: Auctioneers charge the seller a commission, which is typically a percentage of the gross sales. 

Buyer’s Premium: A percentage of the hammer prices is added to the buyers invoice which is then kept by the auctioneer as an additional income.

Marketing Costs / Expenses: Usually paid for by the seller. The auctioneer will manage this (advertising / set up / travel etc)

Can Auctioneers Refuse Cash?

Many auctioneers refuse cash due to safety and security issues of having cash on ones premises. This is determined by each auction company independently. However, all auctioneers will offer a variety of options for deposit payments from credit cards, to EFT and cash deposits into their bank account. This is also a security measure for the bidder as then you have 3rd party proof of your deposit. Should you not buy anything at the auction, your deposit will be returned to you according to the timelines laid out in the terms and conditions. If you have successfully bought something at the auction, your deposit is first deducted from his amount and then you are invoiced for the outstanding balance or refunded should the purchase be less than the item, charges and VAT.

Can Bidders Be Held To Terms and Conditions That They Didn’t Read?

Short answer yes. If you accept terms and conditions whether online or on paper, the bidder is bound by those terms (as long as they don’t infringe on consumer protection rights). So read them carefully and know your rights.

Are “Anonymous” Buyers Real Buyers? 

With online auctions becoming more prevalent – often on the fall of the hammer bidders are identified as a number and not a name. The problem is the lack of transparency of anonymous buyers and the worry that the lot did not sell and the auctioneer to keep his reputations faked the sale. 

The auctioneer can bid on behalf of the seller up until the reserve price. You can always ask to see the vendor roll after the auction. However, keep in mind that often the auctioneers rely on the anonymity of bidding online to protect bidder who may be threatened by an auction “ring” (these are buyers who make an illegal agreement not to compete against one another to buy things, in order to keep the price low. They then sell what they have bought at a higher price and share the profits. They often intimidate other auction buyers into not bidding)

Can An Online Bid Be Ignored?

In live webcast auctions the floor or room bid is defaulted as the first bid. This is usually because the interaction between the auctioneer and the room of bidders is at a pace faster than an online bidder pressing bid. However auctioneers with experience in taking room and online bids always allow a few extra seconds (generally when the room bids have started slowing down) when closing a lot to for online bidders to get their bids in. It is important for online bidders to bid quickly to show their interest in the lot and allow for the auctioneer to know that they are there.

Can Auctioneers Restart A Bidding Lot?

Yes, if the auctioneer makes a mistake or gets confused with who is holding the highest bid or in online auctions if there is a technical glitch. The auctioneer always has final say and runs the auction as he sees fit.

  1. What is an Absentee bid?

An absentee bid is a maximum amount the bidder is prepared to bid to, should the bidder not be able to actively participate in the auction. In a live bidding situation, the bidder will leave this amount with the auctioneer who will bid on behalf of the bidder or “by proxy”. In an online auction, whether timed or live webcast, bidders can set a maximum bid on their profile and the system will bid on their behalf.

The Online Auctions Team

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