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General Auction FAQ


Frequently asked questions about auctions

An auction is a simple, enjoyable process with incredible opportunity to purchase property at great prices!    If you are new to the auctions, the following information should help you:

What is for sell at auctions? - The merchandise at auctions varies with each sale.  The type of auction is determined by ownership of the property and the conditions under which the property is sold. Auctions can involve total or partial liquidations of business or personal property or consignments.

Consignment Auction - is when more than one party's property is included in the auction and each party is charged for sale or attempted sale.

Liquidation Auction - a total or partial liquidation involves only one party's property in the auction.

Distress Auction - is conducted under the direction or order issued by a proper court of jurisdiction or the sale is conducted for foreclosure purposes.

Is everything sold to the highest bidder? -  In most cases yes.   In an auction with reserve, the auctioneer may withdraw the goods at any time, until he announces completion of the sale.   In an auction without reserve, (absolute auction) after the auctioneer calls for bids on an article or lot, that article or lot cannot be withdrawn, unless no bid is made within a reasonable time.

Can I inspect the items up for bid? - When you are at an auction, you are welcome to browse what is up for bid. In fact, you are encouraged to inspect all merchandise before bidding. On occasion, a time will be set aside just for this purpose before the auction starts called a preview.  Usually, you are buying "AS-IS - WHERE-IS".   This means, the seller & auctioneer make no representation or warranty on the merchandise. You are normally required to register and agree to the Terms and Conditions of the auction, prior to bidding. Make sure you read and understand the Terms and Conditions. If not, ask questions, someone will be glad to help.

The auctioneer confuses me.    What is he saying? - The auctioneer's or bid caller's chant is simply two numbers, the current bid and the bid being asked for, with filler words to keep things going. 

Example: fowty-now-fowtyfibe-now-fibe-wiyagimme-fowtyfibe-now-fifty - the bid is 40 and the asking bid is 45, then 45 was bid and the asking bid is 50. You may notice that sometimes, only the last number is used. The asking bid is 45, but the auctioneer may drop the ‘forty’ & just say ‘five’ as shown in the example. It’s not hard to pick up after listening a little bit. Just listen for the numbers and remember the lower number is the current bid and the higher number is the asking bid.

What if I bid by mistake? - Forget what you have seen on TV and in the movies. The auctioneer is not going to sell you something because you were scratching your cheek or stroking your chin. Unless you have given very specific instructions prior to the auction (which very few ever do), the auctioneer expects people to hold up their bid card, or at least their hand, to signal a bid. If you are mistaken as having placed a bid, don't hesitate to stop the bidding and let the auctioneer know. You may also retract a bid prior to the auctioneer saying "sold".

When does the property become mine? - When the auctioneer says "Sold", the merchandise becomes yours and you are required to pay for all merchandise before leaving the premises. Your purchases are your responsibility from the time the auctioneer says ‘sold’ and are your responsibility to move.  Do not confuse the time to have your merchandise removed from the premises as the time you have to pay.  Any items you purchase must be paid for before leaving the premises for any reason.

What's a buyer's premium? - A "Buyer's Premium" may be added to the purchase, becoming part of the purchase price. Then, sales tax will be collected on this amount. Example: You bid $100 and there is a 10% buyer’s premium. Add $10 for the buyers premium and then the appropriate sales tax is collected on this amount ($110 + sales tax = amount you owe).

Who can I ask for assistance? - The bid assistants or "ringmen" on the floor are there to help you.  If you have any questions concerning the bidding process, please ask one of them. They want you to understand the auction!!

The price is too high, is someone running the price up? - An auction sale is a public sale to the highest bidder. Its object is to achieve a fair price for the property auctioned by means of competitive bidding.    Puffers, Shills or by-bidders are persons who are employed by the seller to increase the price, by means of fictitious bids, for the sole purpose of inflating the price of the property; without any intention to purchase, and protected by a secret agreement with the seller, that he shall not be liable for his bids. This is not only unethical, it is also illegal.  (The opposite is bid rigging.)

I have things I would like to sell at auction.   What do I do? - If you have merchandise you would like to sell at auction, contact us!    We conduct many different types of auctions and will be able to help you pick the best type for you.   Whether you have a few items or a warehouse full, we can help, just give us a call or send us an email. 

For more help in understanding auctions, please see our glossary of auction terms.