The auction industry is rapidly growing and changing. Inadequate preparation prior to bidding from new auction participants, as well as the growing epidemic of an “all sales are NOT final” belief system, has caused a shift in the simplicity of post-auction transactions. This leaves auctioneers asking some questions…
- How far should we be required to go to ensure the information provided in auction advertising is both accurate and complete?
- Regardless of the product (real estate, equipment, household, etc.), what is a reasonable amount of information the auctioneer should be expected to provide?
The number of new bidders at auctions is increasing, and with that, so are post-auction purchase complaints. As auctioneers, the idea of purchasing an item at auction without intending to pay for it is not something that would cross our minds. Unfortunately, there appears to be an increase in incidents where winning bidders find a reason to terminate the sale and/or refuse to pay for an item. The most common reason used for backing out is the lack of information provided in the auction marketing material and/or disclosure information.
Live auctions give auctioneers an advantage to clear up any incomplete or inaccurate information the day of the sale. This allows them to clarify key points to buyers prior to the start of the auction. When buyers are present at live auction events versus online auctions, it appears there are fewer incidents of unclosed sales or buyer confusion. As auctioneers, we believe it is more difficult for an auction buyer to NOT complete a transaction when a crowd of bidders is watching them purchase the item, which seems to be true.
Online Auctions have broadened the range of possibilities for auctions – forcing sellers and auctioneers to provide more thorough descriptions, terms & conditions, disclosure information and multiple images. Online bidders views can view the auction information but online auctions also take away the advantage of a live person providing important key factors. Auctioneers have a duty to go the extra mile and properly identify, grade and disclose relevant information about the property or item being offered.
In summary, the auction industry is being challenged by auction consumers to protect our clients and ourselves in the sales process, by gathering and publicizing sufficient accurate information to a non-present audience. We ask that future clients take into account the quality and quantity of information that is needed to provide a successful auction whether it’s for a home, land or personal property.
This post is guest written by Shawn Terrel, executive vice president of United Country Auction Services. Visit www.ucauctionservices.com for more information.