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This is my second “aberrant auction law” find, and numbered as such. When I find more, I’ll attempt to number sequentially, although I hope my searching is generally unsuccessful.

Aberrant auction law refers to auctioneer licensing law (or other auction related law) that is abnormal, odd, bizarre, or otherwise unusual. The basis for determining if an auction law is aberrant is all the other auction law that is out there, which collectively is widely considered normal.

First, let me say that Indiana auction law often serves as a model for other states. I for one admire Indiana for well constructed, clear, concise, and not overly-regulating auction law. However, there is this one statute which seems aberrant:

Indiana Code (IC) has 25-6.1 which is state law regulating auctions and auctioneers. Under that is section 6 (thus IC 25-6.1-6) and here we find section 4 (thus IC 25-6.1-6-4):

Written contracts
Written Contracts. Except with respect to goods sold through an auction house, no licensee shall sell goods or real estate at auction until the auctioneer or auction company involved has first entered into a written contract with the owner or consignor of such.

Why does this seem odd?

Most all states either mandate auction contracts in almost all situations, or not at all.

In fact, this law suggests that a contract is necessary for an auction such as an on-site affair where the seller essentially maintains possession of personal property until the auction, but no contract is needed when a seller relinquishes their property to the auctioneer’s control at his auction house.

If a state was to start from scratch, and write auction law, it would seem contract requirements, if not to apply to all situations, would apply opposite of these? Or, why exempt based upon if the items are consigned to an auction house versus not?

Of course, it is always prudent for licensees and the public to enter into written contracts. Just imagine the ease of a client remembering the commission was 1% when the auctioneer (auction house) remembers the commission at 31% … how are those issues settled without a written contract? Not easily, for sure.

We find Indiana Code Section 25-6.1-6-4 aberrant.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.face book.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.