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We recently wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of the seller being present for the auction: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/should-the-seller-be-at-the-auction/

Today, we explore if the seller can be required or prohibited from attending the auction?

Let’s assume that Francis has hired an auctioneer named Howard to sell her property — inclusive of her antiques and collectibles, and her three-bedroom home on Lilac Street in Napes, Florida.

Here’s a few relevant questions in regard to our topic:

  • Is Francis allowed to attend this auction if she wants to?
  • Is Francis allowed to go elsewhere that day, and not attend the auction?
  • If Francis wants to attend the auction, can Howard prohibit her from attending?
  • If Francis wants to go elsewhere that day, can Howard require her to attend the auction?

Let’s take these one at a time:

    Is Francis allowed to attend this auction if she wants to?

      She is allowed to attend, unless she has agreed by contract with Howard to not attend, or is prohibited by court-order.
    Is Francis allowed to go elsewhere that day, and not attend the auction?

      She is allowed to go elsewhere that day, unless she has agreed by contract with Howard that she will attend, or is required by court-order.
    If Francis wants to attend the auction, can Howard prohibit her from attending?

      Strictly, Howard cannot prohibit Francis from attending, but he can make it a term of the contract between himself and Francis. In other words, “If I’m doing your auction, then you agree not to be present.”
    If Francis wants to go elsewhere that day, can Howard require her to attend the auction?

      Strictly, Howard cannot require Francis to attend, but he can make it a term of the contract between himself and Francis. In other words, “If I’m doing your auction, then you agree to be present.”

This seems simple enough. Yet, I have heard sellers over the years tell me:

  • The auctioneer said I wasn’t allowed to attend my auction.

  • The auctioneer said I was required to attend my auction.

Both of these statements suggest that the auctioneer was unilaterally dictating his client’s actions — and I would suggest this isn’t included in his authority.

Rather, in a client-auctioneer (Francis-Howard) relationship, Howard is required to follow Francis’ legal directions, and not the other way around.

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.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is adjunct faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.