King Augeo reigned over the 1000’s of acres of his kingdom where all commerce by law was conducted by auction.
The King’s Court of six auctioneers (Abus, Betus, Cadus, Dithus, Earnus & Furus) were charged each day with governing over the various auctions occurring throughout the region.
Auctions in the kingdom were known far and wide as fair and equitable. For instance, bidders bid knowing they could retract their bids just as auctioneers could accept higher bids and buyers knew once the auctioneer declared, “Sold!” the property became theirs.
Vettus, the King’s beautiful daughter was nearing time to marry. Per decree, her prince will be one of the King’s auctioneers — the one designated by her father the King.
King Augeo adored all six of his auctioneers, and could not decide which would marry Vettus.
To help the King decide, he charged each of his auctioneers to make a fundamental change to the way auctions are conducted in the kingdom. His command was to alter the delicate balance of fair play and reasonable public policy in order to benefit auction sellers and disadvantage auction buyers.
The auctioneer who created the most unfair, unreasonable auction policy — for which bidders still participated — would be awarded Vettus as his bride.
The six auctioneers were so informed of the King’s wishes, and they went out to each come up with the most unfair, unreasonable, inequitable, bad-public-policy auction terms for which bidders would still register and participate.
After a week or so, each auctioneer returned to the King’s palace, where each one in turn would present his new auction plan — each one hoping his plan would be deemed the best (the worst) and be awarded Vettus in marriage.
Abus presented first and described his plan as follows:
- Bidders would be allowed to leave absentee bids, and those bids would be executed competitively as if the bidders were present bidding for themselves. However, those maximum bid amounts would be disclosed to the auctioneer and the auctioneer would legally be able to “ensure” those absentee bidders paid as much as possible. We wrote about this practice earlier here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/solely-for-the-purpose-of-increasing-the-bid/
Betus presented next and described his plan as follows:
- Auctions would progress as normally, but when there were no more bids, the auctioneer would not say, “Sold!” Rather, the auctioneer would more or less indicate that the auction is over, but not firm the buyer and seller until he is sure no other higher offers come in — up until all paperwork is firmed later. We wrote about this practice earlier here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/why-arent-auctioneers-saying-sold/
Cadus presented next and described his plan as follows:
- At buyer registration, bidders would be required to agree that the “backup bidder” would be obligated to preform in the event the high bidder did not. In other words, at “Sold!” both a high bidder contract and backup bidder contract would be firmed. We wrote about this practice earlier here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/obligate-backup-bidder-until-high-bidder-signs/
Dithus presented next and described his plan as follows:
- Auction terms and conditions would be modified so that bidders could not retract their bids once made. The auctioneer would still have to option to take a higher bid but all bids, once made, would be irrevocable. We wrote about this practice earlier here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/your-bid-is-irrevocable/
Earnus presented next and described his plan as follows:
- All auction property would be deemed “as-is” and “where-is.” Yet, the auctioneers would be able to express guarantees and warranties but not be held to such. The as-is, where-is standard would trump all property descriptions. We wrote about this practice earlier here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/item-at-auction-is-but-maybe-not/
Furus presented last and described his plan as follows:
- Auctions would be advertised absolute and once the highest bid is made, the auctioneer will announce, “Sold!” However, if the seller doesn’t care for the final price, he will just refuse to close. Attorneys will be used to make the cost of litigation high enough that buyers will eventually drop their pursuit of the property when the seller doesn’t want to sell. We wrote about this practice earlier here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/auction-seller-wont-agree-to-the-sale/
After all the auctioneer presentations, the King informed them he would decide on the winner of his daughter in marriage the following morning.
Overnight, the King thought and thought about which plan was the most unfair, unreasonable, inequitable and bad-public-policy. “They all seemed bad for buyers, and bad for the auction industry” he pondered. Yet, the King was determined to pick one auctioneer — with the worst plan of all — to marry his daughter.
The next morning arrived and the King called all six auctioneers into his chambers. “While I applaud all your efforts to disenfranchise bidders and buyers, I’m amazed that bidders still participated in your auctions despite.” said the King.
“However, my beautiful daughter Vettus became aware of my plan late last night, and has informed me she will marry none of you. She says if she is to marry, she will only marry an auctioneer who views the auction industry with equity and fairness in mind.”
The King’s auctioneers reflected on Vettus’ proclamation. Her point is important — auctions indeed require sellers and buyers, and even though auctioneers are to endeavor to help their sellers, buyers are to be treated fairly, equitably and reasonably — no matter the prize.
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 serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.