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equipauctionFor our purposes here, we’ll call them “AuctionPlace.com.”

And yes, they dictate that the auctioneers who place property on their site cannot charge a buyer’s premium.

Their exact phrasing is here:

Sellers list equipment on AuctionPlace.com for a low flat fee. Bidders pay no buyers fees whatsoever. The result is savings for everyone.

I note the reason cited is a “savings for everyone …?” What exactly does that mean? The buyers save in theory but do the sellers or auctioneers save anything? If so, what exactly do they save by not charging a buyer’s premium?

Despite these questions, is it proper for any online auction platform to dictate the auctioneer’s commission structure? Of course, auctioneer’s have choices so those desiring to charge a buyer’s premium could certainly partner with some other company.

This auctioneer in our picture above (Nebraska, 1940) likely charged only a seller commission. But, what if he wanted to charge a buyer’s premium? He certainly could have with the consent of his client.

With selling online, auctioneers now have a third party involved in not only commission structures, but other terms and conditions, registration procedures, payment methods, etc. I suppose the online platforms see this as a cost for the benefit of using?

For live auctions it’s simply the auctioneer and seller who agree to terms. In the online (and simulcast) environment, the auctioneer, seller and online platform are all involved in setting the terms — and the online platform typically isn’t flexible nor negotiating — but rather dictating.

In the future, what else are online platforms going to be dictating? Seller commissions? Where and when auctions can take place? Buyer recourse procedures? Which auctioneers can use certain platforms and which ones can’t? I think it’s worth keeping an eye on this, as auctioneers/sellers continue to lose control over how their auctions are conducted.

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. He serves as Distinguished Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.