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handshake-1513228_1920I received a question the other day, and included with the question was a link to an article by Wayne Jordan.

Here’s the article, titled “Absolute versus reserve auctions: Is it ever legal to retract a bid?”

The subtitle of Wayne’s article suggests that the right of retraction is subject to (depends upon) the type of auction. We would counter that the right of retraction exists independent of the type of auction — although other than the subtitle, I’m not sure Wayne substantiates that particular argument.

Related to our recent (and prior) thoughts on offerors/offerees at auctions, with the bidders making the offers, the right to retract that offer prior to “Sold!” is always there, regardless if the auction is with reserve or without reserve (absolute.)

Auction bid-calling contracts (and their online counterpart) are formed with contingencies. In any bid-calling contract, the auctioneer can void the current contract with receipt of a higher bid and the high bidder can retract his bid — quite frankly independent of who is the offeror and offeree.

The only contingency that exists otherwise, strictly in a with reserve auction, is the right for the auctioneer/seller to withdraw the property. In an absolute auction, the property cannot be withdrawn if a bid is received within a reasonable time.

As well, Wayne notes that auctioneers mistakenly “change the auction type” opening their clients up to significant liability. While I agree to the potential issues, as we wrote here with Jason Smith’s example, nobody is changing the type of auction, but rather cancelling and commencing with a new auction: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/changing-the-type-of-auction/

We got our client’s question answered, and he was able to earn a judgement in court regarding his right to retract his bid before, “Sold!” in an absolute auction. Further, in regard to our question in the title of our article, it’s always legal to retract your bid at auction before the auctioneer says, “Sold!”

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