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A bidder is jawing, talking about other auctions to distract bidders or is otherwise causing a commotion at your auction? Can you ask/require this bidder to leave? The answer is, “yes, you can.”

This question is almost the same question we answered in 2017 when we wrote about denying a bidder from participating in an auction event. That treatise is here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/can-an-auctioneerseller-deny-someone-from-attending-their-auction/

First, for an auctioneer wanting to ask a bidder to leave an event, such request/demand must generally be made in concert with the seller’s knowledge and consent. Secondly, it is highly advisable that the auctioneer/seller treat all bidders in an fair, equitable manner except — of course — for price.

There have been a few court cases involving a bidder being denied from participating and it’s not that different from a bidder being asked to leave. It’s a very good idea to document any such action and keep filed if needed down the road.

Too, besides expressed authority in the seller/auctioneer contract, there are implied authorities as well. One such duty is to care for the seller’s property and position by taking prudent steps to maximize proceeds and avoid actions by bidders to interfere with that directive.

Some claim, “Well, it’s a ‘public auction’ so it’s by definition ‘open to the public.'” While most all auctions are open to the public, the term “public auction” doesn’t mean we as auctioneers can’t deny nor remove (ban) bidders from such events: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/what-exactly-is-a-public-auction/

Lastly, for auctioneers wishing to ban or remove bidders from auction events, it is important to weigh the costs of their participation with the possible benefits of such. A bidder increasing the seller’s net proceeds by 10% but causing some disturbance should be removed? Probably not.

Removal or banning would almost require that such ruckus would (will) cost the seller more than the possible benefit. This requires of course a projection or “best guess” of the future costs and benefits. The more experienced the auctioneer, the more he or she can call on experience to predict the future.

Can an auctioneer ask or require a bidder to leave an auction? Indeed bidders can be asked to leave, but such decision should be couched with a good estimation of the cost/benefits of such action.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, 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, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.