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Consumers these days value two things when shopping online — free (or low cost) shipping and quick (or reasonable) shipping. If you’re an auctioneer who is selling anything online these are important considerations.

Given this premise, we discuss here what are reasonable shipping times for auctioneers. In this regard, we reference this the 30-Day Rule which states:

If you don’t make a statement regarding shipping time, you must ship within 30 days–thus, the 30-Day Rule. The 30-day window begins when the business receives a completed order and payment.

If the business is unable to ship within the promised time or within 30 days, the merchant must promptly tell the customer by mail, telephone or email, and give a new shipping estimate and give the customer a chance to cancel their order and receive a full refund.

An article with more comprehensive detail on this rule is here: https://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-operations/laws-governing-shipping-advertising.html

As can be seen, per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) within 30 days is considered reasonable, where more than 30 days is considered unreasonable — and of course communication and a meeting of the minds is also important.

Given that our first online/simulcast auction was over 13 years ago, and our most recent a few weeks ago, we have noticed (as most everyone has) increasing buyer/customer demands. Our most recent buyers representing all 50 states — plus 19 countries — all desired their property be shipped quickly and economically.

It’s no surprise with the countless online retailers now shipping essentially immediately or at most 2-3 days … auction buyers expect more — much more. We would submit that any shipping exceeding 10 days is aberrant and 30 or more days is extraordinarily unreasonable.

Why is all this important? Buyers have choices and they will shop where shipping times (and related costs) are minimized. If the auction industry wants to compete with Amazon and the numerous like enterprises, auctioneers are going to have to up their game from elongated shipping times — likely substantially — to stay in business.

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.