I was standing in Indianapolis in October, 2015 in front of the Indiana Governor’s Jobs Creation Committee (JCC) presenting the merits of auctioneer licensing in light of a study to eliminate it, along with other occupational regulation.
After my presentation, one of the Committee members asked me if there appeared to me to be a correlation between the lack of licensing and auction-related lawsuits. In other words, if licensing was eliminated, “Would we expect more lawsuits?”
Here in 2019 after consulting in dozens of such lawsuits as an expert witness, the answer to that question remains, “yes” — there is a correlation. There are far more auction-related lawsuits in states without licensing than in states with statewide (comprehensive) licensing.
What’s the conclusion? I would suggest two theories: (1) With licensing auctioneers are better trained and usually have more continuing education and thus consumers are better protected. (2) With licensing injured consumers can enlist the state’s regulatory agency to pursue damages rather than sue in court.
However, I have also argued that no licensing is better than bad licensing. Regulatory agencies endeavoring to prosecute offenders rather than attempting to prevent offenses is abhorrent. We discussed more on that here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/two-types-of-auctioneer-regulators/.
As of late, several states have considered eliminating statewide auctioneer licensing — and the state’s regulation thereof. What will likely be the result if this becomes law? There seems little question more lawsuits would be filed.
Further, it isn’t so much the license itself which helps auctioneers avoid litigation, but rather the [mandatory] continuing education. Besides state required continuing education in some jurisdictions, organizations such as the National Auctioneers Association and state associations can provide [elective] education opportunities.
Lastly, any state which licenses auctioneers but does not require any continuing education has done a disservice to its citizens. Our study in 2015 titled “Ohio Auctioneer Continuing Education Feasibility Study” noted this conclusion. Said another way, why license auctioneers at all if you don’t require any continuing education?
And we’ll say again, losing in court is the worst, winning in court is better, but staying out of court is best: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/auctioneers-you-want-win-in-court-or-stay-out-of-court/.
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.