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I’m listening to an auctioneer on the witness stand (and thus all public information.) The subject of his testimony was his actions as the lead auctioneer (bid caller.)

He informed the court that bidders are always trying to, “Mess with him …” and he recounted his retaliation for each of their material misbehaviors:

    • If they collude, I run the bid on them.
    • If he retracts his bid, I won’t let him bid again.
    • If he tries to cut the bid, I’ll sell it quick …

It’s given that bidders should not collude (agree to not bid against each other) but bidders have a right to retract their bids (so long as they do not bid with the intention to retract — disingenuous bidding) as well as offer less than the suggested bid amount.

Auctioneers wonder why the younger generation — and even other generations — do not participate in live auctions? One reason is what we consider, “auctioneer retaliation.” In other words, auctioneer misbehavior.

Bidders/buyers are considered auctioneers’ customers. Common law dictates that customers should be treated honestly, with integrity and provided fair (reasonable) treatment. Retaliation against bidders defies all these standards.

Further, bidders/buyers do business where they feel appreciated and I suspect treating them in the aforementioned fashion would be counter to that principle. Who would blame them for shopping elsewhere?

We wrote about Ashley — who like countless consumers today — endeavor to save time, rather than save money: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/should-she-buy-at-auction/.

Auctions have historically leveraged the “prospect of a deal” but if consumers don’t consider the chance of a deal primary, auctioneers will lose those buyers to easier, quicker methods. And before you say that you sell items every 20 seconds … your live (or online) auction didn’t start (or close) for 10 days.

Additionally, often the next seller tomorrow is a bidder/buyer today. How we as auctioneers treat those bidders/buyers will likely dictate how likely they are to hire us, or someone else, down the road.

Lastly, in today’s environment, it isn’t just what auctioneers say into that microphone — countless auction attendees have a high-quality video camera in their pocket and a video, recording or the like shared on social media or otherwise could significantly damage an auctioneer’s brand.

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.