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Indeed, we’ve written about not seeing the “forest for the trees” before. Most recently here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/the-costs-and-benefits-of-reopening-or-not-reopening-the-bid/.

We have concluded that the more we can do for the bidders/buyers — to an extent — the more bidders/buyers we’ll have. As a result, our sellers will be enriched by increased buying-power and thus we’ll better fulfill our fiduciary duties including to maximize our sellers (overall) position.

Such notions include a “buy-it-now,” “warranties and/or guarantees” and possibly return policies. Other such thoughts include concluding the auction quickly and efficiently and not being capricious or arbitrary otherwise. People more than ever have other buying choices, and less time in which to shop.

Many companies and retailers today also have the goal to make buying from them simple and easy. Nobody is looking for a complex, confusing, difficult transaction. What could be construed as confusing? Most notably, it seems policies addressing “missed bids,” “tie bids,” and “disputed bids,” would be counter to simple, easy, and unnecessarily confusing.

If you think all this missed, tie, disputed (and almost assuredly capricious and/or arbitrary) stuff is great, find what other markets where is used — if even attempted. Who says, “Let’s go to his auction because he has a really complex and inconsistent missed, tie, disputed bid policy?” The same people looking for complex, confusing difficult transactions apparently.

The concept of “fair” is often cited in regard to necessitating complex, confusing, difficult policies — but “fair” to who? Fair to the bidder who bid late or fair to the bidder that bid on time? Fair to the other bidders waiting around while you “figure out how to advance the bid with a genuine tie?”

If you’re an auctioneer with a bunch of missed, tie, disputed bids — then you need to do a better job communicating with your ring personnel and your bidders. I’m not likely to forget a couple from Louisville, Kentucky who came to our weekly auction several months ago … “You guys run a smooth operation here; no games, no fooling around like our auctioneer down-home.”

I thanked them for coming and they continued, “My gosh if this had been his auction, we wouldn’t have been home until midnight … we’ll be home before then even with a four-hour drive.” They’ve been back to our auction several times since and have even brought friends with them who have been repeat-buyers.

Finally, more recently it’s being suggested it’s prudent to sell “as-is” and “where-is” with no opportunity to preview and no warranty or return policy.  Indeed another such scheme hard to find elsewhere.  Why is that?  Because it’s nonsensical and deters buyers, thus injuring sellers.  Seemingly every other retailer knows this, but we apparently can’t allow ourselves to see the forest for the trees?

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 Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.