One might ask, “Do auctioneers need to treat all bidders the same, other than ‘price’?” In other words, do we have to have all bidders acquiesce to the exact same terms and conditions?
Let’s start with this … auctioneers don’t treat all bidders the same, and rather in practice sell property to the highest bidder — treating that bidder/buyer distinctly different than any other bidder.
Otherwise, however, should all bidders be registered and bound by the same terms and conditions? While there might not be a law or rule anywhere in the United States dictating this requirement, it is certainly without question prudent practice.
For example, if the terms and conditions say that $10,000 in good faith funds are required to secure a bidder number, and one bidder satisfies this requirement, and another bidder is permitted to register without such $10,000 … that’s a problem.
It’s a problem because the bidder following the terms and conditions will argue in court that the other bidder did not have the right to bid against him because he didn’t satisfy the terms and conditions. How do I know that? I helped an attorney (buyer) make that exact argument and he won over $1,000,000 in damages.
So are auctioneers required to treat all bidders the same, beyond price? Auctioneers should determine the terms and conditions prior to anyone registering and require all registered bidders to adhere to that same policy. Otherwise, you are putting yourself and your seller at unnecessary risk of litigation.
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.