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Auctioneers spend a bunch of time worrying about things they shouldn’t spend any time worrying about. Namely disputed, missed, late, and tie bids. Let’s take a closer look so you can forget all about them here forward.

  • Disputed bids are apparently when two or more bidders believe they are the high bidder. Yet, there can only be one high bidder at one time. So, despite more than one thinking there can be, there aren’t any.
  • Missed bids are apparently when a bidder thinks the auctioneer missed his or her bid when actually the bidders have the duty and responsibility to deliver bids to the auctioneer.
  • Late bids are apparently when a bidder bids after the auctioneer completes the sale (by the fall of the hammer or in other customary manner.) Yet, bids that come in late are ineffective.
  • Tie bids are apparently when two or more bidders believe they are the buyer. Yet, there can be only one buyer for any particular lot. Other than a nonsensical law in Kentucky, there are no tie bids.

You as an auctioneer can perform your craft without any regard to disputed, missed, late, or tie bids. In fact, state law allows you to reopen the bid when a bid comes in, “while the hammer is falling in acceptance of a prior bid” but you don’t have any obligation to reopen the bid in this situation either.

Auctioneers quite frankly have enough to worry about with managing an auction that injecting more unnecessary complications (disputed, late, missed, and tie bids) isn’t necessary nor prudent. Of course, you can make your life miserable if you want …

Further, as we hopefully made clear, there is no need in any circumstance for an auctioneer to address disputed, late, missed, or tie bids. Bid calling is as simple as accepting a bid from a single bidder, taking a higher bid from another single bidder, and so forth until there are no higher offers … and then say, “Sold!”

Given auctioneers are encouraged to broaden their terms and conditions, maybe a term could be inserted: “There will be no disputed, late, missed nor tie bids?” Or possibly even better, just leave all that out, and conduct a straightforward, simple, easy to understand auction?

It seems to me the public is largely unaware of any of this unnecessary nonsense — other than when auctioneers insist they become aware of it. In other words, there wouldn’t be any disputed, late, missed nor tie bids other than auctioneers unfortunately suggesting there must be.

By proposing there has to be complexity, bidders and buyers are obviously encouraged to look for easier, less cumbersome purchasing experiences. Who else in commerce is trying to make the buying experience more difficult? Why are we trying to make it more difficult?

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, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation 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.