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Auctioneers are generally hard-working individuals who enjoy a great deal of freedom. Other than licensing in some states and 254 words regarding the UCC § 2-328, auctioneers are otherwise fairly unregulated. However, if we listen to most, “Nobody can shut down my auction business.”

There are indeed instances where the federal, state, and/or local government can shut down your business. The government is tasked with protecting the health and safety of the public at large and to a lesser extent any particular person or business.

Say there was a wide-ranging pandemic with a virus that causes severe illness and/or death. Could your local, state, or even the federal government close (or otherwise restrict) your auction business? They can and would likely do so.

We’ve written before about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic including two articles from March and October of this year:

For those auctioneers who say that their right to work is protected by the Constitution, we wrote about that delusionary stance as well: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/04/17/a-state-telling-an-auctioneer-he-cant-work-is-unconstitutional/.

The possible issues for auctioneers defying any local, state, or federal order to “not have an auction,” or only have auctions “under certain conditions” would include fines or even incarceration. Additionally, there would seem to be some substantial potential civil liability as well.

Further, auctioneers have their brand and reputation to worry about. How could that be affected by the local news or social media picking up on your auction being ordered closed down, or even your arrest? For that matter, how might this affect your seller or consignee? How might it affect future business otherwise?

Pandemics are far from the only things that could close down your auction business … a court order, license suspension or revocation, death or incompetence, and/or financial or reputation ruin could all do that same. Careful thinking that “nobody can shut down my auction business …”

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 and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.