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I see the use of the word, “regardless” every day in the auction business. For instance:

  1. Selling absolute to the highest bidder regardless of price
  2. Selling at auction regardless of price
  3. Selling regardless of price

In the spirit of “words matter” it seems to us that #1 and #2 are likely proper use of the word “regardless” but #3 is not. Selling regardless of price would suggest any price (is this an offer?) would be accepted — where there’s no expressed or implied auction.

This is similar to our thoughts on the phrase “name your price” with no expressed or necessarily implied auction taking place: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/name-your-price-really/. So, I can just name any price and win the property?

“Regardless” means basically without regard — as if it’s not considered. In fact, at any auction, there is substantial regard for the price — the highest offered. If you are simply “selling” regardless, how are you selling “regarding” the highest offer?

On the other hand, if I’m selling at auction (English-increasing) regardless of price, I’m selling — or planning to sell — to the highest bidder regardless of what that final price ends up being. That’s all proper and generally understood by the public.

Does “selling regardless of price” imply indeed selling — and if an auction, a without reserve (absolute) auction? In the famous case of Drew v. John Deere Company of Syracuse, Inc., 19 A.D.2d 234, 241 N.Y.S.2d 267, 269-270 (1963) there was litigation because “selling to the highest bidder” implied to John Drew this was an absolute auction.

John Drew did not prevail. Yet, winning in court is hardly the objective, and staying out of court is a much better strategy: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/auctioneers-you-want-win-in-court-or-stay-out-of-court/.

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, Brandly Real Estate & Auction, 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 has served as faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.