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Many auctioneers conduct simulcast auctions with online and live bidding occurring at the same time. These same auctioneers often allow online bids prior, coupled with simulcast when the live auction starts.

In other words, if the online high bid on lot #68 is $700 then the auctioneer might say, “I have $700 and who’ll bid $725?” If a live bidder bids $725 then the auctioneer might ask $750 … and so forth.

Yet, can the online bidder that was on at $700 bid again? Can that bidder bid $750? He can’t if the auctioneer shuts off the online bidding prior to the live auction. We ask here, why would any auctioneer do this?

Auctioneers are tasked to maximize the bidder pool and as such maximize price for the benefit of the seller/client. If online bidding is “suspended” at the beginning of the live auction, the auctioneer is doing neither.

Could a seller be disappointed with a lack of a bidder pool and associated prices — especially if it was the auctioneer’s decision to lessen the number of bidders? Certainly.

It would seem reasonable that if the seller/client had knowledge of this “odd” arrangement and consented to such, that it would be acceptable, but every auctioneer should make sure their seller/client knows of the obvious downsides — fewer bids and lower prices.

Auctioneers are tasked with fiduciary duties owed their sellers/clients and those include “reasonable care.” It would appear to us shutting off online bidding when the live auction starts violate such duties owed. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/what-do-auctioneers-owe-their-clients/.

Even if this wasn’t required behavior, it’s not a heavy lift for any auctioneer to continue online bidding during the simulcast (live & online) auction; more for the seller, and likely more commission for the auctioneer.

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.