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I’ve heard for years in regard to firearm laws and many other topics, auctioneers desiring to disclaim any responsibility say “I’m just bid calling” as if that protects them from any and all liability.

On the contrary, bid calling is material and consequential. For most auctioneers, it first involves being an agent for the seller/owner or consignee and being held to fiduciary duties which include obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable care.

Secondly, bid calling involves the formation of contracts as we again noted recently here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2023/03/28/yes-auction-bid-calling-or-online-creates-contracts/.

Bid calling [still] really matters in many markets including yellow iron, vehicles, livestock, and a myriad of others. Highly skilled bid calling pays very well. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/bid-calling-matters/.

For the “workaround” and “disclaim everything” crowd, it might be a good idea to find other work as the auctioneering business involves risk and responsibility. Clients expect their auctioneers to be competent and take their jobs seriously.

This seriousness includes paying attention to laws and not always trying to find a way to ignore such. Secondly, knowing the law is paramount to being a successful and respected auctioneer who’s not spending an excessive amount of time in court.

With obvious risk, there are ways to reduce it beyond waivers and disclaimers — namely behave better. We noted here 17 ways to reduce risk without any material waivers or disclaimers: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/17-ways-to-avoid-unnecessary-risks/.

Further, when bid calling one has to worry about both perception and reality. Too many stories, inappropriate comments, and too much dead air all contribute to fewer proceeds, with disappointed bidders and sellers.

Primarily, bid callers need to have knowledge of the Uniform Commercial Code § 2-328. Sale by Auction and know how bid calling contracts are formed: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/15-things-a-bid-calling-law-primer/.

Yes, bid callers have some very limited discretion, so it is yet another choice of spending time in court, or out of court. Those wanting to avoid litigation don’t reopen bids after “Sold!” and those wanting to risk litigation do. It’s just that simple.

I always find it humorous when someone says, “”I’m just bid calling …” given how important that job is to bidders, buyers, and sellers and how much responsibility (and potential liability) a bid caller actually has.

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.